The 2021 Nissan Navara is worth looking at

You ask which bakkies are popular in the South African market, you will probably get a list that includes the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, and Volkswagen Amarok. The Nissan Navara has been here since 2017, but it didn’t get the due attention for some reasons. However, we believe it will change once the locally-assembled and extensively updated Navara hits the dealerships in June.

Instead of importing from Thailand, Nissan is now building the Navara in Africa for Africa. For this purpose, the company has invested R3-billion in its Rosslyn facility with plans to add 1,200 new jobs. With 30,000 annual production volume, the bakkie will not only meet the needs of the South African market but also the rest of the continent. 

Besides cutting down its cost in production, Nissan has made sure the 2021 Navara is a better bakkie than the previous models. The new pickup truck not only features sharp styling and advanced tech, but also gets a host of updates under the skin.

What has changed?

When Nissan introduced the Navara in 2017, its best-selling point was its coil-spring independent rear suspension. Nissan used it to provide a comfier ride compared to what drivers experience in bakkies employing the rear leaf springs. The big players leading the sales like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger both were using rear leaf spring. The result was a better-than-average ride. 

For the new 2021 Navara, Nissan has changed the chassis and adjusted the suspension to make the drive even more superior. The changes include a new chassis with modified mountings for fewer vibrations, better shock absorber damping, and a new dual-rate five-link coil suspension. All these inclusions deliver a smoother ride on rough tracks and rippled gravel.

In independent test drives, drivers have experienced a more secure and rattle-resistant drive, with lesser noise. The steering response is now lighter with a quicker turning ratio. It enhances the driving experience, especially while carrying heavy luggage. 

Nissan has also augmented the bakkie’s payload capacity by 100kg thanks to a toughened rear axle and improved height of the load box.

The power comes from a 2.3L twin turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine pumping out 140kW and 450Nm of torque instead of the old 2.5L diesel turbo-four creating the same output. Nissan didn’t tell why they changed the engine since both produce the same horsepower and torque. The engine mates to the same old seven-speed automatic gearbox. 

Of note, the 140kW engine is available for the Navara automatic trucks. The manual models employ the 2.5L diesel detuned to offer 120kW and 403Nm. That said, the high-spec LE manual models still use the 140kW powerplant.

Nissan has introduced a range of styling and tech features for the new Navara, giving an upscale cabin feel. Nissan’s bakkie is now also accessible in a single cab layout, which employs leaf spring rear suspension instead of the coil springs available in the comfort-focused double cabs.

Surprisingly, the updated Navara comes with a lower price tag with costs reducing between 4.4% and 11.5% across the range, except the new range-topping variants, the Pro-2X 4x2 and Pro-4X 4x4, which are more expensive than the previous top-of-the-line variants. The single-cab Navara starts at R311,000, while the double-cab costs R474,000. Tick all boxes and the bakkie will set you back more than R740,000. (Prices correct at time of publication.)

If you love bakkies as much as we do, be sure to keep an eye on the MotorHappy blog. We regularly review some of the latest cars driving on SA’s roads. 


Please note the imagery supplied in this blog was taken off 

Previous Article

Car hijacking hotspots and trends   

Next Article

The 2021 Suzuki Swift: A facelift and added safety features

Need more help?

We're here to help.
Your privacy is important to us. To demonstrate our commitment, please refer to the MotorHappy notification which communicates how we process your personal information to comply with legislation.
Related Article