In the last year, there has been an influx of pickup trucks which I believe is due to the growing popularity of outdoor camping and it has become more attractive. The ground clearance, power, rugged-masculine look, and the unlimited number of things you can do with it as a pickup are what will interest most buyers.
Coming from a compact sedan, the thought of driving a pickup truck actually scares the f out of me. Because it’s bigger, wider, and taller than I’m used to. Parking it and navigating our normal route can be challenging for a vehicle this large.
Until I met the new Nissan Navara.
The Nissan Navarra is Nissan’s entry in the pickup category. Nissan was kind enough to lend us the Navara 2.5 VL 4X4 AT for a week to test and so we did.
At first glance, I found it a little scary with its total length of over six (6) feet, about the same width, and a weight of about two (2) thousand kilo. Navara’s rugged looks are undeniably made to conquer any terrain while leading the way.
Touring it and inspecting it up close made me appreciate its beauty. Its quad projector LED headlamp is bright enough to scare away evil spirits when driving alone in the dark. A large front grille dominates the front which is enclosed by large chrome linings supported by LED DRLs above the headlamps.
Getting in and out of the Navara is easy with built-in step boards for the first and second rows. Inside, the front seats are really comfortable to sit in, especially on long, bumpy rides. The driver has power seats while the front passenger settles for manual.
The rear seats do not disappoint as they also recline and have enough legroom for passengers of my size. Adding to the experience are its own aircon vents, a foldable armrest with cup holders, a charging port, a 12v socket, and side cupholders as well. Although pickup trucks aren’t necessarily passenger vehicles, Nissan makes sure they’re comfortable if you decide to be.
For infotainment, we get 8″ Advanced Display Audio with Apple Car Play and Android Auto (both wired), I like how it has knobs for both tuning and volume controls. Although you also have control over it via the steering wheel. Behind the steering wheel there is a • 7″ Drive Full-Color Instrument Cluster that allows you to manage Nissan’s intelligent mobility system:
- Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Emergency Braking
- Blind Spot Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection
I personally enjoy every aspect of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility. The lane departure alert was useful during our ride at NLEX/SCTEX, the blind spot warning helped to change lanes and sweet potato warning.
The Navara has two aircon systems that allow the driver’s side and the passenger side to have different temperatures. Nissan is always known for its super aircon system, you will forget that you are in the heat of the scorching sun. I like that even though it doesn’t come with a rotating knob, it has physical buttons for temperature and fan adjustment. I don’t think I’m ready for touchscreen features in cars. I prefer physical touch.
The handling and maneuverability of the Navara is exceptionally responsive. As a sedan user, I’m really afraid to use the Navara for daily driving because the route to and from work is already challenging for a small car. Two lanes with many obstacles, including parked cars, tricycle terminals, street vendors, bystanders, and occasional trucks and pick-ups on the road. The Navara handles everything well. Parking is also not an issue thanks to the sensors and cameras available on the Navara. This is one of my concerns because I’ve never driven a car taller and wider than a sedan.
The suspension takes a day or two to get used to. Since it is a pick-up, it is meant to carry heavy loads. During our trip to Lake Mapanuepe, it effectively absorbed bumps and uneven surfaces making the ride comfortable. This helps us take advantage of the 4×4 capability and the 450 Nm of torque.
When it comes to acceleration, the Navara delivers smooth and brisk acceleration, making highway merges and overtaking a breeze. I was able to take advantage of its cruise control feature in NLEX/SCTEX but I wish it had adaptive. I liked that I was able to rest my feet on the trip, I just wasn’t used to it. Although it has Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Emergency BrakingI still don’t want to rely too much on technology and manage it myself.
Fuel consumption during my time in the Navara was around 8-9km/litre in our daily home and office driving and an average of 17-19km/litre in SCTEX and NLEX.
The Nissan Navara left me wanting to get a pick-up. I’m actually not a fan of it, but the Navara leaves a good impression. It has the comfort of driving a sedan and the luxury of having a big car that can crash your way through floods and challenging terrain. Its security features make it very attractive especially to those who have not managed wider, longer, and more powerful cars.
It is true that pick-ups are made to carry heavy loads, but lately, more and more people are buying them for camping purposes. The Nissan Navara offers a solid combination of performance, comfort, and security that makes it a viable choice for a pick-up. It will appeal to a wide range of users, from business needing a capable work vehicle, to outdoor enthusiasts.
The Nissan Navara VL AT 4×4 will be priced at PHP 1.701M just short of the PHP110k Pro-4X AT 4×4 at PHP1.811M