Navara LE 4x4 auto vs direct rivals: Is this the bakkie to reassert Nissan in the fray?

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2021 Nissan Navara LE double cab 4x4 automatic
2021 Nissan Navara LE double cab 4x4 automatic

• The Nissan Navara LE 4x4 automatic could be the sweet spot in the new line-up.

• The bakkie faces stiff competition from the likes of Ford and Toyota.

• The Navara's 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine offers 140kW and 450Nm.

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We recently drove the new Nissan Navara LE double cab 4x4 automatic. And while we came away impressed, it got us thinking about how this specific bakkie stacks up against its closest rivals. Pulling up the Navara LE's spec sheet, it quickly becomes apparent that it finds itself in the sweet spot where bakkie buyers are likely to spend their money.

At R677 000, it offers plenty of standard spec without coming into the top-spec Navara PRO-4 X4's territory. At the price, it comes equipped with Nissan's 2.5-litre turbodiesel tuned to deliver 140kW and 450Nm, mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The bakkie sends power to the rear wheels, but 4x4 mode can be activated on the fly via a rotary knob inside the cabin. Standard features include leather seats, rear park distance control with camera, auto-folding side mirrors, keyless entry and start, and automatic wipers.

Nissan South Africa also added a six-year or 90 000km service plan to the package, as well as a six-year or 150 000km warranty.

Though impressive, which bakkies do the Navara LE 4x4 automatic come up against?

Ford Ranger FX4 4x4 automatic - R704 500

The Ranger FX4 4x4 automatic might not be the first rival one might think of, but it is one of several Ford bakkies we could have added to the mix. However, we opted for the FX4 because 1) it is one of our long-term vehicles and 2) it is closest to the Navara LE 4x4 automatic in terms of price. The FX4's single-turbo 2.0-litre diesel mill offers 132kW and 420Nm, with a 10-speed automatic channelling power to the road. Like the Nissan, a rotary knob takes care of 4x4 duties.

Standard features on the FX4 include rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and -start, front and rear park distance control with rear-view camera, a tow bar, and partial cloth and leather seats.

Pricing includes a six-year or 90 000km service plan and a four-year or 120 000km warranty.

READ: REVIEW | Single-turbo Ford Ranger FX4 4x4 offers easy, punchy drive

Ford Ranger FX4
2021 Ford Ranger FX4 double cab 4x4 automatic

Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD6 Raider 4x4 automatic - R727 700

It would not have been a proper stack against its rivals if we did not add South Africa's bakkie king to the mix, the Toyota Hilux. Here in 2.8 GD6 Raider 4x4 automatic, the bakkie is more expensive than both the Navara LE and Ranger FX4, but the 2.4-litre Raider 4x4 automatic is too underpowered against both. However, its asking price undercuts the Navara LE 4x4 auto versus its bigger brother's: R49 100 vs. R50 700.

The Hilux 2.8 GD6 Raider 4x4 automatic's engine offers 150kW and 500Nm, making use of a more common six-speed transmission. Like its rivals, it too has a rotary knob to toggle between the 4x4 modes. While well-specified, this Hilux does without automatic wipers, but is fitted with front and rear park distance control with rear-view camera, LED headlights, and cloth upholstery. The bakkie also rides on 17-inch wheels versus the 18-inches on the Navara and Ranger.

The Hilux comes standard with a nine-service or 90 000km service plan and a three-year or 100 000km warranty.

Which bakkkies do you think is a direct rival to the Navara LE double cab 4x4 automatic? Email us or use the comment section below.

Toyota Hilux
2020 Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD6 Raider double cab 4x4 automatic

In summary

The outgoing Nissan Navara was not on the Hilux or Ford's level when it came to sales figures. While the market leaders would sell in the thousands every month, the Navara had to count itself lucky if it managed 100 units in any given month. And while the product as a whole is impressive, most local bakkie buyers were - and still are - deadest on not looking the other way.

With its latest Navara, however, Nissan has managed to keep the price as low as possible while offering a specification direct rivals from Ford and Toyota do not. And it's giving owners the greatest peace of mind in terms of warranty and service plan. Could this be the opportunity Nissan SA was waiting on to topple the market leaders?

Nissan Navara
2021 Nissan Navara LE double cab 4x4 automatic
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