By Gugu Masuku

Almost exactly a year ago, Nissan launched the all-new Navara after over a decade of silence at that end of the market. Having been out of the bakkie action for so long, they wanted to hit the segment with a bang. To do this, they strategically decided to put out the 4×4 variant first so as to leave nothing to chance!

 

From a Workhorse to Lifestyle Vehicle

Bakkies are no longer viewed and purely used as workhorses, where functionality and durability outweighed aesthetics and tech. Nowadays, the bakkie we see being produced by manufacturers is purposely built to cover all the bases. More than anything, these masculine machines are slowly but surely becoming lifestyle vehicles. The all-new Nissan Navara 4×2 is one fine example of this. Packing the proven 2.3 intercooled diesel engine producing the same 140kW and 450Nm of torque as the 4×4, although, in this instance, it’s all sent only to the rear wheels and works for it’s intended purpose.

 

Give the throttle a stab and the vehicle responds with an appreciated enthusiasm

 

If you loved the 4×4 version of Nissan’s premium utility vehicle, then you’ll definitely have the hearts for this one, because aesthetically, it’s still the same car. There are some minor updates such as the addition of surround view cameras in the highest spec LE, giving the driver a full view of his surroundings when backing up, and a reverse camera in the entry-level SE variant. All the standard bells and whistles found in the 4×4 are also included here, such as the satellite navigation, LED daytime running lights and LED projector headlamps.

 

 

It almost feels as if an entire caravan has been unhitched from the back of the new 4×2

 

Torque on Demand

The new Navara 4×2 is available in both manual and automatic transmissions, with one pronounced difference between this and its 4×4 sibling being the way that it carries itself. The permanent RWD feels a lot lighter in comparison to its more off-road capable version – it almost feels as if an entire caravan has been unhitched from the back of the new 4×2. This, coupled with a more responsive throttle, led me to developing a certain fondness towards the manual derivative. The way the power is delivered is what makes the 6-speed manual such a pleasure to drive. The 420Nm is delivered constantly throughout every gear, even in 6th! Give the throttle a stab in this gear and the vehicle responds with an appreciated enthusiasm, taking you to greater highway speeds and giving you overtaking powers without ever having to look to the lower 5 for assistance. The 7-speed auto gearbox offers a similar feeling of lightness and more power – but with less the fun!

If you’re looking for a premium utility vehicle and have no intentions of doing any serious off-roading, the new Navara 4×2 is precisely intended for this purpose. With a none-bakkie-like ride quality, thanks to the five-link coil spring rear suspension and a payload capacity of more than 1 tonne, with the ability to tow 3.5 tonnes of braked trailer, you have everything you need to handle your day-to-day business.


Pricing for the new Navara 4×2 starts at R457 900.