By Junior Gaya
Crown Motors under its Nissan Kenya subsidiary officially launched the 2021 Nissan Navara. The Nissan Navara is built in Africa and is designed and equipped to tackle Kenya’s rugged terrain. What most are and will ask is whether it can take on the competition in a market that Toyota dominates with its Hilux, Isuzu is fighting for with its D-Max and Ford is captivating a followership with the indomitable Ranger.
Having been introduced slightly over thirty years ago with a bulky face and somewhat surprising 4×4 capability with competitive pricing, the Navara has always been a viable option in the pick-up segment where durability, reliability and versatility are key but also safety, comfort and driving pleasure are expected features.
The all-new Navara includes something Nissan calls V-Motion identity, redesigned wheels and increased bed height, and new LED headlamps and foglamps – all built to allow for increased drive ability and ease of use.
With an athletic stance that is immediately noticeable with its bonnet creases and bulging fenders, the all new Navara boasts an edgy and very appealing design theme. This is enhanced with matte black details around the edges of the grille, front bumper, side mirrors and side steps and not forgetting the orange accents.
The two-tone styling also makes its way into the cabin. On the high spec model, contrast stitching is visible on the highly supportive leather seats, using orange inserts, which is also the theme on the steering wheel and door trim.
Interior upgrades would not be complete without an update to the multimedia interface and Nissan made sure to include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support to meet all the needs of the would-be drivers and passengers opting for the Navara. No interface would be worth its salt without access to Google Maps – which in today’s world comes quite in handy whilst traversing Nairobi’s ever-growing road network or attacking the bundu’s upcountry, at the touch of a button.
To make it all better and safer, the system also features voice recognition plus Bluetooth, USB and SD Card support. Particular models come with up to four USB ports, including two quick-charging ports, and three 12V power outlets – so your devices never run out of juice. Two devices can be connected to Bluetooth at once, which is handy if you carry a phone and a tablet or have kids who like to take audio control from the rear.
The Navara also gains dual-zone air-con, with additional vents for rear passengers in the double cab, meaning that everyone on board should be satisfied with the cabin’s temperature. Meanwhile, heated side mirrors and rain sensors ensure visibility remains uncompromised even in extreme conditions.
Powering the all new Navara is Nissan’s tried, tested and very reliable 2.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which Nissan says caters to its customers’ requirements for low running costs, reliability and performance. It churns out 140 kW of power and 450 Nm of torque on higher grade models: the LE and PRO-4X models, whilst partnered with a 7-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic.
For the labour yearning drivers, a 6-speed manual gearbox is available for the local market. The Navara is available in three models in Kenya: PRO-4X, LE and XE. The mid-spec workhorse on the XE delivers 120 kW and 403 Nm, which Nissan claims to be the most powerful engine in the entry and mid grades pick-up segment. In addition, the Navara engine line-up includes a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that punches out 118 kW and 233 Nm, as of time of press, word whether or not this engine would make its way into the Kenyan market was still a matter to be decided.
Power is directed to all four wheels via Nissan’s 4×4 on the fly system that has several modes to keep one moving no matter the terrain, especially now with the unpredictable weather. Making things better, the system comes with rear differential lock for easy off-road driving. For manual transmission models, a new 1st gear ratio improves acceleration response and eases uphill starts, they say. When four-wheel drive mode is engaged, traction is distributed evenly (50:50) to all four wheels to prevent tyre slip in severe conditions.
The Navara comes loaded with an array of safety technology from ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), 6 airbags and a 5-Star EuroNCAP safety cabin that will keep occupants very safe and comfortable from the elements. Hill Start-Assist is an additional offering plus Hill Descent-Assist.
The inclusion of Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) makes this range the most technologically advanced Navara yet – and the safest too, they say. Intelligent driving aids can be paired with additional driver assistance tools that help you see more, sense more and take swifter action, a sub-Saharan marketing blurb reads. One particular feature is Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, which monitors sudden movements of up to two vehicles ahead and alerts the driver of potential collision risks. This complements the Intelligent Emergency Braking feature, which will activate the Navara’s brakes autonomously in case of no brake pedal input from the driver to avoid collisions.
For road trips and lengthy commutes, the Navara’s Intelligent Driver Alertness supports safety and convenience with both visual and audible alerts that encourage the driver to take a break when it detects changes in driving style. For night driving, Intelligent High Beam Assist automatically switches headlights to low beam from high beam when it detects an oncoming vehicle. Further features warn drivers if they stray outside their lane without signaling and detect vehicles in the blind spot area when changing lanes.
The Navara’s Intelligent Around View Monitor uses four cameras to help drivers spot people and cars surrounding the vehicle, and is also useful for trailer hitching. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers of potential collisions when reversing too. Rounding out this emphasis on safety are additional side and curtain airbags – bringing the total to seven on High-Spec models.
What captures the most attention is the Navara’s 3 year/100,000 Km warranty plus a 2 year/50,000 Km service plan as standard to give any potential buyer peace of mind and push them in the right direction to purchase. With the Navara’s proven chassis, strong engines, high safety features and Nissan’s pedigree over the decades, this all new Navara has made a great leap to take on the three dominant models in a segment that is growing in popularity locally and in a market where a sizeable of motorist also use pickups, especially double cabs, for saloon motoring.
To round up this impressive package, Nissan’s engineers have included the Follow Me Home feature on the new LED headlamps, Door Puddle Lamp to help you see the ground when you step out of this beautiful workhorse at night and auto door locks on the high-end models.
Visit Nissan Kenya for more details on the versions available locally, both in single- and double-cab iterations.