Nissan Navara 4×2 review

Nissan Navarra 2.3D LE 4X2 AT DC

After building bakkies for 77 years for its own brand, among them the evergreen NP300 Hardbody and the 1400 of my youth; and now building bakkies for Renault and Mercedes as well you would be forgiven for thinking they know how to build the things. Judging by the Navara, they do know.

The Navara is very close to the complete bakkie. Space, performance, poise, great fuel consumption, comfort and very capable, this Nissan does it all.

Nissan Navara LE 4×2 Auto

The specification level on this bakkie is very high. From things you expect like fog lights to some more exotic items like heated door mirrors. It is a match for any SUV when it comes to equipment.
Leather seats, power steering, climate control, infotainment centre, it has all the stuff you may want. A nice touch is a hollow in the dash with a power point, ideal for any powered electronic equipment from GPS to dashcam.

This Navara has no less than 37 safety and security items from ABS to VDC (vehicle dynamic control) check them out on the website for yourself at https://www.nissan.co.za/vehicles/new/New-Navara/Specifications.html#grade-D23-3|equipment.

I particularly love the rear camera with sensors and the 360° camera system which displays a rear image and an overhead image in the rear mirror. It makes this rather large and very long bakkie much more manoeuvrable and somehow smaller.

The cabin has been well designed and appears to be well screwed together. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and very comfortable. Rear legroom is good. There are a number of storage bins and places to keep things.

The highly capable 2.3 L twin-turbo common rail direct injection diesel engine pushes out a very respectable 140kW and 450Nm. Coupled with the smooth optional 7-speed automatic transmission as was the case in the bakkie we tested, it is a joy to drive and much more like a car than a truck, but you can still tow a 3,5 ton braked trailer and you have 229mm ground clearance.

The heavy duty 5-link coil rear spring suspension probably helps to make it act more like an SUV as well.
Nissan claim a combined average fuel consumption of 7 L/100 km, and the bakkie I drove indicated a lifetime economy of just that, but I drove mostly in town and averaged around 11 L/100 km. Still good for a vehicle this size.

At the back the Utili-track tie down system in the 1,5 m loadbay is a boon. The 1,36 m wide tailgate can be opened with one hand and appears to be very sturdy.
We previously tested the 4×4 and found it to be capable off-road. We can say that this 4×2 is really capable on road. Not having to lug the extra 4×4 kit wherever you go means all round performance is better and fuel economy even more so.

Nissan Navara LE 4×2

The Navara competes directly with the Mercedes X class, Volkswage Amarok, Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux. The Isuzu D-max is more truck-like and the Mitsubishi Triton slightly smaller and more wieldy. Don’t forget the super tough Mahindra and the capable and extremely good value for money GWM Steed 5 and slightly bigger Steed 6.

Prices start at R484 900 for the SE Manual, we tested the 4×2 LE Auto at R575 500.
Three years or 90 000 km is the warranty you get.

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Wheelswrite car of the year 2018

The year of the SUV – 2018

We started 2018 on a pretty high note with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. In many ways just what you would expect an Alfa SUV to be. A big step up for Alfa. What could top it?

Nissan X-trail in Onrus

The next car we tested to really impress was the new Nissan X-trail. At the time I said: “Interestingly the new ‘facelifted’ Nissan X-trail, which I have been driving this week got as many , if not more ‘stop and stares’ (as the Stelvio). Especially men.”

Early in February we reported on the very capable Mitsubishu Sport and later in the month the seriously facelifted Mahindra Pik-Up.

At the end of March we drove two very good SUV’s the “new” Kuga and Mazda CX-5 of which I said at the time: “The Mazda CX-5 is not just another crossover SUV wannabe. It is a refined, well rounded car which leads the way in so many ways.”

Nissan Navara LE 4×2 Auto

In March it was the turn of two very good bakkies. Nissan’s new Navara and Ford’s fancy FX4. The Navara is burly and it’s a bit of a beast and is the basis for a whole slew of models from several brands.
And then perhaps the cat among the pigeons. The Peugeot 3008. The 3008 comes with high specification levels and exceptionally good exterior and classy interior design. It not only looks stunning, it is very clever.

You will notice a lot of SUV’s and crossovers in this list.

The year of the SUV – 2018.

In May we had the pleasure of sampling two German examples of the crossover wave. The spacious Tiguan Allspace and the Opel Grandland. The Allspace is pleasant and easy to drive in town and out touring. VW have created a really comfortable, spacious cabin. The Grandland is based on the same platform as the 3008. Similar substance but very different style.

Mazda MX5

In the spring the fresh new VW Polo GTi really impressed. At the time we said: ”A few months ago we reported about the Mazda MX-5 and how it had a grin factor. You just can’t help grinning while driving it. Well, this new VW Polo GTi also has a huge grin factor.” We really loved the Polo GTi. It gives the Golf GTi a run for its money.
The Peugeot 208 GT was another pleasing car. Similar to the Polo GTi in some respects but very different in others.
I like Suzukis so really looked forward to the new Swift. It is new from the wheels up. I thought it a delightful little runabout.

