Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI), the distributor of Nissan passenger vehicles in the country, recently brought a group of local motoring reporters to Thailand for a sneak peak of the all-new Nissan Navarra. The all-new Navarra promises to raise the bar of pickup ownership in the local market.
Being a key market for Nissan, Thailand was selected to host its production plant that will manufacture the new-generation NP300 Navara for export to 45 countries around the world. Nissan now has two plants and an R&D facility in Thailand, and is increasing in importance as the company’s Asian hub for exports and manufacturing.
Nissan has invested 3.7 billion Thai Baht in the 580,000 square meter facility, bringing with it 2,000 new job opportunities. Full production capacity is expected to reach 150,000 units per annum.
The all-new Nissan Navara boasts of a sportier and more emotional design expression while maintaining Nissan’s distinctive design DNA. The view from the side is marked by the smooth silhouette thanks to the high beltline and blacked B-pillar, which gives the Navara its unique character. The door section with dynamic convex and concave surface boldly expresses its energetic and dependable appearance along with the massively sculpted fenders. Nissan’s signature “V-motion” motif flows from the grille and into the hood through to the front fender, giving a smooth and dynamic character line.
Inside, Nissan engineers styled the dashboard featuring a gentle sweep from the center panel to the door side with three-dimensional rich sections in order to offer a feeling of spaciousness.
The Navara’s powertrain boasts of improved performance, with reduced fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a dynamic control braking system that makes for a leader in segment performance. Engine options have been developed for best in class fuel efficiency and emissions ratings, yet with impressive power output and acceleration. Models come equipped with improved versions of Nissan’s 2.5-liter DOHC in-line 4-cylinder Diesel engine or 2.5-liter in-line 4-cylinder Gasoline engine. The new 2.5-liter DOHC in-line 4-cylinder Diesel engine features maximum power of 140kW and 120kW at 3600rpm, maximum torque of 450Nm and 403Nm at 2000rpm, and higher boost from a turbocharger with electrical actuator. Fuel economy has been improved by as much as 11% over the previous model.
The 4WD variant is equipped with a shift-on-the-fly system, allowing drivers to engage the 4WD while the vehicle is in motion. The VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) system helps improve 4×4 driving performance and safety, along with ABLS (Active Brake Limited Slip), HSA (Hill Start Assist) and HDC (Hill Descent Control).
The all-new Navara’s transmission options include a seven-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmission. The seven-speed automatic provides for low fuel consumption at slow speeds as well as better acceleration, expanded gear ratio for wider range of speeds, and smooth acceleration and shifting. The six-speed manual features enhanced fuel efficiency from low to high gear, while its optimized shift stroke makes for quick and effortless gear changes.
The all-new Navarra is bristling with state-of-the-art onboard electronics. The top-of-the-line model gets a multimedia player with steeringwheel-mounted controls for safe, hands-on driving.
In the interest of safety and ease of operations, the top spec vehicle is equipped with the following features: All ABS-system based components: from Dynamic Stability Control that stabilises the vehicle during high speed turns; Electronic Traction Control that gives optimum tire traction on the most slippery of roads–both on and off road for the 4WD variants; Hill descend control, a feature on the 4WD variant that enables the driver to drive down the vehicle from a steep slope without stepping on the brakes is also available; the hill launch assist–when the vehicle is hanging on a slope, it will hold its position until the driver accelerates from the hanging position.
You may think that all of these features can be found on other makes, but here is the real game changer; all Navara variants for the Philippine market will be equipped with a multi-link coil spring suspension on the rear axle. Yes, coil springs. Gone are the century old design of cart-leaf-springs that used to be the norm on utility vehicles. The coil springs promise to give the Navarra the best-in-class ride quality, laden or not.
I can hear the concerns of old school types who says that system would impair the Navara’s load bearing capacity. Little do they know that the Land Rover Defender and the Mercedes Benz Gelandewagen, two utility vehicles used as the backbone of several armies around the world, have been equipped with coil springs in the rear axles for the longest time, and that they have been tried and tested in performing heavy utility roles.
Thailand and Australia will get the old leaf-spring-based Navara variant. The Philippines, however, is truly blessed as it gets the new coil-spring based model.
NPI has a lot of expectations for the new Navarra and expects this vehicle to play a major role in its push for increased market share. Judging from what we have seen, it promises to deliver.