Nissan X-trail 1.6 dci Tekna 4WD review

The X-trail has been a firm favourite for many years. And rightly so. It filled the niche and largely created the soft SUV segment, although it has now become a crossover.

Nissan X-trail in Onrus

I reviewed the Alfa Romeo Stelvia at the beginning of January. Many people stared at the car as I drove past. Admiring the really beautiful lines of the Stelvia, which can be described as a work of art, on wheels. Interestingly the new ‘facelifted’ Nissan X-trail, which I have been driving this week got as many , if not more ‘stop and stares’. Especially men. They looked at the car and when they saw the badge they smiled, I suppose in approval.

Inside the X-trail is in its own way every bit as good as the Stelvia.

Nissan call it a crossover. No claims to real SUV ability. I like that, even though it has arguably more off tar capability than many “SUVs”. Nissan are a market leader and pioneer in this segment and it shows.
This new medium Nissan crossover has the class leading cabin and dash. Design, layout, equipment, materials, fit and finish are all top class in the range topping Tekna configuration, which I tested.
If you are looking for a premium crossover that offers comfort, versatility and smart technology, look no further. It is really that good.

I particularly liked the data display in front of the driver which has 7 different pages which you scroll through with a button on the multifunction leather steering wheel. The bigger display is only used for the maps, setting your radio and phone up, manoeuvring and cameras.

X-trail has the following new generation tech:
Blind spot intervention which alerts the driver to the presence of vehicles in blind spots diagonally behind the car.
Lane intervention which alerts the driver when it detects that the X-Trail is straying from its lane.
Cross Traffic Alert which can detect and warn the driver of vehicles that are approaching behind the X-Trail, especially when parking or leaving parking.
Emergency Braking which uses radar technology to keep an eye on your speed and proximity to the vehicle in front of you, and will alert the driver before engaging the brakes.
Forward Collision Warning helps alert drivers of an impending collision with a slower moving or stationary car.
Auto Headlights which automatically changes between high and low beams when it detects oncoming vehicles at night.
Around View Monitor with moving object detection – a support technology that assists drivers to park more easily by providing a better understanding of the vehicle’s surroundings.

Nissan X-trail

Nissan claims a combined consumption of 5,3 L/100km. I got about that on the open road, but a still very good, 7.6 L/100 km in general urban use including a trip to Onrus where I took the pictures. The 1.6 turbodiesel puts out 320 Nm, which means you have oodles of power, which combined with good road holding, a well balanced steering and a slick gearshift makes for a very good touring and town car. Why spend more to have a fancy badge on the bonnet? Did I mention that the seats are really comfortable over longer distances?

Even cats like the new X-trail

In addition the new X-trail is fitted with active trace control, active ride control, all the latest braking tech and a lovely suspension setup. You can even go a little off the beaten path. The car has 209mm ground clearance and 50/50 4×4 lock to get you over fairly gnarly routes, but it is not a hardcore offroader, although it will tackle small dunes with aplomb.

The boot, with the sears up holds 550 litres and a full spare. With the 60/40 seats flat at least double that. Space, in general, in this X-trail is generous. There is a 7-seat version available, but the additional seats are for GOT’s Tyrion Lannister and his ilk or primary school children, but you will have almost no boot.

The new Nissan X-Trail comes with Nissan’s class-leading 6-year/150 000km warranty, a 3-year/90 000km service plan and 24-hour roadside assist.
Service intervals are at 15 000km and the new X-Trail is priced as follows:
2.0 Visia R 369 900; 2.0 Visia 7s R 374 900
1.6 dci Visia 7s R 392 900
2.5 Acenta CVT 4WD R 425 900; 2.5 Acenta CVT 4WD 7s R 429 900; 2.5 Acenta Plus CVT 4WD 7s R 444 900
1.6 dci Tekna 4WD R 457 900 (which we tested)
2.5 Tekna CVT 4WD 7s R 469 900
The best value is possibly the 2.5 Acenta CVT 4WD at R 425 900.

The X-trail is bigger inside than most of its apparent price rivals, but also look at the similarly sized Suzuki Grand Vitara if you need real 4×4 ability, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan and Toyota Rav4.

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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

Nissan NV200 diesel review

NV200-thumb

NV200

Nissan NV200 – Leading the way

The Nissan NV200 is an exceptionally practical vehicle, especially in diesel guise. Whether as a panel van or a microbus, the VN200 is compelling.