Early in December I drove two astounding SUV’s. Peugeot’s touring oriented 3008 GT-Line and Haval’s off-road toughie, the H9. Both cars do the job required of them extremely well.

Probably the sweetest car I drove this year is the Mazda MX-5 Targa. A driver’s joy, but a strict two-seater and really a toy, in the sense that it’s whole reason to exist is fun, nothing more, nothing less. The most focused car was without a doubt the Ford Fiesta RS200 Limited Edition,

Ford ST200 LE

fun, fast and almost practical.

So, which to pick?

Must be a SUVish type of vehicle. Surely.

I am tempted to pick the Haval H9, it really is that good, especially if you need low range. The Mazda CX-5 is just such a good car though.
The Peugeot 3008 GT-Line was a pleasant surprise and oh-so capable in its context. Mmmm. Let’s not forget the X-trail and the Allspace.

Damn.

May I pick the SUV as car of the year?

Or just go with the Polo GTi.

Toyota HiLux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider review

Toyota HiLux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider

HiLux is dead, long live HiLux. The king of the bakkie world is back with a bang.

Toyota HiLux 2.8

Toyota HiLux 2.8

The latest HiLux is a big improvement over the previous model in almost every way, but especially in the important aspects like ride quality, handling and fuel consumption.

My wife, Danita, was impressed by how much better the ride is of the new HiLux. She says it does not feel like a truck anymore. She could even see over the bonnet.

“What I really liked was the smoothness of going from wet muddy conditions onto gravel, thick sand and the brutal climbing power in very windy conditions on the slippery slopes of the mountains above Kleinmond! I really like it’s versatility … a stylish loyal workhorse clad in an elegant suit.  I felt safe inside,  protected by the powerful engine and strong body. I have never been quite so relaxed during a 4×4 trip in challenging weather conditions!”

HiLux_2.8-dashVisibility is good for a double cab. The whole aspect of handling and control has been taken to a new level and is now much easier and you feel more in control. Although it is substantially bigger it doesn’t feel clumsy or vague to drive.

HiLux is selling very well, so it must be ticking the right boxes. I thought the Toyota engineers have done a good job of refining what was in its day a highly competent bakkie.

The new Hilux is available in four grades, from workhorse to Raider with SRX in the middle. There is also a specialist SR spec for the mining industry. In total there are 23 models.

Drive Mode Select (Eco and Sport) with iMT

The gearbox is really good. Toyota is using an intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) on top models.  iMT effectively incorporates rev-matching technology on both up- and downshifts, to provide a smooth drive as well as assisting drivers with smooth take-offs.

Using the 4WD change-over switch, the driver can select between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low range. The system allows the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD ‘High’ on the fly, up to speeds of 50 km/h

HiLux_2.8-rear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Active Traction Control system (A-TRC) found in the Land Cruiser family of vehicles is now also fitted to top HiLux models. A-TRC uses a combination of engine torque control and brake pressure modulation to provide maximum traction under most conditions.

Toyota claims 7.1 litres per 100 km. I got just over 8L/100km, making this bakkie light on fuel.  The 2.8 diesel delivers 130 kW and  420Nm from 1600 to 2400 rpm. The 2.8 GD-6 4×4 models allow a solid 3.5 tons of towing capability.

The eighth-generation HiLux, Toyota says is fit-for-purpose. After a week at the wheel that is my overriding impression. They know how to build bakkies having sold HiLuxes since 1969.

Little nitpick niggles

The rear bumper sticks out quite a bit from the body and may snag things especially in the veld butHiLux_2.8-nose also add wind resistance.

The rear legroom is still tight and not as good as the competition.

The infotainment screen and instrumentation is much better than the previous model but has not quite caught up to the Ranger and KB.

The bakkie we tested cost R529 900.

Pricing is as follows: Single cab:  From R228 900 to R 435 900
Xtra cab: From R333 900 to R470 900
Double cab: From R 377 900 to R593 900

There is a 5 year or 90 000 kilometre service plan. The standard factory warranty provides cover for 3 years or 100 000 km, but you can extend it to 6 years or 200 000km for R7 200.

Bear in mind four new bakkies are coming to market in 2016/17. They are the new Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navarra as well as the launch of the FIAT Fullback and Mercedes bakkie.

The Ford Ranger and Isuzu KB series are formidable competition. VW Amarok will catch up when it gets its facelift and new engines soon.

Also have a look at the two Steed ranges from GWM. You may just be very surprised.

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback

In the next few months four bakkies will launch in South Africa.

Fiat is first out the block with the Mitsubishi Triton derived Fullback.

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback  (Quickpic)

The Fullback range has three configurations, three trim levels, three engines and two gearboxes:

4X2  (rear-wheel drive) in single and double cab ,

4X4 (all-wheel drive) in double cab

2.5 Diesel (100Kw) 4×2 LX

2.5 Diesel ( 131Kw) 4×4 SX

2.4 Petrol (97Kw) 4×2

All manual at launch, but the diesels will get an auto box later.

