By Andrew Kunambura
AT they very first sight of it, a female colleague let out an involuntary scream which left everyone, including herself, perplexed:
“Oh, It’s sexy,” she exclaimed, most probably in her awe enthralled stupor after being mesmerized by this beautiful beast.
In so doing, she broke an insipid silence which left everyone turning their heads in the general direction of the originator of the voice, only to find her burying her face in her hands in the most diffidence ever seen.
Then, everyone, including herself, broke into a marvelous laughter.
This is the impression that the all-new Nissan Navara truck had on its inaugural drivers/passengers soon after its launch in Harare Tuesday last week.
But the outward impression, underlined by its imposing posture and a beastly face which gives it the ferocity of a full-grown male lion, is secondary to the inside feeling which left one participant exclaiming: “It makes you feel like you are in your house.”
I was privileged to be one of those selected to test drive this game-changing truck from Harare to Nyanga and back last week.
This is not just a new Nissan truck, it’s a truck specially built to withstand the rigors of the rugged sub-Saharan Africa terrain, complete with a suspension so robust you would feel the designer specifically had the pothole littered Zimbabwean roads in mind.
Coincidentally, or even by design, Zimbabwe becomes only the third Sub-Saharan country in which this beast is launched.
Once we got inside, the power of it was amazing, and so was the comfort.
In fact, it is the most comfortable feeling I have felt inside any truck.
It delivers the full package, an enhanced level of safety, comfort and driving pleasure, while continuing to bring durability, reliability and versatility which gives all Nissan trucks their legendary status.
The pickup marks another milestone in the company’s Nissan NEXT transformation plan, and this one was befittingly launched under the theme: NissanNextExperience.
“We packaged the new model with a full set of advanced technologies to ensure enhanced dynamic performance on- and off-road, as well as safety and comfort ushering in a new age of toughness, tech, and peace of mind,” Linda Mazimhaka Regional General Manager Nissan Sub Sahara Africa, said at the launch.
“It is a vehicle made in Africa, for Africa,” he said.
With this new monster truck, Nissan is bringing a comprehensive range to the market, starting with a Manual Transmission Single Cab. Further elevating the pickup’s rugged character is the introduction of the range topper PRO-4X grade – a first for the Navara nameplate. PRO-4X offers a full four-wheel drive system with low range capabilities and an even more impressive, eye-catching style to appeal to extreme adventure lovers who crave an escape from the daily routine.
Powering the Navara is a 2.5l turbo diesel engine that has proven reliable in the Sub-Saharan Africa driving conditions.
The powertrain was chosen as it meets the performance, economy and durability requirements for customers in this demanding segment. The engine is available in two levels of output – High Output on LE and PRO-4X Grades, 140 kW power, 450 Nm torque and Mid Output on XE and SE Grades with 120 kW power, 403 Nm torque.
A strengthened rear axle and improved load-bed volume make the vehicle the ultimate worksite partner, ready to take on any challenges whilst still offering optimal room and comfort. For pickup customers, one of the most essential qualities is payload, and Nissan’s engineers worked hard to increase it, delivering segment-leading capacity.
The Navara activates its Active Brake Limited Slip Differential system (ABLS), which manages power delivery and wheel braking between the front and rear axles and between the left and right of the vehicle, depending on traction and speed.
Working with the Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC) and ABS brakes, this system enables drivers to be more confident and feel secure when towing large payloads and driving through muddy terrain with less acceleration and brake operation.
An additional offering is the Hill Start-Assist, which helps prevent rollback when starting up again from a stopped position on an incline. It allows drivers to change pedals easily from brake to the accelerator and carry out a safer hill start. This means that the car will remain on a standstill for a maximum of two seconds while changing pedals. At the same time, Hill Descent-Assist will modulate vehicle speed on steep descents, allowing the driver to focus on steering the vehicle and enjoying its off-road capabilities.
It, indeed is a truly sexy, beastly machine.