Motoring | Road Tests
Jaco Van Der Merwe
Since its local debut a few months ago, the new Nissan Navara has lived up to the high expectations created by an extended period of tease and promise by the Japanese carmaker.
Sporting extensive suspension upgrades, a tweaked engine line-up, a magnitude of trim levels, three body style options, competitive price points, attractive looks, modern cabin and top-notch safety features, it ticks all the boxes.
As colleague Charl Bosch also recently found out during a bit of bush-whacking, the Rosslyn-assembled new Nissan Navara is extremely capable off the tarmac.
ALSO READ: Off-Road: New Nissan Navara throws punch at Hilux and Ranger
But bakkie buyers forking out amounts in excess of half a million rand mostly use their cars for both leisure and commercial purposes, if not mostly for leisure. And those hauling caravans and loading mountainbikes over weekends often want more than just good looks and off-road capabilities. Oomph.
If the new Nissan Navara has aspirations of the high regard it was once in on the South African bakkie landscape, it needs to at least be on par with the Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger in the power department. So there was only one thing left for us to do when we recently had the new Navara on test. Pit it against the clock.
Our test car’s full title was the Navara 2.5 double cab Pro-2X, which, at R686 000, is the range’s flagship 4×2 model. As its name points out, power comes via a 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine that sends 140 kW of power and 450 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The Citizen’s historic bakkie road test data is quite interesting. Double cabs are split into two categories: the V6 Volkswagen Amarok and the rest. The Amarok, first in 165 kW and currently in 190 kW guise, has proved itself as somewhat of the GTI of bakkies in Mzansi.
The 190 kW derivative recently bettered its 165 kW predecessor’s 0 to 100 km/h sprint time from 8.67 seconds to a remarkable 8.19 seconds. There’s no doubt that it’s in a league of its own in terms of performance, it comes at a premium as the flagship model has a seven-digit price tag.
On to the rest then, and here we have a major logjam. The Ford Ranger in Wildtrak in 3.2 TDCI 4×4 auto guise recorded a time of 12.34 seconds in our 0 to 100 km/t sprint test, giving it a slight edge over its 2.0 bi-turbo sibling’s best time of 12.45 seconds.
Wedged in between the two Rangers is the Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Legend RS 4×4 sporting the powered-up 150 kW mill. The Hilux managed to clock 12.38 seconds from a standstill to 100 km/h.
So what was the outcome of the new Nissan Navara’s test? The bottom line shows that it edged both the Ranger and Hilux by taking 12.19 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h. But the insights on either side of this number are fascinating.
A breakdown of the time it takes to reach each increment of 20 km/h from a standstill clearly shows that the new Navara starts the race like a bat out of hell. It then manages decent momentum through to 100 km/h, but from there runs out of puff to such an extent that it is choking on its rivals’ fumes by the time it reaches 140 km/h.
The torque-happy Navara shoots out the blocks to reach 20km/h in an astounding 0.91 seconds. To put this into perspective, the 3.2 TDCI Ranger does it in 1.2, the 2.0 bi-turbo Ranger in 1.56 and the Hilux in all of 2.0!
Quite incredibly, the Navara’s time is enough not to only pip the 190 kW Amarok (0.96) off the line. It just missed out on scalping the impressive Golf 8 GTI, which did it in 0.88 seconds.
After 100 km/h, things go pear-shaped for the Navara. And quite quickly too, especially once the heavier Hilux’s turbo starts kicking in properly. The Navara takes almost six seconds to go from 100 km/h to 120 km/h, getting there in 18.11 seconds. In comparison, the Hilux reached in 120 km/h in 16.62 and the 3.2 TDCI Ranger in 17.55.
At 140 km/h, the Hilux is long gone in 23.18 seconds, followed by the 3.2 TDCI Ranger in 24.83 and only then the new Nissan Navara at 26.10, slightly ahead of the 2.0 bi-turbo Ranger (26.81).
Interestingly, in accelerating from 80 to 120 km/h, a range where in most overtaking will take place, the Navara (9.59) is on par with the Ranger pair, the 2.0 bi-turbo (9.74) and 3.2 TDCI (9.98). At 7.92 seconds the Hilux is streets ahead.
What the numbers confirm is that the new Navara is statistically faster over the traditional 0 to 100 km/h benchmark sprint than Mzansi’s most popular bakkies. But while there is very little between the lot in that particular column, the new Navara’s number is the result of a balance between being stupidly quick off the mark and running out of steam deeper into the pull.
The engine’s performance shows that the new Nissan Navara has announced itself as a proper player in the bakkie game, ready to tackle the big guns. This means that those buyers undecided on which brand to buy will have a much bigger headache.
For more information on the new Nissan Navara, click here.