“Let the truck war begin,” stated a visually gleaming Antonio ‘Toti’ Zara, Nissan Philippines’s President and Managing Director. He has every reason to be ecstatic. Just a few seconds before marching up the stage, he literally pulled it, band and all, using the all-new Nissan NP300 Navara. The rock concert theatrics isn’t new (Ford pulled the same feat with the Ranger back in 2002), but Mr. Zara’s warning shot against the competition is well-founded: Nissan is bring its big guns to the fight.
With over 80 years of experience in the pick-up truck genre, the all-new NP300 Navara (yes, that’s the full and formal name) is the twelfth generation model that comes to war with a tougher body and smarter features than ever before.
“Every day at Nissan, we challenge ourselves with possibility to make good products, even better. Trucks are definitely tough, that is a given, but what sets us apart, is that we redefined Tough and we equipped it with innovation that makes it Smart. The All-New NP300 Navara is the truck that will make you proud no matter what the situation, be it a rough road drive or a relaxed cruise in the city,” proclaims Mr. Zara.
From the company that pioneered segment-first technologies such as a 3.0-liter diesel (3.2-liter to be exact) and a 6-speed manual, the all-new NP300 Navara carries that innovative tradition. Under the hood comes the next-generation 2.5-liter YD25 DDTi 4-cylinder engine. Packing a variable-geometry turbo across the line, the NP300 Navara produces muscular numbers: 190 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque or 163 horsepower and 403 Nm of torque depending on the model. The burlier engine, reserved for 4x4 variants, has the most power and torque output per liter of displacement in its class. Mated to either engine is a choice between a manual or automatic transmission. Customers opting for three pedals get standard 6-speed boxes while those who prefer the convenience of an automatic get the benefit of 7 forward gears with manual override.
The engine forms just a part of the NP300 Navara power formula. Underneath, it rides on a full-length, fully-boxed frame that adds torsional rigidity adding to its toughness and durability. At the back, it swaps the traditional leaf spring suspension for a more sophisticated five-link with coil spring and stabilizer bar set-up. This makes for a smooth and effortless performance whatever the condition, whatever the terrain. Indeed, this is one pick-up that will impress even your mother-in-law. And don’t worry. According to Nissan, the swap to the more sophisticated suspension has no detriments to the NP300 Navara’s payload and towing capacity: 1,000-kg and 3,500-kg respectively.
Enveloping this tough and smart drivetrain is a sportier and more developed body. Carrying the distinctive Nissan styling DNA on its shoulder, the NP300 Navara carries motifs such as the “V-motion” grille successfully. The angular lines carry to the headlights that now come with LED daytime running lights with the segment’s first LED headlights (for VL models). At the side, the high beltline and blacked B-pillar accentuates the prominent and towering stance (overall height is 1,840-mm) while two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels with 255/60R18 tires create a truly tasty look. At the back, a rear camera peeks through near the black tailgate handle (VL models) while the standard rear spoiler cuts aerodynamic drag making this one slippery truck (0.375 co-efficient of drag).
Inside, the NP300 Navara eschews all forms of angularity for one that’s organic and comfort-centric. In certain instances, you can actually mistake it for a passenger car. The all-black color scheme is dominated by three-dimensional surfaces which lends a feeling of space. Front and center to the driver is a new instrument cluster panel using Nissan’s Fine Vision technology. This enables the driver to read through a multitude of information and menus in an easy-to-read and concise manner. The front passengers are treated to NASA-inspired Zero Gravity Seats (standard on the Altima executive sedan and X-Trail crossover) that reduce fatigue by distributing body pressure evenly across the seating surface. There’s excellent comfort on the go as well with blower vents for the rear passengers. There’s also a ton of infotainment functions including CD, MP3, USB, and even Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free telephony. The sound is channeled through a 6-speaker system.
The go-anywhere, do-anything attitude of the NP300 Navara may sound like an adrenaline junkies’ dream, but thankfully, it comes loaded with all sorts of features to keep you safe without sacrificing performance. Aside from the aforementioned rear camera, it comes with dual SRS airbags, VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), TCS (Traction Control System), ABLS (Active Brake Limited Slip), HSA (Hill Start Assist), and HDC (Hill Descent Control). Tough, smart, and indeed, safe as well.
Nissan Philippines is aiming squarely at becoming a major player in the pick-up truck market, with a target set at no less than third in the segment (300-400 unit sales per month). With the Frontier now biting the dust (halleluiah), the NP300 Navara is now the company’s sole pick-up whether you’re a fleet or private customer. It comes in four shades: Savanna Orange, Galaxy Black, Brilliant Silver, and Alpine White. And in order to properly compete, the company is offering this pick-up with a huge price spread:
- P 1,490,000 for the 4x4 VL 7-Speed,
- P 1,421,000 for 4x4 VL 6-speed M/T,
- P 1,256,000 for 4x4 EL 6-speed M/T,
- P 1,108,000 for 4x2 EL 7-speed A/T Calibre,
- P 1,038,000 for 4x2 EL 6-speed M/T Calibre,
- P 938,000 for 4x2 6-speed M/T Calibre
- P 898,000 for the 4x2 6-Speed M/T.