PRICES:  The Single Cab 2.4 Petrol 97Kw 4×2 STD Trim starting from R232 900 including VAT, the Double cab 2.5 diesel 100Kw 4×2 – LX Trim starting from R402 900 including VAT whilst the Double cab 2.5 Diesel 131Kw 4×4 – SX Trim will be available from R468 900 including VAT.

The Fiat professional Fullback range comes standard with a 3 year/ 100 000km vehicle warranty and a 5yr/ 100 000km service plan.

A full review will follow in due course.

 

Suzuki Super Carry bakkie arriving soon

Suzuki is about to launch a three-quarter ton light bakkie in SA.

Its a cab over design and gets a 1.4 litre four cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Super Carry is 3,8 m long and 1,56 m wide, yet features a load deck measuring  2,18 x 1,49 m.

It goes on sale through Suzuki’s national dealer network from June at a recommended retail launch price of R129 900. The price includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

suzuki super carry

Ford Ranger line-up gets 2.2 TDCi Automatic

Ford has announced that from July 2016 the 2.2 Duretorq TDCi range will include automatic models.

A total of nine 2.2 TDCi Auto variants will be offered, boosting the revised Ranger line-up to a total of 36 models. It will be available across all three body styles.

Ford_Ranger_XLT_dash

The existing manual version of the Ranger.

“The success of the automatic transmission option on the Ford Ranger is unprecedented, with almost 70% of buyers opting for the auto instead of the manual in the powerful 3.2-litre models,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“The latest refinements, increased performance and enhanced fuel efficiency of the New Ranger, particularly with the updated 2.2 Duratorq TDCi engine, has led to growing customer interest in the option of an automatic transmission on these models.

In addition, customers will be able to select from all three trim and specification levels in the case of the Ranger Double Cab 2.2 Auto, comprising the entry-level XL, the mid-range XLS and the top-end XLT which provides a peerless combination of luxury and convenience. The Single Cab and Super Cab can be specified in XL and XLS guises for the 2.2 Auto.

Prices will be released later.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Nissan NP200 Stealth review

Nissan-NP200-thumbNissan NP200 Stealth 1.6

When Nissan replaced the old Datsun 1200 / Nissan 1400 bakkie they knew they had a mission on their hands.

In actual fact the NP200 is a better workhorse than the the Nissan Champ it replaced, but somehow it just did not have the same chutzpah, cachet, something special that the 1400 had in wallops.

The NP200 needed a bit of youthful zest. A punch just like the Champ. So Nissan had an idea.

Nissan made a model for the leisure market which looks more sporty than the normal NP200. A bit cooler?

The STEALTH.

Nissan-NP200-Stealth-097-side

So what is the Stealth?

It is a makeover. A bit like make-up. Exactly the same under the skin, but a bit of a highlight there a bit of colour here and a really nice hair-do.

Nissan-NP200-Stealth-141

The Stealth package gives you techno grey paint, darkened sports bar and flush fitting tonneau cover,  a prominent nudge bar that fits below the colour-coded grille frame, charcoal black alloy wheels with red accents, dark side and rear fitted STEALTH decals and dark tinted smash-and-grab protected windows. Don’t forget the running lights.

Nissan says: “NP200 STEALTH seats are uniquely upholstered in special eco leather with titanium-coloured contrasting stitching and STEALTH-embroidered logos.” – I kid you not.

In addition to standard air conditioning, ABS brakes and two airbags, the NP200 STEALTH also comes equipped with remote central locking, daytime running lights and a black tonneau cover.

Nissan-NP200-Stealth-153-doorI have to say the NP200 has much more cabin space than the old 1400. Much better seats. Actually everything is better.

Some things they have kept simple and basic. You wind the windows up or down. It does tick most of the boxes: airconditioner, Alpine with radio Bluetooth /USB connectivity/ AUX input , smart comfortable seats, space behind the seats, carpets on the floor and a power point.

So how is it to drive you may ask?

Exactly like the normal NP200. Like a little bakkie should. It handles like a small truck and does exactly what you expect it to do. Acceleration is fine and maintaining the legal limit is a breeze. Cornering can be interesting and should be approached with caution. But hey its a truckling.

In short, its a worthy successor to the Champ.

At times the engine will labour a little, especially at altitude. So expect around 8.5 litres/100km.

I liked it. It seems good value for money for the little bit of fun added to the package.

The Stealth lists at R169 900. It is basically the 1.6 8V BASE A/C+SAFETY model with a few style elements.

The range starts with the  1.6 8V BASE at R141 300 and tops off with the 1.5DCI HIGH at R221 300.

The base models lack certain safety equipment and creature comforts and are very basic.

The Stealth comes with a substantial 6 year or 150 000km warranty.

Nissan-NP200-Stealth-156_dash