We tested the petrol version.

The 200 range of Nissan commercial vehicles comprising of the bakkies, NP200, and the vans, NV200, are the most complete and possibly best value range in South Africa. While the bakkies completely dominate their segment, the vans still have to catch up to the more established VW Caddy range.

Nissan-NV200-031

Internationally the NV200 is becoming the dominant small bus. It has been selected as the taxi of choice in both New York and London. A hybrid and an electric model are on the way.

You will have to search far and wide to find a better vehicle to use as a taxi or small shuttle.

Nissan-NV200-041It has the biggest ‘boot’ space of all the small busses at 340dm ³ and the best access.

I immediately liked the vehicle. It does everything smoothly and effortlessly. The NV200 is easy to drive. The combination of relative light weight, peppy engine, light steering and smooth gearbox contribute to car like handling. It is really pleasant to travel in.

This little van from Nissan is the class leader by quite a margin. It goes well, handles well and has loads of space.

This is the second NV200 I have tested. I am almost more impressed this time round. It delivers so much more than it promises looking at it from a distance.

Nissan-NV200-007The interior has been well designed and is practical, comfortable and appears to be durable. Standard equipment include multi-function steering wheel, aircon, radio/CD with aux and USB inputs, Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free cellphone, powered external mirrors and windows, front fog lights, loads of storage compartments and a full spare wheel.

This van has very generous space considering its compact dimensions, with 4.2 cubic metres of volume in the rear and a 739kg payload, space for two Europallets, while loads up to 1.36 metres in height can be carried.

A big plus are the sliding doors on both sides. Very practical.Nissan-NV200-036

The 1.5dCi diesel produces good torque and delivers superb fuel economy of around 5.5 to 6 litres per 100km. The 1.6i petrol has more power but expect fuel consumption around 8 l/100km.

Expect to see many of these combis and vans on our roads soon.

Whether you are looking for a small bus/ 7 seater or a smaller van the NV200 has to be on your shopping list.

Also consider the VW Caddy, Toyota Avanza, the slightly smaller Honda Mobilio and even the Suzuki Ertiga. Other vans to look at are the Fiat Doblo and Renault Kangoo.

The diesel van costs R245 900, petrol R221 900, the diesel Combi or bus R303 900, petrol R277 900.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 00km, service intervals are 15 000km.

Nissan NV350 Impendulo 2.5 Petrol Minibus Taxi

Nissan NV350 Impendulo 2.5 Petrol Minibus Taxi

Nissan have launched a new minibus taxi,a 16-seat model, built to comply with South Africa’s taxi industry.

Nissan NV350 Impendulo

Nissan NV350 Impendulo

The new NV350 Impendulo Taxi, gives a strong local flavour to the taxi.

Says Tessa Cooke, NV350 Product Manager at Nissan South Africa: “Impendulo is the isiZulu word for ‘the answer’, a term which can be applied to the NV350 Taxi in more than one way. With it, we aim to recapture the love and affection of both taxi operators and commuters.

“The fact that our new taxi has been designed around the people who are going to operate and use it, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive response our naming competition, points towards a very successful reintroduction of the Nissan badge to the South African taxi industry.”

The Nissan enters a market in which over 4.5 million people travel in over 220 000 taxis on a daily basis.

The new Nissan NV350 Impendulo is powered by an existing 2.5-litre petrol engine, which produces 108 kW at 5 600 rpm and 213 Nm at 4 400 rpm, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Fuel economy is improved with the assistance of low voltage control of the alternator, whereby battery charge is monitored and the alternator’s voltage adjusted to curb over-charging the battery, thereby reducing load on the engine and lowering fuel consumption. Improved timing chain operation thanks to low-friction materials also aids in reducing consumption, as does the engine’s low idle speed of just 600 rpm.

Safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, seat belts for all 16 seats, a driver’s seatbelt warning buzzer, an emergency exit escape hatch in the roof and an immobiliser.

The Impendulo 2.5 petrol retails at R306 900 through Nissan’s entire existing dealer and comes standard with a 3-year/ 100 000 km warranty as well as a three-year unlimited kilometres anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km.

Nissan NV200 review

NV200 dash

 

Nissan NV200 van

Nissan have just launched two ranges of vans, the medium to large sized NV350 which competes with Toyota’s Quantum and VW’s Crafter, and the smaller NV200 which competes with the VW Caddy and Toyota Avanza.

