We test drive new Nissan Navara 4x2

2018-11-14 06:02
Nissan has added to its Navara line-up the more affordable 4x2 double cab versions. Photo: SUPPLIED

Nissan has added to its Navara line-up the more affordable 4x2 double cab versions. Photo: SUPPLIED

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FIRST there were cars for town and bakkies for the farm. Then people wanted town cars that can do what bakkies do, such as towing a caravan or carting around pets and building material, but which look a bit better than a bakkie and feel like a car to drive.

In addition, it must be able totransport the whole family and their luggage – in comfort.

Enter the 4 x 2 double cab bakkie – and you just have to look around the parking terrain on school sports day, or the school run, to see for yourself how double cab bakkies have become the family vehicle of choice in many urban households.

When the Navara was launched in South Africa, it was only in a 4x4 guise.

To compete in this growing market segment, Nissan has added to its line-up the more affordable 4x2 double cab versions – which is the test vehicle for this week’s Express on Wheels.

The Navara drives like a bakkie, has a load box like a bakkie, is as high and as big as a bakkie, but has all the modcons, such as touchscreen infotainment and navigation, a camera with an all-round view, comfy seats, plenty of stowage space, steering wheel controls and cruise control to turn the “plaasjapie” into a veritable city slicker.

The new 4x2 versions are only available with one engine option – Nissan’s 2,3-litre twin-turbo diesel unit.

Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

There are two spec levels, i.e. SE and the higher spec LE.

The new Navara models all have seven airbags as standard and a load capacity of more than one ton.

Features

One of the best features on the Navara is the chameleon-like Around View Monitor, which uses a few cameras to display one’s surrounds.

With a vehicle of this height, its almost an imperative to be able to see what is going on behind you, especially on peak-hour school runs.

The Nissan Navara has a spacious, modern looking interior.

Standard across the range are Bluetooth audio streaming and navigation as well as an intelligent key with stop/start button.

The on-board navigation system includes radio, video in DVD/VCD/CD/MP3 or MPEG4 format and USB connectivity.

All of these, as well as the cruise control, can be operated from controls on the steering wheel.

Other standard luxury features include automatic LED headlights, dual-zone air conditioning, three 12V sockets in the cabin and an automatic dimming rear-view mirror.

Ride

Powering the Navara is a brand new, twin-turbo diesel 2,3-litre engine, which delivers 140kW and 450Nm.

During the week spent with the Navara, it was mostly test driven in peak hour traffic, but a school cross country event in Port Alfred offered us the opportunity to take it out on the long road.

The road from Port Elizabeth to Port Alfred, as well as the one between Port Alfred and Grahamstown, via Bathurst, are notorious for their poor state, and offered a great opportunity to see how the Navara will deal with poor road conditions.

The verdict – quite impressive. It offered a smooth ride and car-like feel without being floaty despite the empty loadbox. It is a bit slow to get going, but once on the go, it accelerates well – even on uphills.

Also impressive was the road holding, and good cornering, and the overall pleasant feel of a sturdy drive and enough power for confident overtaking.

The only times when it felt like a bit of a runaway horse, was in peak hour traffic when doing a handbrake pull-away on inclines – at times it felt like I was controlling a prancing horse.

But this is something one’s driving style quickly adapts to.

The fuel consumption achieved during the test week, which consisted of urban and open road driving, was an average of 9L/100km.

The Navara has the first coil spring five-link rear suspension in a mainstream one-ton pick-up.

This offers benefits normally associated with an SUV and these include better road-holding, car-like ride comfort and better traction through high-speed corners.

The Navara has a 229mm ground clearance. It also has class-leading payload capacity of more than one ton and can tow a braked trailer up to 3,5 tons.


PRICE

Nissan Assured offers a warranty of six-year/150 000km and a three-year/90 000km service plan. Leather seats are available as an optional extra.

Nissan Navara 2.3 4x2 SE DC MT – from R484 900 (incl. VAT)

Nissan Navara 2.3 4x2 SE DC AT – from R510 900 (incl. VAT)

Nissan Navara 2.3 4x2 LE DC MT– from R569 500 (incl. VAT)

Nissan Navara 2.3 4x2 LE DC AT – from R575 500 (incl. VAT)

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