YugaTech Presents: Conquering the Dunes with the Nissan NP300 Navara
Nissan Philippines Incorporated recently flew us all the way to Ilocos Norte to try out the capabilities of their recently-launched NP300 Navara. This off-road vehicle promises the comforts of a car with the ruggedness of a pick-up truck. Did it prove true to its claims? Join us in this special feature and find out!
Watch the video above to see this pick-up truck climb hills and lunge on slopes during our trip to the north!
The NP300 Navara stands tough and is very masculine up front. Although definitely wider, it still features the company’s signature V-motion grille that adds more toughness to its front fascia and is also partnered by boomerang-shaped head lamps seen on other models like the testosterone-driven X-Trail.
Dimensions-wise, the top-tier Navara is now longer, wider, and taller than its previous generation. Its wheelbase, however, has been slightly reduced but ground clearance was taken a notch higher. The rear is also a looker with a tail spoiler that exudes a more agile presence, while tail lamps are bulky that adds to the overall beefy look of the truck.
Its tires are geared with 18-inch rims and make the all-new Navara stand its ground with authority.
The seats are given the same Zero-gravity treatment just like the recent models from the company, while helping you find your destination is a Garmin sat-nav system displayed on a 5-inch screen with Kenwood sound system on-board. Altogether, it was a pretty enjoyable ride and we didn’t experience any fatigue from sitting on its seats for a couple of hours.
Reminiscent of the Nissan Altima that we previously reviewed, the steering wheel has controls for audio as well as buttons to activate and navigate its cruise control.
One notable touch of a luxury vibe is the A/C vent and cup holders for the rear passengers. It can be done without, but the company was thoughtful enough to add this touch for the back passengers’ comfort.
Located at the lower central panel next to the Hill Descent Control button, Nissan opted to go for a knob switch to control the gearing of the truck. Another convenient feature is the presence of more than one USB port which is only commonly seen on SUVs or higher-end sedans.
We did a mini eco-run challenge to get a feel of how the NP300 Navara is efficient in fuel consumption. The winning team was driving the 4×4 7-speed AT variant and they were able to squeeze out 18.30 kilometers to the liter after traveling more or less 140km on the way to the sand dunes in Paoay, passing Bangui and its famous windmills.
Performance on Sand Dunes
The top of the line Navara carries a 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine that coughs up 190 horses at 3,600rpm and 450 Newton meters of torque at 2,000 rpm. They let us leave the 6-speed MTs behind and use the 7-speed automatic transmission instead so we could concentrate more on the trail and the pick-up’s performance.
It’s important to understand that some areas in the dunes have really loose sand and can easily trap a vehicle when shortage of power comes into play. With that said we’re happy to report that its engine is no stranger to heavy duty performance and took on the course like a 4×4 would, with the addition of extra comfort thanks to its suspension system.
This unique 5-link rear suspension accompanied by coil springs not only promises a comfier ride, but it should also result to better handling. True enough being on it during the bumpiest parts of the trail (see video) really shows how going off-road on this kind of setup is different from having commonly-used leaf-type suspensions.
Also, considering that we were using stock tires that were meant for road, the Navara was able to conquer all the uphill and still maintained aggressive traction against sand. Of course, it’s not all the vehicle that’s doing the work — the driver still plays a big part on how he/she handles and uses the truck to triumph over the obstacles.
Lastly, its Hill Descent Control (HDC) proved useful on steep slopes. We didn’t have to step on the brakes since the truck itself made sure that we traverse down the slope smoothly and all we had to do was hold on to the steering wheel.
Nissan’s NP300 Navara indeed is like having the best of both worlds — it can provide the comfort offered by sedans on the road, but is always ready to swerve onto the dirt lane anytime you wish it to. Plus, it also has a handful of comfort features that you wouldn’t usually find in this segment like Cruise Control and Zero-gravity seats.
Priced competitively at Php898K for the base model, it’s something that should definitely be on your list if you’re on the prowl for something rugged yet smart. Good job, Nissan Philippines!
Nissan NP300 Navara VL specs:
2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine
190PS of power
450Nm of torque
5-link coil suspension with stabilizer bars
Nissan V-motion grille
Boomerang-shaped head lamps
Kenwood audio system
Garmin GPS system
Rear A/C vents
The 2015 Navara is available in 7 different variants with the following price tags:
- 2.5L 4×4 VL 7AT – Php1,490,000
- 2.5L 4×4 VL 6MT – Php1,421,000
- 2.5L 4×4 EL 6MT – Php1,256,000
- 2.5L 4×2 EL 7AT – Php1,108,000
- 2.5L 4×2 EL 6MT Calibre – Php 1,038,000
- 2.5L 4×2 6MT Calibre – Php 938,000
- 2.5L 4×2 6MT – 898,000