The NV200 is that rare commercial vehicle – good looking, stylish, practical, comfortable and does the job expected of it. A version has been picked after a very intensive evaluation to be the next New York City yellow cab and its a finalist for London’s new taxi. Nissan are going to shake up the light commercial segment with this range of vehicles.

The NV200 takes quite a load.

The NV200 takes quite a load.

Some of the pluses include a sliding door on both sides, excellent height for both goods and people (and children) to get in and out and versatile seat arrangement. It is a very easy vehicle to live with.

The NV200 handles very well for a little commercial vehicle. In fact, it drives like a car. The steering, gears, clutch – all are light and direct. She cruises pleasantly at the legal limit and handles hills well. Acceleration is better than for example the Avanza, as is road holding.

Noise, vibration and unwanted sounds are well damped. It is a quiet cab and visibility is excellent. The layout of the dash is well thought out. Controls and switches are of acceptable quality and are easy to hand.

There are plenty of cup holders and provision for storage, including a file holder in the dash and a bin under the adjustable driver’s seat. The seats are very comfortable. It is a comfortable car in all aspects.

As a little bus it is an 8 seater for adults. As a weekend camping vehicle you can easily remove the third row of seats making a huge boot big enough for a tent, sleeping bags, stretchers, cool box, chairs… all the stuff for a weekend away.

Nissan NV200

Nissan has fitted a full suite of safety equipment to these vehicles from air bags to electronic stability and brake distribution as well as ABS brakes. Standard equipment include aircon, power steering and windows, sound system, aux, Bluetooth, USB, central locking and remote keyless entry.

Build quality appears to be very good. Fit and finish is excellent.

The range consists of: two panel vans and two busses, one diesel, one petrol. The cheapest is the NV200 1.6i P/van at R190 500. The diesel panel van is R220 500. The NV200 1.6i Combi (as tested) R240 500 and the diesel R271 400.

The 1.6 petrol engine produces 85kW and 153Nm from 4 400rpm. The 1.5 diesel produces 66kW at 4 000rpm and 200Nm from 1 750rpm. We tested the petrol model and found it to be very suitable for in town use with consumption of around 7.5 l/100km. If long trips on open roads are to be made often, the diesel will be our first choice. Nissan claims diesel consumption of 5.1 l/100km but we think you should work on 6.

The warranty is 3 years or 100 000km with 15 000km service intervals.

NV 200 dash.

NV 200 dash.

Daihatsu Terios 1.5 Diva review

Daihatsu Terios 1.5 Diva

Daihatsu has been making brilliant little off-road vehicles for quite a while, and it shows in this generation Terios. The Diva is a 4×2 version with fancy leather seats, park control with camera, and a few other little extras.

So, what is a Terios? It is a smallish, high riding, tough, four door jeep type vehicle of the SUV ilk. Some are 4×4, others 4×2. It will be a great little car for 2 people to go to a games reserve or do an extended road trip in.

The 1.5 petrol engine  produces power of 77kW @6000 and 140Nm @4400. Ground clearance is an excellent 205mm.

Interior  

The seats and driving position in the Terios are just right. The leather seats in the Diva are extra comfortable and have orange stitching to look good as well. Everything has been kept simple and straightforward. Dials and switches are where they should be and function well.

The sound and Garmin navigation unit is neat and works well. It is also easy to use.

There is nothing fancy about the interior, but although plain the cabin is a pleasant place to be.

The boot is small for four people, but if you fold the back seats down two people can easily get all their camping gear in.

Exterior

The Terios is very unassuming and plain, functional on the outside. It is what it is. The Diva model has swirly orange decals and badges to differentiate it from other models.

It is a good looking vehicle in an unassuming, balanced way.

Driving impressions

The Terios drives more like a bakkie than a car. Its not unpleasant or harsh, it is just not refined.

Everything works well. The brakes do what they are supposed to, the steering has good feel and as long as you are not in a hurry it goes well.

Top usable, comfortable speed is around 110km/h, but she will go to 140 and can cruise at 120km/h. Acceleration is truck like. Still, I find the Diva comfortable and pleasant to drive.

The driving position lets one see all round and the height makes for superb visibility. The seats and steering are adjustable.

The good things

The build quality is excellent. This car will last a lifetime.

