After waiting patiently for 14 years for Nissan to release a new Navara, South Africa finally gets to revel in the advancements that such a period of time offers. Nissan claimed that the all-new Navara was a monumental leap in engineering, build quality and refinement over the previous model and most of the press was inclined to agree.
We were looking forward to testing the vehicle for ourselves, not on a prepared test route, but rather in a similar set of circumstances that the typical Navara buyer would encounter. Part of our testing was a long-distance journey in the Nissan Navara 2.3D Double Cab 4x4 LE Auto from Johannesburg to the Eastern Cape. Having driven most of the current double cab offerings, we decided to rank them based on a few criteria, comparing the new Navara to the likes of the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu KB, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton and Fiat Fullback. At the time, we hadn't tested the new Volkswagen Amarok so we excluded it from the comparisons.
We were particularly impressed with the low Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels and the refinement and power delivery from the twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine that produces an impressive 140kW and 450Nm. The twin-turbo system allows the Navara to develop maximum torque from as low as 1500rpm.
The new 5-link rear suspension was another area that suitably impressed us. Utilizing coil springs rather than leaf springs provides the Navara with an SUV-like ride but manages to retain the load bearing demands required for a double cab utility.