I am the proud driver of a 32-year-old VW Caddy bakkie, which shares absolutely no traits with the Nissan Navara apart from the fact that it has an open cargo bed. It is actually rather amazing how far these utility vehicles have come in three decades. In the past they had the most basic cockpits with minimal technology, which was probably done to keep the price low for businesses, which in contrast to bakkies of today is the complete opposite.
Nissan have tried to combine the classic off-road capabilities and strength of a bakkie with the comfort of a luxury car and, in my opinion, they have managed to do just that. It amazes me how easy it is to drive the Navara despite how big the vehicle is, and the drive is just as smooth as a luxury vehicle, whether you are taking on the concrete jungle or taking an off-road expedition.
The comfort and handling can be attributed to the revolutionary 5-link coil rear suspension, which ditches the traditional rear leaf springs, a system Nissan is particularly proud of since the Navara is the first mainstream bakkie to adopt this system previously seen on large SUV’s.
The model we had was only a 4X2 version, which we took on an unconventional, city off-road expedition, which didn’t cause too many issues. The suspension was rugged enough to deal with not only off-road terrain but performed equally well on the wet city roads, but one would expect nothing less considering Nissan have been producing tough bakkies for over 80 years now.
The masculine exterior design, combined with stylish LED daytime running headlights, chrome-plated grille, review mirrors, and paired with the luxury of the cabin and also the superior ride height makes you feel like a celebrity on- and off-road.
Other stand-out features, apart from the easy to use media system, include the extra 12 volt power points so none of your passengers run short on a charging source, the electric window on the rear of the cabin and the smart mirror system which uses 4 cameras around the car to give you a birds eye view of the vehicle when you park. Navigation comes standard on all models along with intelligent features which assist the driver to stay focused.
Nissan have also focused on increasing the storage capacity by adding multiple storage compartments including a cleverly hidden, easy to access compartment underneath the rear seats.
The 2.3 litre twin-turbo diesel engine produces 140kW at 450Nm and which claims 6.5l/100km paired with a smooth 7-speed transmission performs well for a vehicle of it’s weight.
This is definitely a vehicle I could use on a day-to-day basis and at the starting price of R575 500 for the 2.3D LE 4X2 automatic and R626 500 for the 2.3D LE 4X4 automatic you will feel ready to take on any adventure.
– Shaun Holland