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JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – It's interesting how often staff members in the CAR magazine office seem to require a bakkie for a day or two, be it for a trip to the local nursery, some weekend renovation work or simply to transport a few bulky items.

Thing is, the situations outlined above don't actually require four-wheel drive (except, of course, should the plans somehow include transversing challenging terrain). We headed to Johannesburg to sample a base Nissan Navara (in 4x2 guise) that slots into this very category.


Nissan’s entry-level Navara double-cab (in SE specification; read our road test of the higher-spec model here) is priced at R484 900. Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, it sends its torque exclusively to the rear wheels. Up front is the only engine offered in the local range, a 2,3-litre turbodiesel unit delivering 140 kW and 450 N.m.

As with other Navara variants, this model is fitted with seven airbags, ABS brakes and an electronic stability programme. Although the seats are trimmed in cloth (interestingly, it feels almost like a pseudo-Alcantara material) rather than leather, they are very comfortable.

The standard features list includes three handy 12V sockets as well as USB, aux-in and SD card slots. In typical Nissan fashion, the steering wheel has only minor rake (and no reach) adjustment. Although the infotainment system works well, the satellite navigation is at times slow to respond (we ended up using Google Maps on a smartphone instead).

Behind the wheel

We drove through various parts of Gauteng, sampling both perfectly smooth asphalt as well as some very rough sections. In short, the Navara delivered a settled ride regardless of the surface (this can be partly attributed to the 16-inch wheels wrapped in fat 255/70 rubber). That said, there remains a firm element to the suspension.

I was surprised to experience how eager this turbodiesel revs to its redline (around 4 500 r/min) in the first few gears. There's almost none of that asthmatic feeling towards the end of the rev range that you sometimes experience with oil-burners. The six-speed gearbox is simple to use, with longer throws than, for example, a Volkswagen Amarok.

At 1,87 metres and seated behind my own driving position, I found acceptable headroom (my hair just touching the roof lining) and enough legroom, the latter aided by the fact the rear of the front seats are indented. It's also useful to have an electric rear window back there.


Apart from offering everything you would expect from an entry-level double-cab bakkie, this Navara is also rather well priced. For example, the Toyota Hilux in similar spec (the 2,8-litre GD-6 Raider) will set you back R534 900. Turn to Volkswagen, and the lower-powered entry-level Amarok Comfortline (103 kW/340 N.m) costs R525 900, with the 132 kW/400 N.m version rising to R562 500 (the latter with only four airbags).

Ultimately, the Navara rides well, boasts a strong engine and, in rear-drive form, exhibits a lightness (for a bakkie, at least) from behind the wheel that the heavier all-wheel-drive models simply can't replicate. It's hard to fault ... and if you're unlikely to often require a 4x4 system, it's a vehicle you should certainly consider.

Latest Resutls for Nissan Navara

Full Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Leather upholstery: Optional
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Driver knee airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 7
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: 3 rear
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear + loadbay
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Park distance control PDC: rear camera
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 1270 km
  • Driven wheels: rear
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 6
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Diff lock: electronic rear
  • Front tyres: 255/70 R16
  • Reartyres: 255/70 R16
  • Spare wheel size full: Standard
  • Length: 5255 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1850 mm
  • Height: 1830 mm
  • Wheel base: 3150 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 226 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 12.4 m
  • Approach angle: 33
  • Break over ramp angle: 25.2
  • Departure angle: 27.9
  • Load volume / capacity: 1111 litre L
  • Load volume / capacity: 1111 litre L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1774 kg
  • Load carrying capacity / payload: 1072
  • Gross weight (GVM): 2910 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 750
  • Towing capacity - braked: 3500
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 80l
  • Fuel consumption average: 6.3 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 166g/km
  • Emission control phase Euro EU level: 5
  • Power maximum: 140 kW
  • Power maximum total: 140 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3750 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 79 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 450 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1500-2500 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 450 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 253.7 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: n/as
  • Maximum top speed: n/a km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 2298 cc
  • Engine size: 2.3l
  • enginedetailshort: 2.3TD
  • Engine + detail: 2.3 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 6
  • Warranty distance (km): 150000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 3
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Service interval indicator: Standard
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Nissan
  • Status: c
  • Segment: LCV
  • MMcode: 47047380
  • MMVariant: NAVARA 2.3D SE P/U D/C
  • MMintrodat: 2018-02-01
  • Introdate: 2018-03-05
  • DuoportarecordID: NissNava2d4

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