Most people would think a pick-up is a pick-up is a pick-up. Used for hauling things from point A to B in its rear and usually nothing more. What was a work horse, had a horrible ride and poor acceleration, usually something you’d use till it rusts through and falls apart. The pick up has come a long way.
Nissan came out with the NP300 Navara and at the same time declared “Truck Wars” with the other brands. After having seen the new production line of Nissan in Thailand, we can conclude that they are in fact serious about making a dent in our local pickup market. Our drive in Ilocos showed us of NPI’s confidence in their Navara’s capabilities on any terrain. Driving a few hundred kilometers in Samar and then having it for one week really gives you an opportunity to get a feel for its characteristics.
This Navara is a far cry from the previous generation and much bigger in all dimensions and it looks good. Looking at it from the front, the grille is very Nissan and has a lot in common with the current line up. Its muscular stance, emanating from the V-Motion design language starting at the Nissan Logo in front and working its way to the tailgate.
Even for a 4×2 model, you still get a sense of premium-ness , and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a medium sized sedan and not a pickup. Everything is laid out logically. The fabric upholstery has a nice texture about it, and have the Zero-G design developed by NASA that minimizes fatigue and is comfortable on long drives. The rear is spacious, with good leg room. Cupholders are pretty much taken for granted these days and the Navara has enough of them around for everyone. The entertainment system is adequate, Double DINAM/FM/CD/MP3/USB/iPod connectivity, the sound quality is pretty good with the 6 stock speakers, crisp highs and an audible low end that doesn’t bottom ou and then, there’s the legendary Nissan air conditioning. It also has
Under the hood is a 2.5L diesel engine with a Variable Turbo (VGS) that puts out 163Ps at 3,750rpm and 403Nm between 1,500-2500 rpm of torque that’s mated to a 7 speed automatic transmission with manual mode, the final drive translates to better fuel economy when cruising. Ground clearance is 218mm and wading depth is 600mm which is alright for traversing mild flash floods in the city after a rain.
The Navara’s ride is firm but not harsh, owing most likely to its rear multilink coil sprung suspension. What this translates to is a more planted ride that doesn’t bounce around as much as other pickups that have the conventional leaf springs,so how much more the wheel travels upon compression and rebound, in comparison to the leaf springs is different giving it a more civilized ride, much like that of an SUV.
The 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara EL Calibre 4×2 looks good, and is comfortable to drive on long trips. Priced at PhP1,130,000, is priced just right with its features. A vehicle you can consider for its practicality and versatility over cars in the same price range. And it was awarded 2015 Truck of the Year Philippines by Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI), which makes an even better case in its favor and wins round 1 of the pickup wars.
Price: PhP1,130,000 Engine: 2.5L Diesel w/VGS Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic Output: 163P – 3750rpm Torque: 403Nm 1,500-2500rpm Suspension: Double Wishbone Rear – Rigid Multilink/Coil Brakes: Front –Ventilated Discs Rear – Drum Seating capacity: 5 Fuel Capacity: 80L
Words and photos by Neil Pagulayan