Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) has studied the market well by optimizing the Filipino’s needs in function and price range in their model line-up. The all-new Nissan Navara NP300 comes in two drive trains: 4×4 and 4×2. The top tier 4×4 VL comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission (priced at P1.53 million) or six-speed manual transmission (P1.44 million) and is powered by 2.5-liter CRDi engine with variable geometry turbocharger that produces 190 PS (about 187 horsepower) at 3,600 revolutions per minute and 450 Newton-meters of torque at 2,000 rpm.
The second-tier 4×2 EL Calibre comes with a seven-speed A/T (P1.130 million) or six-speed MT (P1.059 million) and the third-tier 4×2 Calibre has a six-speed M/T while the 4×2 variant has a six-speed M/T. They are all powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged CRDi engine that produces 163 PS (about 160 hp) at 3,600 rpm and 402 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Form and function
The term “off-road,” according to 4×4 enthusiasts, denotes going off-the-(highway) road, passing through rough terrains, muddy pool ruts and river crossings that are normally done in the outskirts of the city. Well now, one does not have to veer far, because our metropolis and cities also have that familiar terrain in some areas. Living in the central business district of Metro Manila and having a farm in the Batangas region, our new pick-up truck will be travelling 80 percent of the time off-roading, both urban and rural, and 20 percent along the highway. Having carefully studied the NP300 Navara selections in relation to purpose and affordability, the top-of–the-line 4×4 VL seven-speed A/T was the perfect choice for our requirements.
The dealership to choose would either be nearest your residence or whose owner you know. Luckily my partner, Wilson Lei, who is part of the sibling team that also counts Tina Lei, are the owners of Nissan UN Avenue, one of the oldest car dealerships in Manila. It formed a franchise dealership in 1977 for Datsun by Universal Motors Corporation. Broadway Motors, which is behind Nissan UN Avenue, has been acknowledged as “Nissan Pioneer Dealer’’ with 37 years of partnership in the Philippines. Through the years of diversified marketing and services, the recognition of being “ The Most Outstanding Dealership’’ has been numerously awarded. So I’m in good hands.
There are many ways to purchase a vehicle: straight-out cash; in-house financing; or through your preferred bank. In our case, we applied for a car loan of P1 million at BPI tens months ago, with an interest rate of 9.44 percent. The balance minus discounts, insurance of P50,000 and three years registration of P10,500 were the initial payments made. Basic computation of the P1-million loan for 36 months at 9.44-percent interest is P32,003 a month multiplied by 36 months, so the interest adds up to P152,108.00. Add that to the principal of P1 million and we arrive a P1.152 million that is added to the total deposits, and we arrive at the overall payment made. Having reserved early, we were able to get the introductory price given by NPI. Unfortunately, we still had to wait three months because of bulk orders and earlier reservations made. Allocation of units was spread out among dealerships around the entire Philippines, so can you imagine the (good) problem NPI had to go through.
Break-in and Service Procedures
Finally after following up on our reservation, the friendly staff of Nissan UN Avenue gave me a call to come over to pick up our new pick-up. Prior to that, all the documents needed to be in order and free accessories such as tint, seat covers, floor mats, back-up sensors and plastic bed cover were all installed. While the paper work was being signed off, we were given a checklist to run through, including all the features the new NP300 Navara had to offer.
First impressions – the high-hood designs on the sides may constrain visibility in tight spaces. But what you would never expect is, you’re sitting inside a pick-up truck. Layout of the dash and materials used, though still very “plasticky,” are almost well-sorted and suited for a premium SUV. Excitedly, our first road trip was toward the north, immediately racking 250 kilometers following my strict rule of “patience is a virtue.” When new, all the engine components are still tight and need time to loosen up with friction and heat cycles. Keeping the revs low or not beyond 2,000 rpm while gradually building up speed, and playing with the speedometer between 60-80 kilometers per hour and 80-100 kph in any order were the things to remember. By not running at a constant speed, you properly loosen up the piston rings, valve seats and bearings. You properly break in these components together for better fuel efficiency, constant power output and extended engine life.
Three weeks in, 1,000 kilometers have been clocked in the odometer, so it was time for the required service check up. Just next to the Nissan UN Avenue show room, I drive in the NP300 for my scheduled appointment. Without any complaints to report, I get shocking news from the service advisor – they informed me after signing the job order, I can get the pick-up in 30 minutes. Wow!? Normally, the labor charge at the first 1,000 kilometers and 5,000 kilometers are free, but you pay for consumables like oil, oil filter and miscellaneous effects. With the new NP300 Navara, the factory requires owners to change the oil at 10,000 kilometers. So I saved P5,000 to P6,000 on oil and oil filters. Talk about being environmental friendly and economical in terms of time and money. Kudos Nissan engineers for that and I hope all manufacturers will follow suit. After having free breakfast for being early for my appointment, my only expense was a car wash.
So far, so good for a CBU (complete-build-up) unit from Thailand, the all-new NP300 Navara still has remnants of being a pick-up truck… that it still is… but tries not to be. It is pick-up truck in SUV clothing.