The all-new Nissan Navara seems prepped to bridge the gap between traditional, ‘yeah, it’s got four-wheel drive’ bakkie fare and hardcore desert-racing rides like the Ford Ranger Wildtrack.
The full-size pick up delivers when it comes to attitude, and it certainly boasts all the right upgrades to tackle extra-harsh terrain, but at the same time it maintains a veneer of civilization that makes it livable on a daily basis.
We recently got to drive it down to Bothaville in the Free State in attending the Nampo agricultural show and came away with 3 things you need to know about it.
1. Extra Gear For Bugging Out
The all-new Navara is designed to take extra licks off-road as compared to lesser versions of the full-size pickup. To that end, Nissan has added equipment such as a coil spring five link rear suspension, 32-inch knobby Michelin tires wrapped around 18-inch rims, and a bigger sway bar out back. These work together with 229mm of ground clearance and a low-range four-wheel drive system to deliver formidable trail prowess, provided the path you pick doesn’t get too narrow for the Navara’s long wheelbase (you can only order the truck in double four-door cab size).
2. Big Visual Impact Compared To Standard Pick-ups.
All the South Africans mainstream bakkies are already pick-ups with presence, but opting for the all-new Navara adds significant flair to ones overall presentation. My tester had been dipped in a handsome Black that Nissan dubs, well, exactly that and it was a perfect complement to its silver/chrome linings and features.
3. Good Power, Nice Sound, Decent Ride
Suspension, chassis, and cosmetic improvements round out the list of changes made to the Navara, with virtually nothing else about the bakkie varying from what you’d find in a mid-range edition of the pick-up’s playbook. This is in most ways a good thing, because it means you can use the Navara like a bakkie, rather than deal with compromised towing, hauling, or ride comfort issues.
The vehicle’s standard 140kW and 450Nm makes every ride worthy, its six-speed automatic transmission is geared to spin the tires if you get on the gas a little too enthusiastically, and the suspension’s off-road focus doesn’t detract noticeably from on-road handling. The truck feels quick enough to be fun without overpowering the brakes or tires, and you can hitch up a trailer and haul just under 3500 kg if the mood should strike you.