• Nissan's new SA-bound Navara has been revealed.
• The Navara will continue with its five-link coil suspension.
• The line-up will be headlined by a Pro-4X model.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Nissan has revealed its updated D23 series Navara, as part of the company's strategy for global product recovery.
Technically distinguished by its coil-sprung rear suspension, the D23 Navara has now gained a significant redesign of its front-end and cabin architecture.
The bakkie's new appearance is dominated by a massive grille and reshaped bonnet profile. Whereas enormous grilles were once only the preserve of large American market bakkies, this design influence has finally come to bear on the mid-size double-cabs that South African buyers are familiar with.
Balancing Navara's massive grille are new bi-LED headlights, which structure a set of four individual light clusters into each headlamp. The tailgate also gains LED pattern lights.
PRO-4X for the hardcore bakkie drivers
Nissan's marketing people have noticed the demand for Ford's Ranger Raptor and having recognised that business opportunity, the new Navara offers a PRO-4X variant. Although it doesn't have quite the same suspension hardware as Raptor, this PRO-4X Navara certainly looks the part.
Do you think the new Nissan Navara will be a sales success in South Africa? Email us with your opinion.
Rolling 17-inch wheels with high-volume Yokohama Geolander tyres, the PRO-4X Navara should deliver superior ride quality on the worst of Karoo gravel roads. The smaller wheel and large tyre combination also allow for a significant margin of deflation, if a PRO-4X driver should encounter treacherously deep sand and requires the additional traction and floatation of running tyres at 1bar of pressure.
Nissan has not changed the core Navara platform with this product update. There are slight mechanical refinements, such as a more robust rear axle, targeted at appeasing those bakkie owners who use every lats kilograms of the manufacturer recommended load rating.
Carrying capacity improves to 1.2-tonnes on most of the new Navaras, with the PRO-4X rated at 1.1-tonnes That 100kg discrepancy is most likely due to the specific wheel, and tyre size applied to Nissan's new PRO-4X double-cab.
The hydraulic power steering system has also been slightly recalibrated, to allow for better agility at low-speeds. This is something which should not only be beneficial when hunting for that parking bay at the local mall, but also during technically challenging off-road driving.
USBs for everyone
Nissan's interior architects have not done much to alter the Navara cabin. The most noticeable change is a three-spoke steering wheel, similar to what you'd use to helm Nissan's smaller SUVs.
Connectivity has become an issue for even the most adventurous of double-cab bakkie owners and Nissan's wish has been to ensure that its new Navara can keep all passengers happy in this regard. USB charging ports have increased from one to four in number, capable of keeping four Smartphones powered-up when on the move.
A neat ergonomic improvement of new Navara's cabin is the presence of a simple fold-down armrest as part of the rear bench seat. Beyond the increased long-distance comfort it provides, allowing rear passengers to vary their posture, it also provides a stable cupholder and stowage platform, instead of having to reach down into the door pockets for a Smartphone or cooldrink.
Nissan has spent most of the Navara update R&D on engines, with the 2.3-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder being carried over in a broadly similar configuration.
With Toyota having introduced its new Hilux and the next-generation Ford Ranger less than two years away, this Navara update is a crucial product for ailing Nissan.
Although the local introduction date is to be confirmed, Nissan's sizeable production assets in Tshwane could offer a much broader portfolio of new Navara cab-styles and derivatives in South Africa. The bakkie will be launched locally in April 2021.