Jaco van der Merwe
Can reincarnation of old favourite make major inroads?
The new Nissan Navara will start rolling off the Rosslyn assembly line next month, but where will this ambitious reincarnation of an old South African favourite feature on the bakkie-crazy local landscape?
At this early stage it would be safe to assume that the Navara’s re-emergence will not give the undisputed local bakkie king, the Toyota Hilux, any sleepless nights. But featuring a fresh design and the addition of a single cab to the range, the Navara will no doubt strengthen Nissan’s position in the bakkie market.
Nissan’s decision to add a single cab to the range is no doubt in line to compensate for the void that will be left by the outgoing NP300. This dated bakkie, which has been heavily scrutinised since receiving a zero-star safety rating a few years ago, will be discontinued later this year.
The still popular NP300 Hardbody range includes a single and double cab and once it reaches the end of the line, the new Navara will have to carry the one-tonner single cab baton for the brand. Nissan also have the NP200 in its bakkie line-up, which is by far the best-selling local product overall with average monthly sales of over 1 100 units in 2021.
Nissan Navara Pro-4X
Although the Japanese carmaker will not be competing in the extended cab segment with the new Navara, a strong emphasis on its commercial offering – or cost-effective workhorses – should keep the assembly line in Rosslyn flowing at a brisk pace.
At the sharp end of the stick Nissan’s leisure offerings is very much in line with the top specced models its rivals has to offer, while you can find pretty much anything in between the base models and the flagships.
Single cab Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 Raider 4×4
While you can still find cheaper single cabs in the Mahindra Pik-Up S4 and the GWM Steed 5, the new entry-level Navara XE 4×2’s R311 000 sticker price is on par with two Nissan’s traditional bakkie rivals, Isuzu and Toyota, and quite a lot cheaper than the most affordable Ford Ranger.
GMW P-Series SX
Isuzu’s D-Max 250C is priced at R309 500, while the Toyota Hilux 2.0 S without air-conditioning costs R304 400 and R9 000 extra with aircon. The Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi is priced at R334 600, with GWM’s P-Series SX the most expensive at R339 900.
Nissan Navara XE single cab
In the single cab four-wheel drive segment, the Navara’s starting price of R492 000 is the most expensive of the lot. The Hilux in 2.4 GD-6 4×4 SR guise costs R491 600, the Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4×4 XL R484 700 and the D-Max 250 4×4 Hi-Ride will set you back R475 200. Interestingly, the P-Series in SX guise is by far the most affordable at R384 900.
Mahindra Pik-Up S10 double cab
In the double cab segment, the Navara starts at a much higher price than its rivals, though it is important to note that the Nissan is more generously specced than its more commercially-orientated models at the bottom end of its rivals’ line-ups. Kicking off the line-up is the SE 4X2 which is priced at R474 000.
In comparison, Isuzu’s D-Max 250 costs R404 300, Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Hi-Rider R406 700 and Toyota’s Hilux in 2.7 S guise R449 200. The most affordable double cabs from other manufacturers include the JAC T6 1.9 TDi Comfort at R324 900, the Mahindra Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S6 at R327 499 and the GWM P-Series SX priced at R369 900.
As far as four-wheel-drive double cabs go, the Navara’s cheapest offering at R552 000 edges out the Hilux 2.4 GD-6 SR (R560 200), but both Ford and Isuzu offer more affordable options. The Ranger 2.2 TDCi XL guise is priced at R534 800 and the D-Max’s 250 Hi-Ride R517 900.
More budget friendly options include the Mahindra Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S6 at R361 499, the JAC T6 1.9 TDi Lux at R394 900 and the GMW P-Series SX which will set you back R414 900.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak
At the sharp end of the stick, the top-of the-range Navara – the Pro-4X 4X4 automatic, is at R740 000 more affordable than the priciest Hiluxes and Rangers.
Isuzu D-Max LX 4×4 double cab
The flagship of the Hilux line-up, the 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Legend RS auto, costs R868 100, while Ford’s Ranger 2.0 BiT 4×4 Wildtrak and Thunder respectively sell for R797 500 and R830 900. That is if you count out the off-road orientated Raptor. The top-of-the-range Isuzu, the D-Max 300 3.0 TD 4×4 LX auto, costs R713 900.
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Legend RS
Other manufacturers, which stick to more leisure-orientated offerings, include Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Mazda. Their flagships are the 190 kW Amarok Extreme which at R996 000 is in a league of its own, the Triton 2.4 DI-D Xtreme at R699 995 and the lesser-specced BT-50 3.2 4×4 SLE auto at R641 100.
The new Navara’s engine line-up includes the more affordable 2.5-litre 118kW/233Nm petrol and 2.5-litre 120kW/403Nm diesel powertrains, while the top offering is the 2.5-litre 140kW/450Nm diesel powerplant which is mated to seven-speed automatic transmission.
These numbers – on paper anyway – are a few horses short of what its major rivals have to offer. The top Hilux offerings are a 2.8-litre 150kW/500Nm diesel and 4.0-litre 175kW/376Nm petrol engine, both mated to six-speed automatic transmission.
190 kW Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI
Ford offers two stronger oil-burners, the 2.0-litre 157kW/500Nm bi-turbo and 3.2-litre 147kW/470Nm TDCi, mated to ten and six-speed transmission respectively. The same 3.2-litre powerplant also does duty in the BT-50.
Isuzu’s top dog is the 130kW/380Nm 3.0-litre turbodiesel which is mated to a six-speed auto box. The Triton’s 2.4-litre produces 133kW/430Nm and is mated to six-speed automatic as well.
In addition to the 3.0-litre V6 190kW/580Nm Amarok, the Volkswagen line-up also includes a 132kW/430Nm version of the 2.0-litre bi-turbo powerplant, featuring the same eight-speed transmission as the flagship does.
Specification-wise it is pretty much blow-by-blow between the Navara and its main rivals in terms of spec throughout the line-up.
Interior of the Nissan Navara LE
The flagship does feature a very comprehensive set of safety spec, but it trails both the Hilux and Ranger by not featuring adaptive cruise control. There are also other things the Navara lacks like heated front seats and a roller shutter on the back, but in all fairness, these omissions are reflected in the price.
After-sales back-up on all Navaras are second to none, with all models inclusive of a six-year/90 000km service plan and six year/150 000 km warranty.
Toyota offers a nine service/90 000 km service plan and three year/100 000 km on their bakkies, while Ford has a six year/90 000 km service plan and four year/120 000 km warranty.
Isuzu bakkies come with a five-year/90 000km service plan and five-year/120 000km warranty, while Volkswagen offers a three-year/ 100 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.
Mitsubishi also offer a three year/100 000 km warranty and five year/90 000 km service plan and Mazda bakkies feature a three year/ unlimited km service plan and warranty. P-Series offerings include a five year/100 000 km service plan and warranty.
The waiting game
Only time will tell how the bakkie-mad South African public will receive the new Navara. Early indications are that Nissan has done their homework in terms of model-specific specifications as to where to can most effectively take on its rivals.
What counts in its favour is that South Africans tend to have a strong affiliation to locally built cars. And to go with that, Navara has already built up a strong reputation. If the new product can live up to this, then the bakkie game might just get very interesting going forward.