Nissan's new heavily-updated Navara bakkie to take on SA's Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger

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• Nissan's new Navara will go on sale in South Africa on 1 June 2021.

• The bakkie has several updates over the model it replaces.

• Price-wise, the bakkie carries a lower price tag than its predecessor.

For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24


Come June 2021, South Africans will be able to purchase the new Nissan Navara. While not all-new, the updates brought about are comprehensive and the bakkie is, according to Wheels24 correspondent Calvin Fisher, "a significant improvement over what came before".

There are three aspects about the new Navara that's bound to put it in good stead against its rivals: 1) It's now built in South Africa, 2) it is priced lower than the outgoing model, and 3) it implements a new 2.5-litre diesel engine opposed to the current 2.3-litre mill.

Stefan Haasbroek, Marketing Director at Nissan South Africa, says: "With the introduction of the new Navara bakkie in South Africa, we are confident that the significant technical changes implemented across our extensive line-up, will deliver the ultimate customer experience, with enhanced ride comfort, load-carrying capacity, and a powertrain selected specifically for the South African market."

Nissan Navara
2021 Nissan Navara

Engine and drivetrain

The new engine is available in two states of tune. In XE and SE grades, power outputs are rated at 120kW and 403Nm. In LE and PRO-4X grades, it's tuned to deliver 140kW and 450Nm. According to Haasbroek, the new bakkie is aimed at meeting customer needs.

He says: "It's an amazing achievement to see the full set of exciting models for the next generation Navara which offer customers a choice of both single and double-cab, 2WD and 4WD options, and a choice of automatic and manual transmissions, too. This is a fiercely competitive segment, and we are determined to meet and exceed customer needs."

WATCH: Nissan's new bakkie - more Navara, more South African, but can it rival the Hilux?

Drivers can opt for 2WD when on the go or shift to 4WD (4H) at speeds up to 100km/h with the Navara's shift-on-the-fly 4x4 gearbox. Nissan says that the Navara achieves maximum performance in 4H as the system constantly monitors conditions and adjusts the balance of power between the front and rear axles to maintain traction. The Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) differential system manages power delivery and wheel braking between the front and rear axles and between the left and right of the vehicle, depending on traction and speed.

Low range 4WD (4LO) is also on offer.

Nissan Navara
2021 Nissan Navara

Take note of these features

Nissan says that the new Navara's payload is 100kg bigger than before, thanks to an increase of 36mm in the front and 64mm in the rear of the height of the load box. An added step to the rear bumper for the SE Plus and LE grades, and an easy-lift tailgate and a torsion bar on all DC derivatives, also makes loading and unloading easier, says Nissan.

When towing a trailer, the Navara's new Trailer Sway Control (TSC) system, with yaw-rate monitoring, can detect the trailer's self-oscillation, while the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system enables it to handle the brake pressure of the trailer to reduce self-oscillation.

Haasbroek concludes: "We have invested substantially in improvements to the noise, vibration, and harshness reduction for a very quiet and comfortable drive, which bears testimony to improvements made on suspension range and powertrain capability. The Navara line-up also features additional safety technology through Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM), and offers a host of cabin features, including an eight-inch touchscreen with NissanConnect, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay all to delight and empower our customers."

Nissan Navara
2021 Nissan Navara
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