The current Nissan Navara has been around for seven years now, which means it's getting old. Its life span is being extended through various editions until the all-new NP300 Navara officially arrives.
At a recent media test-drive event in Thailand, chief vehicle engineer Takashi Fukui told us that the new model should take at least six months but not more than a year to arrive in the Philippines. If you're in the market for a pickup truck, the new Navara is worth waiting for and checking out. Let us share with you 10 essential things you should know about this pickup:
1. Design. Gone are the plain surfaces, which were considered modern at the time of the current model's launch. Keno Kato, head of product planning at Nissan Motor Company, said the design team went "back to basics" to deliver agility and bring out masculinity with the new Nissan truck. The grille's V-motion pattern continues to the hood, and Kato-san compared these sections to the arms of a man. The side surfaces likewise have a flexed appearance, resulting in a complex character line. The NP300 Navara sports LED daytime running lights and LED headlamps, a first in the segment.
2. Aerodynamics. The new look has more aero efficiency. The roofline flows better and is actually lower, yet the pickup has a higher ground clearance. The NP300 Navara has a neat rear spoiler, which highlights a sporty character.
3. Interior. Just like the old exterior, the current interior has plain surfaces and is more truck-like. That's no longer the case with the NP300 Navara--the dashboard is swept and more functional. Comfort is key with the new pickup, with the Teana and the Altima as the design team's basis. Like these midsize sedans, the NP300 Navara has "zero-gravity" seats, offering softer support. We drove 200km with the 4x2 and 4x4 variants in Chiang Mai, and our backs and bums didn't feel any strain.
4. Suspension. The leaf-spring rear suspension and differential are improved for better ride and handling. A pickup's ride can't be too soft yet can't be too hard. "A trucky ride is a problem," shared Kato. The road absorption was very noticeable during our ride and drive activity.
5. Chassis. The boxed ladder frame is more rigid. The side section is a carryover from the current Navara. Now, it's the biggest one in the segment. The NP300 Navara may be bigger, but the combined weight of components such as the body, the chassis, the rear suspension and the rear brakes is reduced by 70kg through the use of high-strength materials.
6. Engine. The YD25 2.5-liter diesel is an evolution of the current Navara powerplant. It's equipped with a new variable-geometry turbocharger, making it more efficient and more powerful. Low boost is rated at 161hp and 403Nm, while high boost produces 187hp and 450Nm.
7. Transmission. The engines (2.3-liter diesel and 2.5-liter gasoline units will be offered in other markets) are mated to a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic with manual override.
8. Technology. A start/stop button, a seven-inch screen, an audio and navigation system with USB, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, shift-on-the-fly 4WD system, and a rear-view camera make the NP300 Navara a smart pickup.
9. Safety. Hill-start assist prevents you from rolling back (with an approach angle as steep as 31 degrees) with the system, keeping the car stationary for two seconds. Hill-descent control, meanwhile, assists off-road driving on steep departures (as much as 26 degrees) by limiting speed without applying the brakes.
10. Possibility of a pickup-based SUV. Fukui confirmed this and mentioned that development has begun with a test mule. If plans push through, it will compete against the Mitsubishi Montero Sport, the Toyota Fortuner, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, and the upcoming Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest. The engineer, however, was tight-lipped about the time period. He said it's two to three years away, maybe even four.
The Navaras used for the global test-drive event were in Thai and Australian specs. Thailand models will be released on August 15. There is no word yet regarding Philippine-spec units.
Photos by Jason dela Cruz using Sony A5000