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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Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

We tested this bakkie before in 2.2 and 3.2 guise but I have to say this facelifted version is even better. Ford has really pulled out all the stops to improve an already good vehicle. The interior sets the standard for the bakkie sector.

You can move effortlessly between 2WD and 4WD high mode or low mode with what Ford calls Shift-on-the-fly. It waltzes over any obstacle effortlessly.

I really like the e-Locking Rear Differential, ESP braking system and the clever underseat storage.
The big turbo diesel puts out a massive 470 @ 1500 – 2750 and achieves a claimed 8.6L/100km. I got just over 10L/100km.

It is a pleasure to drive on and off-road. It has the power. To do almost anything… a bakkie should.

There are a number of trim and equipment levels to choose from

Base – Fleet workhorses: manual windows, vinyl flooring, no ABS or air-con
XL – Mid-level: ABS, ESC, radio with bluetooth, electric windows
XL plus – Heavy duty: like XL but adds 4×4, dual batteries, expanded wiring harness, 17” wheels and AT tyres
XLS – With instrument panel incorporatingSYNC® with a CD player and Bluetooth.
XLT – With even more goodies for the leisure market, and dual colour 4.2-inch TFT screen.
Wildtrak – Top of the range is our equivalent to the Raptor in the bigger US Ford bakkies.

The Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux are somewhat different but they are equals. One does some things better than the other and vice versa.

I personally prefer the Ranger above the HiLux.

The bakkie as tested costs R570 900

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 review

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 double cab 4×4 review

Born just before the seventies with a price of only R1 525 as a 4×2 single cab with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, HiLux has come a long way. Millions have been made.

Toyota HiLux

Toyota HiLux

It is a Legend. No other bakkie comes near in terms of sales or reputation.

We have just driven the seventh series HiLux again in Legends45 form, which is basically the outgoing version before the new bigger series 8 is launched later this year. Toyota have sweetened the deal by upping the accessories on this model but keeping the price down.

This traditional size bakkie is easier to manoeuvre and park than the new super-sized double cabs.

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux is a very competent all rounder and it does everything well. It is a little old fashioned but in a comfortable familiar kind of way.

It looks like a bakkie and drives like one. This double cab is a luxury workhorse without pretences.

The suspension is firm, perhaps a little too firm, as unladen it still tends to be a little skittish but the electronic stability control really helps to improve the ride. The traction control works seamlessly and invisibly.

I tested it on the Helderberg Farm 4×4 trail black route and it never hesitated. I think it will be good in sand as well.

The highway performance is good. Lock it at 120km/h with the cruise control and it just sails along without ever breaking into a sweat.

In town it is easy to use as it even has a rear camera which makes parking a breeze. My wife felt the camera’s position is a little vulnerable though.

The 3.0 D-4D turbodiesel engine has been around for a while and does not deliver exciting performance, rather it is dependable, effective and a very good mix of usable power and torque. It will do the job and not let you down. I got 10litres/100km in mixed town, highway and some 4×4 driving. So consumption is pretty good.

The cabin is functional rather than fashionable or even pretty to look at. But it works. It is a Toyota bakkie after all. The black leather seats are comfortable and have enough adjustability. It comes with all the nooks and crannies and a really pleasant to hold leather covered multi-function steering wheel.

Rear legroom is OK and access is acceptable.

It comes fairly well equipped with climate and cruise control, a good sound system, navigation with multi-function screen, bluetooth and several plug points.

Safety is also comprehensively specified.

The 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 as tested costs R505 400. That is a heck a lot of money, but then this is a lot of bakkie.

I believe the trade-in value of the 7th generation HiLux will remain very good partly because the new generation 8 bakkie is reported to be bigger and many people prefer the slightly smaller size.

The limited special edition 45 is available in 4×2 Raised Body and 4×4 and across all variations – Single Cab, Xtra Cab and Double Cab. There are 13 different Toyota Hilux Legend 45 model versions.

Also consider the Mitsubishi Triton, GWM Steed and Nissan Hardbody.

The standard HiLux single cab range starts at R291 800. The 2.5 D-4D Raised Body DC Legend 45 is the base Legend model and is R420 100. The top-of-range 4.0 V6 4×4 Auto DC Legend 45 is priced at R544 600.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 000km. The service plan is 5 years or 90 000km.

HiLux_ass

 

 

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4 review

King of bakkies

King of bakkies

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4

The king of bakkies.

It’s a hell of a thing to say, but I really do think the Ranger 3.2 automatic 4×4 double cab is the king in South Africa.

Nothing matches it.

The Nissan Navarra and VW Amarok are not very far behind, but they just don’t quite make the grade.

Ranger 3.2 4x4 auto DC

Ranger 3.2 4×4 auto DC

The Toyota Land Cruiser probably has more rock climbing ability and desert crossing grunt, but it is a truck, like a Land Rover Defender. As a plain lekka bakkie, Ranger 3.2 is king. Simply put, the competition lags behind. No wonder the HiLux has been trumped in the sales charts for the first time in literally decades.

