REVIEW | Nissan Navara PRO-4X 4x4 has what it takes to trump Ranger and Hilux bakkie rivals

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2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
  • Nissan Navara is arguably the best looking bakkie in the pick-up segment.
  • The range-topping model comes with every feature you'd need in a family vehicle.
  • Drivers can easily achieve sub-10 litres per 100km fuel consumption.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Nissan South Africa's new Navara has only been on sale in the country since June 2021. Since then, the company has sold more new Navaras than its predecessor over the previous 12 months. The new Navara is gunning for the top of the sales charts and has its sights set squarely on Toyota's Hilux and Ford's Ranger. We recently had an opportunity to assess the range-topping Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi double cab PRO-4X 4x4 model in Johannesburg.

What do you think of the styling of the new Nissan Navara? Let us know in the comments section below, or please send us an email here.

2021 Nissan Navara line-up
2021 Nissan Navara line-up

The big, the brutish and the beautiful

Nissan has created an eye-catching design here with the new Navara, and to our eyes, it's quite frankly the best-looking bakkie you can buy in South Africa right now. We appreciate its squared-off, muscular look that will undoubtedly age well.

Our test car measured 5260mm in length, 1875mm in width and 1855mm in height. Ground clearance for the vehicle is rated at 221mm, which is more than enough for avid off-roaders to exploit in tricky situations. A 3150mm wheelbase also offers a decent amount of room between the arches, giving you a spacious cabin and a respectable load box. 

The PRO-4X 4x4 models come with 17-inch wheels and tyres, which look a bit small for the Navara's boisterous body, but you can easily change this by adding a set of larger rims and rubber for more street cred. One nice thing about the 17s on this car is that it adds comfort to the drive thanks to thicker tyre sidewalls than you get in bakkies with 18-inch wheel/tyre combos.

2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X

The best ride in the bakkie business

Compared to the sales leaders in the segment, the new Navara offers one of the most comfortable rides you will experience in a bakkie. It still feels like a utility vehicle, don't get me wrong, but the suspension tuning is point for both on- and off-road use. The suspension soaks up the bumps with very little transference through the body and the steering wheel.

The vehicle also offers a nicely weighted steering system that doesn't feel over-assisted. Combined with sumptuous seats, an impressive ergonomic layout of the interior and a cabin that's easy to see out of, you'll be pleased with how this Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi double cab PRO-4X 4x4 goes.


2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X

The engine is an improvement

Powering our test car is Nissan's tried-and-tested 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that's rated for 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. The Ford Ranger's BiTDI 2.0-litre engines might offer more punch, but thanks to refined tuning and peak torque coming in as low as 2000rpm, you feel that the Navara moves with more urgency than its output figures suggest.

The engine can sound a little too rattly on cold starts, but it warms up quickly, and that agricultural machinery sound fades away. From inside the cabin, you get minimal noise intrusion, perhaps as good as you're going to get when it comes to bakkies. The engine is paired with a sweet-shifting seven-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox with a low-range transfer case. We didn't have the opportunity to test the low-range capabilities of the Navara as we didn't have enough time to do so, but in 4H, with all its wheels locked and turning on a dirt road, it felt highly poised and controllable even at higher speeds.

2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X

The kind of features you expect in a luxury car 

The Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi double cab PRO-4X 4x4 comes with every feature you might need in a daily driver, including electrically operated windows and mirrors and a sliding rear window that allows you to let air pass through the cabin. We mentioned the comfy seats already, but you also get a fantastic, powerful climate control system that will keep you cool. 

We also enjoyed using Navara's multimedia audio interface and its embedded Apple CarPlay support. Streaming media was quick and easy, and not once did the system fail or have to reboot. The multimedia system's standard graphics and setup might look a little dated, but most people will be using their smartphones with the system, and it's great that it's a simple system that's easy to pair with. On the safety side of things, our range-topper came with seven airbags, a raft of driver aids including hill-start assist and hill descent control, and stability and traction control. It's one of the best-specced bakkies in South Africa right now.

2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X
2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X

Overall summary

The Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi double cab PRO-4X 4x4 is a compelling bakkie that feels more car-like to drive now than ever before. Its sublime ride and predictable handling make it a pleasure to use as a daily driver, and it has more than ample room to serve as a family vehicle. We really liked the high level of refinement in the interior, with quality materials used throughout, giving it a feeling of durability and toughness.

Nissan claims that the 2.5DDTi double cab PRO-4X 4x4 uses 8.1 litres per 100km, but we achieved 9.5 litres per 100km as I'd spent a significant portion of the test drive period in 4H mode. We reckon you will be delighted with the purchase of your Navara range-topper and that you will enjoy its head-turning character and capabilities. It comes with a six-year or 150 000km warranty and a six-year or 90 000km Service Plan as standard and is priced at R749 000.

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