All round visibility is excellent. The cabin is very functional. It is a nice sized car, its got attitude, a great ride height and has personality.

The bad

The Terios is a tad noisy at speed, which in a Terios is anything above 100km/h. It sounds and handles like an off-road vehicle. A bit more sound proofing is needed.

It works quite hard at 120km/h but will cruise in fifth quite happily. 110km/h is the best cruising speed. If this car had a little turbo fitted it would be awesome. It just needs a little more grunt. Fuel consumption could be better.

Summary

It is one of those love it or hate it cars. I like them. They are honest little workhorses that should give years of hassle free motoring. There is also a long wheelbase version.

The Nissan Juke is better value for money if you do not need a 4×4. The Jimny is small but will go anywhere.

Competition includes:

Nissan Juke – R203 925 to R261 925

Suzuki Jimny 1.3 4×4  – R 192 900

Costs  As tested R244 995  TERIOS 4X2 Manual Diva with HSWC with 3yr / 75 000km Service Plan.

The top of the range model is the 4WD Manual off-road with 3yr / 75 000km Service Plan @ R274 995.

The warranty is 3 year / 100 000km.

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna review

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna intercooler

What a breath of fresh air. It’s cool, it’s fun, it is no joke. I really like Nissan’s Juke.

Nissan are really good at finding and exploiting niches. Afterwards everybody (well nearly everybody) says: of course, obvious isn’t it?

Just so with the Juke. It is full of surprises. Pleasant ones.

There are three throttle settings called D-mod; Eco, normal and sport. You pick your own fuel consumption. Dial in the fun and you will know you are paying for it at the pump. The settings also affect the steering. I got over 8 litres per 100km, driving at 120km/h on the N2 and going up and down an eight storey parking garage every day. You could get close t0 7 litres per 100km if you drive in eco mode.

Driving impressions    

The turbo petrol Juke is a high riding hot hatch – 140kW @ 5 600 and 240Nm @ 5 000 via a silky smooth 6-speed manual box. Joy to drive.

In sport mode this car has a huge grin factor and is recommended to banish the blues. It grips well, feels fast and corners like a demon. The steering is good, accurate and above par.

The gearbox clutch marriage is a happy one. The Juke is a pleasure to drive. The diving position is good and the seats hold you in place.

Acceleration in sport mode when the turbo kicks in feels quick. Nissan claim 0 to 100 in 7.46 seconds and a top speed of 215km/h.

Weak points

The computer menu button is in a bad position in the instrument binnacle. you reach it through the steering wheel. An epic design fail.

This little turbo petrol engine tends to be thirsty, especially in sport mode  on an exciting road. Nissan’s claimed 6.9 litre per 100km combined consumption will be hard to match. I got nearer to 8 litre/100km.

It’s got a small boot, which is divided into a bottom drawer for your laptop and lunch box and an upper shelf for maybe 6 shopping bags. If it’s just two of you and you fold down the back seats you get a pretty decent boot. The Juke is actually a small car in the size class of the Mini and a bit larger than a Polo.

Good points

The Juke has a huge fun factor. It is nippy, cheeky and slightly naughty. The Juke has character.

When the turbo kicks in you feel the surge of power.

I like the design of both the exterior and the interior. It stands out from the crowd. The interior is very clever, cosy and practical. The exterior almost unique with flowing lines curving over very sexy hips.

The cabin is well designed and put together. It is also very different, and I think tasteful. Some will say its garish. That is their problem. I like the way different textures, colours and surfacers are brought together into a harmonious whole. It has more elbow space than its competitors and does not feel cramped.

Summary

In spite of little niggles the Juke carves a new unique niche for itself. It rules the roost. Watch it sell.

Costs as tested R261 925 for the Tekna, but base model is R203 925.  Competitors include the Mini Countryman Cooper R296 881, Suzuki SX4 R245 900, CrossPolo R234 100, Mazda 2 R212 950, Citroen DS3 R268 400 and Audi A1 R253 000.

The Juke is better value than its competitors, and I think a better buy.

It comes as standard with cruise control, auto aircon, Bluetooth, audio and cruise control on a fully adjustable leather steering wheel, data display, electric windows, immobiliser, electric mirrors and all the driving safety kit.

Warranty

Service intervals for the turbo models are 10 000km, and 15 000km for the normally aspirated. Warranties are 3 year / 100 000km. Service contract is 90 000/ 3 years.