The only negative  I can think of is the size or bulk. On the open road you do not feel the size. It is only when parking, in town or in an average garage. This Ranger is long and wide. It is 5.27m long and 2.16m wide. Your garage door has to be 1.9m high or you won’t get in.

Ford-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-005_ass

In spite of the bulk, fuel consumption is around 11 litres/100km provided you aren’t speeding or driving through sand. Then all bets are off.

The electronic stability control system is the best practical system on any bakkie and possibly 4×4 and includes roll over mitigation, adaptive load control as well as hill launch and descent control. It allows one more confidence and gives a better ride on tar and on gravel than any of its competition.

Easy to driveFord-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-041

The Ranger is fun to drive in any conditions and on any surface. Easy too.  It is the first bakkie to get a EuroCAP five star safety rating.

My wife drove the Ranger up the Boesmanskloof pass near McGregor in the rain, and down again without breaking into a sweat. Nuff said.

This bakkie handles well, accelerates well and stops…  quickly.

Off-road the Ranger is as good as any other double cab and better than most, most of the time. You can’t really go wrong with it.

There are a number of little (clever) details in the Ranger that give it just that little extra boost, for example the external tie hooks for the load area, the smaller front doors to allow bigger doors at the back, and so on. Small touches that all add up. Clever design.

What’s not to like in this bakie? Not much.

I think the automatic version is even better than the manual and recommend it.

Price as tested R497 200. The 3.2 double cab range starts at R340 000 and tops out at R541 900.

In this size of bakkie also look at the (new) Isuzu KB, Nissan Navarra, Mazda BT, GWM Steed 6 and VW Amarok.

The Ranger comes with a four year or 120 000km warranty and 5 year or 90 000km service plan.

Ford-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-018

 

 

GWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2 review

Steed-5-E-00_thumbGWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2

GWM have introduced a new, bigger leisure double cab bakkie as flagship, the Steed 6. A full road test will follow in due course.

The Steed 5 remains in the line-up as a workhorse single cab bakkie, but getting a new 2.0 turbodiesel engine.

GWM have upgraded the smaller (normal) Steed 5 double cab to the Steed 5 E, which now comes in two models, the basic SX and the Xscape which adds leather upholstery, a touch-screen media system with Bluetooth, rear diff-lock, side steps, roll bar and tyre pressure monitoring.

Steed 5 E

Steed 5 E

The biggest difference in the new Steed 5 E is the nose. It looks really good. The Steed 5E Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX is now a good looking, well equipped bakkie, and comes with climate control, radio/CD with USB support, dual front airbags and ABS/EBD as standard.

Steed-5-E-025Changes include a new aerial built into the windscreen (very effective) , quieter and more effective windscreen wipers, integrated side indicators, extra sound-insulation around the cabin and revised rear seat cushions.

These bakkies appear to be well put together. No dust, no squeaks or rattles and everything opens and closes properly. The cabin feels well appointed and quiet in a bakkie context.

A strange omission is no clock and I missed a simple trip data display with fuel consumption and the like.

Steed-5-E-039The ride when empty is a little skittish but very similar to the previous Isuzu KB.  Steering is very direct and light but not unpleasantly so. The gearbox, clutch set-up is very good and smooth, a real pleasure and easy to use.

They claim a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres/100km. I got around 9. So its on a par with the best.

If you want a smaller double cab, you must test drive the 5 E. Also look at the Nissan NP300, Mitsubishi Triton and outgoing Toyota HiLux.

Pricing of the Steed 5E range (excluding service plan) is as follows:

Steed 5E 2,4-litre SX                             R229 900
Steed 5E 2,4-litre Xscape                      R244 900
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT SX             R259 900 (as tested)
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT Xscape             R274 900

The cost of the service plan needs to be confirmed with your dealer. A 4×4 version of the Xscape will be available soon.

Warranties are really good. Manufacturer’s warranty is for 5 years or 100 000 km, while the corrosion guarantee is 10 years and unlimited km.

As tested R259 900. The 4×4 is R289 900.

The bigger Steed 6 Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX costs R294 900.

Steed-5-E-034

 

 

Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2 review

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-036_thumbIsuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2

The new Isuzu KB continues where the old tried and tested model took us. Reliable, solid, dependable. It still has good road holding and it still sounds and smells  like a truck. The way a KB should. You just gotta love that old diesel mill.

It is bigger and it is way more frugal than the model it replaces.

Isuzu claim  a combined cycle of 7.7 l/100km. I think you should work on just under 9 normally but around 7 l/100km on highway unladen. Still pretty impressive.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-065_doorThe cabin of this KB is much more spacious than the old one. Storage is a doddle with all the usual nooks and crannies, compartments on the floor under the seats, sunglass holder in the roof and clever drinks holders which slide out of the dash.

The leather multi-function steering wheel in the LX models is a pleasure to use. The integrated sound system is comprehensive and sounds good.

