Bakkie mad! And, locally made - Nissan’s all-new Navara

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Like the words of the song from the band Keane go, “everybody’s changing, and I don’t feel the same”.

I was never a trunk/bakkie fan. They were rudimental vehicles for folks who needed them for work purposes – a work mule, if you will. However, over time they have evolved. Now we are at the point where they are luxurious, sexy and very drivable on a day-to-day basis.

There are about half a dozen options, with the VW Amarok most notably holding the throne. The Amarok is 10 years old, and things are changing. Nissan has recently launched a brand-new Navara! Let me begin by saying it was a pleasant surprise.

With prices starting at R311 000 for the Navara 2.5 Petrol XE SC, and R474 000 for the Navara 2.5D SE MT DC, the modernised line-up is well-positioned to compete in most of the 1ton pickup segments.

Nissan has produced an exciting range of models, ensuring there is a Navara to suit everyone’s needs – whether you are buying to empower your business or taking your family on an off-road adventure. Priced competitively, the Navara’s innovative technical changes, modernised styling and high-power specs will impress existing customers and appeal to those looking for a new workhorse or adventure vehicle.

The new Navara single cab 2.5l DDTi Diesel mid-output (XE and SE Grades), with its 2.5 litre dual overhead camshafts with direct injection (turbocharged with intercooler diesel engine producing 120kw of power and 403Nm torque), is already proving to have the most powerful engine in the class.

The Navara model range offers customers a choice of both single and double-cab, 2WD and 4WD options plus a choice of automatic and manual transmissions too. This is a fiercely competitive segment, but with the offering I drove, I feel the Navara is most certainly up to the task.

Compared with the previous generation Navara, the all-new model features significantly enhanced balance, superb handling and heightened performance, both on-road, and off the beaten track thanks to the successful combination of a new chassis with revised mountings for less vibration; increased rear height; better shock absorber damping; and a new dual-rate 5-link coil suspension that was designed to ensure a comfortable ride across all South Africa’s spectacular terrains.

Choose 2WD for maximum efficiency or shift to 4WD (4H) at speeds up to 100km/h with the Navara’s shift-on-the-fly 4x4 gearbox. Achieve maximum performance as Nissan’s 4H constantly monitors conditions and adjusts the balance of power between the front and rear axles to maintain traction, while the Active Brake Limited Slip Differential system (ABLS) manages power delivery and wheel braking between the front and rear axles as well as between the left and right of the vehicle, depending on traction and speed. New Navara drivers also have the option to select low range 4WD (4LO) for difficult terrain.

Perfect for delivering building supplies to a site or squeezing an extra tent in when you’re camping in the Tankwa Karoo National Park, the all-new Navara’s payload is now 100kg bigger, 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.

And if that’s not enough space, and you need to bring the off-road bikes on a trailer too, then new Navara’s Trailer Sway Control (TSC) system with yaw-rate-monitoring can detect the trailer’s self-oscillation, while the Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC) enables it to handle the brake pressure of the trailer to reduce self-oscillation.

I personally noticed a substantial improvement in the noise, vibration and harshness reduction for a 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 8” touch screen with NissanConnect, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With its bold masculine design, the new Nissan Navara offers customers good value-for-money, has low running costs, competitive parts pricing, competitive fuel efficiency and strong aftersales service, all designed to help your business's bottom line, while being rugged and tough enough to do the job right –minimising downtime and maximising uptime.

This is arguably now the holder of the throne – best bakkie!


The competition

Fiat Fullback, Ford Ranger, GWM P Series, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok.


The pricing

2 x 4 Double Cab

Navara 2.5D SE 4x2 MT Double Cab R474 000

Navara 2.5D SE 4x2 Auto Double Cab R498 000

Navara 2.5D SE Plus 4x2 MT Double Cab R505 000

Navara 2.5D SE 4x2 Plus Auto Double Cab R528 000

Navara 2.5D LE 4x2 Auto Double Cab R606 000

Navara 2.5D Pro 2x 4x2 Auto Double Cab R686 000

4 x 4 Double Cab

Navara 2.5D SE 4x4 MT Double Cab R552 000

Navara 2.5D SE Plus 4x4 MT Double Cab R580 000

Navara 2.5D LE 4x4 MT Double Cab R660 000

Navara 2.5D LE 4x4 Auto Double Cab R677 000

Navara 2.5D Pro 4x 4x4 Auto Double Cab R740 000


2 x 4 Single Cab

Navara 2.5 petrol XE 4x2 MT Single Cab R311 000

Navara 2.5D XE 4x2 MT Single Cab R350 000

Navara 2.5D SE 4x2 MT Single Cab R426 000

Navara 2.5D LE 4x2 MT Single Cab R456 000


4 x 4 Single Cab

Navara 2.5D SE 4x4 MT Single Cab R492 000

Navara 2.5D LE 4x4 MT Single Cab R527 000


The service and warranty 

The retail price of the Navara includes 6-year/90 000 km Service Plan and a 6-year/150 000km warranty.

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