NISSAN LAUNCHES MZANSI-BUILT NAVARA

The Nissan Navara was once one of Mzansi’s favourite bakkies. It was really the first-generation model that introduced us to a higher level of spec and the wider body in the segment, as well as a really powerful engine. Since then the name became a household one. Nissan SA erred in delaying the launch of the second-generation that by the time they did, the market was already saturated with better bakkies. They want to try and address this error with the updated model.

For the first time the Navara is being produced here in Mzansi, out of Nissan’s Rosslyn plant in Tshwane. In addition, it is available in single and double cab configurations. One of the main points of change is the redesigned front end, which includes a new grille, headlights, bumper (higher and lower), and fog lights placement. Depending on the model, buyers also get chrome surrounds on the grille, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights and fogs. Higher models get chrome door handles, colour coded side mirrors and alloy wheels with several distinctive designs. At the lower end the side mirrors are black, so are the door handles and lower window frames. The biggest change to the rear end is the Navara moniker now centred and embossed to the tailgate in a large font. Buyers can specify one of seven exterior colours.

The interior has seen some changes as well, including a new multifunction steering wheel with satellite controls for features like music, and information. A navigation app called Navi is part of the 20.3cm touch screen infotainment system on the higher models. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available, as is Nissan Connect which includes Bluetooth streaming, voice recognition and navigation. Up to four USB ports and three 12V power outlets are available along the range.

Under the bonnet lie three powertrains based on two engines, a diesel and a petrol. The 2.5-litre turbo diesel produces two power outputs for different models. On the lower end it produces 120kW and 403Nm of torque, while at the top end there is 140kW and 450Nm available. The 2.5-litre petrol is only for entry-level units and it provides 118kW and 233Nm. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, as well as 4×2 or 4×4 systems can be specified, again depending on the model in question.

We drove the 2.5-litre turbo diesel with 140kW and 450Nm, 4×2 and automatic. It presents some real strength in pulling, and returns respectable fuel consumption figures. Nissan has improved the Navara’s ride comfort levels to be on par with the most comfortable rivals. The powertrain is smooth and almost lag-free, which gives the driver confidence under any situation. We would like to test the 4×4 version too in order to see how it handles the off-road track.

Nissan has employed a raft of safety features for some of the Navara models, including Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Around View Monitor.

“Our continuous improvement process has seen us re-engineer the entire range of models to produce a Navara that’s perfectly suited to South African and ultimately African conditions, with options that make sense for our market: single and double-cab, 2WD and 4WD options, and both automatic and manual transmissions,” Stefan Haasbroek, Marketing Director at Nissan South Africa. “We cannot wait for our customers to get their hands on something that we have worked so tirelessly towards building, to create memorable journeys for them as we pride ourselves in every single detail inside and out to make the Navara the world-class vehicle it is.”

Prices start from R311 000 for the XE 4X2 single cab manual, up to R740 000 for the PRO-4X 4X4 auto double cab.

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