Leg room at the back is much improved as is ease of entry and exit. In short, the cabin is much bigger. It is also more comfortable and luxurious but not as smart as the Ranger.

The front is dominated by the powerful halogen projector headlights, but I have to say the chrome grille is a bit much.  The KB looks like a bakkie should, if that makes sense. It is more rounded than its predecessor and, one could say, stylish.

Isuzu KB 3.0 DC

Isuzu KB 3.0 DC

Ride quality has been improved and now almost matches the Mitsubishi Triton in my mind. It is very good both on tar and gravel. The new KB continues the tradition of excellent gravel travel built by earlier models. In town steering is a little heavy and feels cumbersome.

The engine torque and power is good but not as good as the opposition. It will serve you fine in most circumstances. It has been updated with a new intercooler and several other improvements and is around 15% up on the old model. You don’t really feel it on the road though.

Safety equipment include six airbags, ABS with EBD and BAS, and Isofix anchorage points, but not stability control.

It does not have standard rubberized load-bed or tonneau cover hooks.

If you do a lot of driving on gravel roads you will love this Isuzu.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-066_dashThe KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2 as tested is priced at R440 100. Isuzu prices a are a little steepish for what you get.

The range starts at R383 900 for the  KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4×2. The range topping KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 is R483 500.

In this size of bakkie also look at the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navarra, Mazda BT, GWM Steed 6 and VW Amarok.

The Steed 6 Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX costs R294 900.

If you are more interested in the traditional one ton bakkie size check out the Toyota HiLux, GWM Steed 5, Nissan NP300 (Hardbody) or the very capable Mitsubishi Triton.

The warranty covers 5  years or 120 000 km. The service plan is for 5 Years or 90 000 km.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-023

 

 

GWM Steed Double Cab 2.0 VGT 4×2 review

Steed 5 Double Cab

Steed5_frontGetting more than one bargained for is always a nice surprise. Driving the latest Steed bakkies from GWM is just such a little treat in life. They are very good.

I drove the Steed 2.0 turbo-diesel double cab down to Gondwana Game  Reserve (http://www.gondwanagr.co.za/) using the N2 and coming back on the gravel road ( Route  327) over Van Wyksdorp. A good test of high speed highway and various types of gravel road.

The bakkie I drove had 10 000km on the clock. There was not a squeak or rattle to be heard. The Steed 5 seems to be a very well built bakkie on the lines of the previous (outgoing) Isuzu design platform, but with a better engine and gearbox.

Ride height is 198cm, which is fine for normal uses. Tyres are 235/70 R16, which make for a comfortable ride and a purposeful look.

Fit and finish appears to be good.

The Steed comes with ABS, EBD, two airbags and fog lamps.

Interior

The cabin does not try to be car like. It is a comfortable well laid out bakkie.

The aircon works very well and like all the other controls is simple to use. Radio/CD player is a standard unit. The on/off switch is a bit finicky.

The seats are comfortable, also over  longer distances. The driving position works well. They are not height adjustable.

The interior is completely dust free. I drove over 300km on gravel roads without a speck of dust.

Exterior

The Steed looks exactly like the outgoing Isuzu KB from the middle of the bonnet backwards. The nose is unique and I think looks like  the nose of a modern bakkie should look.

It is a neat design and looks up to date.

Steed5_side

Driving impressions

The Steed behaves superbly on gravel roads. It is much better than the HiLux or the previous KB. On tar it is a pleasure to drive. The sixth gear is a long overdrive only suitable for level cruising, but in fifth she climbs hills without effort. Fifth can also  be used for overtaking.

The steering is a pleasure. It is light at low speeds and stiffens with increased speed. Very good.

I found the brakes effective and well modulated.

The suspension has been really well sorted for both on-road use and gravel travel.

The 2.0 litre turbodiesel produces 110kW@4000rpm and 310Nm @ 1800 – 2800.

Expect fuel consumption of around 10litre per 100 km.

Likes

Very smooth gearbox coupled to a very willing engine.

Fantastic value for money. Feels and looks like a real bakkie, which it is.

Dislikes

There is a small digital clock in the radio display when the radio is off. Otherwise no clock.

The 4 cup holders are all can size, so water bottles do not fit properly.

I would have liked a cruise control.

The doors lock automatically 15 seconds after being closed. This can be very bad if your keys are in the car. Some people will like this feature. I worry that I will lock myself out.

Steed5_LFConclusion

This is the first Chinese bakkie which you have to consider when you are in the market for a bakkie . It is a very very good value proposition. I liked it.

The Steed does not try to be anything other than a fine one ton light truck. Build quality seems to be good.

The Steed 5  Double Cab 2.0 VGT 4×2 costs R239 900. Its 4×4 sibling R264 900. Prices which are almost impossible to beat.

There is a 3 year / 100 000km warranty.

There is no competition at the price.

The nearest competitors are the Foton Tunland at R279 950 and Nissan NP300 at R338 400.

Steed5_ass