Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted June 30, 2008 00:00
The next Frontier in pickups
The Navara is based on the Nissan F-Alpha platform which is shared with the Titan, XTerra, Pathfinder, Armada and the Infiniti QX56, hence the similarities in looks. The sharp front-end design of the Navara brings out a very commanding look, exuding respect on the road from even larger vehicles. In the size department, the Navara has the longest wheelbase among its competitors at 3200mm (about 4.5 to 5-inches longer on average). Sixteen-inch alloy wheels coupled with 255/70 R16 all-terrain tires are standard equipment for the 4x4 variants. The overall styling veers more into the lifestyle department where utility is mixed with aesthetics.
The new interior follows on the new Nissan design concept featuring neatly laid out controls on the dashboard. The tan color however could have been replaced with grey or black for maintenance purposes as it easily gets dirty due to its light shade. It is still however, a day and night improvement from the old trucky interior of its predecessor. It also comes with several compartments for whatever you can think of, and plenty of drink holders for the long haul. The well cushioned and contoured leather seats are not only comfortable on long drives but also hold the driver in place on uneven roads or spirited driving moments. The rear passengers get a more relaxed seating angle and also get a generous amount of legroom thanks to the longer wheelbase. Factory audio system is an integrated 2-DIN radio with CD-player.
The engine department is something which the Navara can certainly be proud of. The powerhouse YD25DDTi leads in performance figures compared to its competitors' 3.0-liter and 3.2-liter engine variants. The high output 2.5-liter turbo-intercooled CRDi engine boasts a maximum power output of 174ps@4000rpm and a maximum torque of 403Nm@2000rpm. Based on actual driving, acceleration is indeed astounding being carlike in some way. This vehicle comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission which had gear ratios matched well with the engine. The transmission also shifted smoothly with minimal jerking and stayed well within the powerband between gears. Standard for the 4WD variants also is a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) which properly distributes power to the wheels in difficult to manage terrain. Four-wheel drive engagement is done via a control knob conveniently located just below the air-condition controls.
In the chassis department, the unique 8-cross member ladder frame provides added rigidity for durability and stability. It also contributes to better handling as tested by this writer on a spirited highway drive. The suspension is comprised of an independent front suspension with coil springs and extended rear leaf springs which effectively increase load capacity and ride comfort with better weight distribution.
For cargo hauling, a drop-in bedliner comes standard as well as rubber linings on the rear bumper to prevent scratches from loading and unloading cargo. Safety-wise, passive safety is provided by the Zone Body Concept and side impact beams. The large side mirrors also add to safety especially when maneuvering through tight roads and traffic. While active safety features come in the form of anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution.
All these considered make the Navara a truly great package. It's definitely a big headache for the competition. It might as well be what it is being touted as in its billboard along EDSA with all its unique features.