By: Natasha Archary
It’s been a while since a Nissan captivated my attention. Not since I was on the search for an SUV and the X-Trail 2016 was on my list. Two years later and cue a breathless first glimpse of the Nissan Navara 2.3D LE AT DC (Automatic Transmission Double Cab).
But good looks alone won’t cut it in a tough economic environment and the Navara is competitive with huge numbers in sales since its launch in 2017. It still has a way to go edging out the increasingly popular Ford Ranger WildTrack and Toyota Hilux it seems. With sales figures for those respective brands dominating the market in March 2018.
That said, the Nissan Navara is still fairly impressive with superb build quality, fuel efficiency and some top-end features in the LE range.
What we like about the Nissan Navara 2.3D LE AT DC
It’s like Nissan fused the raw demand of a bakkie with the comfort and luxury of a high-end SUV. A sexy beast all its own with groundbreaking 5-link coil rear suspension system, the Navara dominates the road whilst sipping on fuel.
The powerful twin-turbo diesel engine pushes 140KW and 450NM of torque. Tie that in with a smooth 7-speed automatic transmission and you have an effortless drive. The Nissan brand has been trusted in the country for more than 80 years and that still stands.
The specifications with the LE version are impressive and include a multitude of internal and external aesthetic and luxurious features. This includes heated front seats, roof rails, leather seats, 18-inch alloys and the innovative Utili-track system.
Most double-cabs today have become bulky and make maneuvering tricky, not the Navara. With its intuitive Around View Monitor (AVM), the Navara is a cinch to park. The smart auto-dimming, rearview mirror, which reduces glare from headlights, needs a mention, especially for those with light sensitivity such as myself. So thank you Nissan, I noticed the difference.
In this day and age with just about everyone smartphone-geared, the standard TomTom navigation system is a nice incentive. Requiring no data, it location tracks perfectly.
What we don’t like?
The infotainment system is pretty standard with the absence of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I found the touch-screen navigation not quite user-friendly for my always-manicured fingers. Reach adjustability for the steering column should have been considered.
The Navara does tick a lot of boxes for me from design to performance but cabin execution is something I found pretty frustrating. Of course, I could just be nitpicking at this point but legroom at the rear is average. I also didn’t like the front console area near the gears. A gripped surface area may have been a nice addition to prevent cellphones and belongings from gliding all over the place.
It’s not that I dislike the advanced drive assist display. What I didn’t like is the dated speedometer. The entire display could have been integrated digitally for a more modern drive experience.
Is that it?
No. There are many other impressive things to note about the Nissan Navara LE Auto; storage for one. A thoughtfully designed interior means everything’s in its place with ample storage room under the rear seats, side door pockets, deep center console and generous glove compartment. There are also three charging sockets at your disposal.
With 7 airbags in total, the Navara is more than a pretty face. An engine immobiliser means peace of mind. The engine will be disabled unless your electronically coded key is in the ignition.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)– is smart technology that sends extra force to the rear brakes if additional weight in the loadbay is detected.
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)– this safety feature monitors your steering, braking and vehicle’s stability and will, if needed, reduce engine output and apply brake pressure to specific wheels in order to keep you on the intended path.
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) –prevents wheels from locking under hard braking making for quicker stop time and enabling you to quickly steer around obstacles.
Traction Control System (TCS) –assists you to keep a better grip on the road. Sensing when a drive wheel starts to slip, the feature reduces engine power or applies brake pressure to help restore traction control.
Check the specs
The Nissan Navara 2.3D LE 4X4 AT DC (Automatic Transmission Double Cab) retails from R626 500. With an engine capacity of 2298cc, 140KW and 450NM of torque you can expect 7l/100km. Core emissions are at 186g/km and overall emissions level sits at Euro 5.
It comes standard with a Nissan service plan: 3 Year/90 000km and a warranty: 6 Year/150 000km.
If you feel the top of the range 2.3D LE 4X4 AT DC is a bit out of your price range, the Navara 2.3D SE 4X2 MT DC may be a more competitively priced option. Retailing from R484 900.
Overall, the Navara is a stunning beast and I thoroughly enjoyed ripping into her. You can customise your ride according to your specifications and budget with a pretty impressive range of approved Nissan accessories and aesthetic packs. I wouldn’t mind the 2.3D 4X4 AT DC standard. Santa, if you’re listening, I’ve been a semi-good girl this year.