Being a bit of a closet tomboy, I relished the opportunity to test-drive the Nissan Navara recently at Group 1 Nissan The Glen.  Guided by their product specialist and New Car Sales Manager Francois Jacobs through the initial specs of the vehicle, indicating the robust engine cranking out sufficient torque to impress the guys and a choice of either a 6-speed manual, or 7 speed auto. Pleasing to the eye, the Navara looks as good as it sounds when started – a deep purr that feels as satisfying as sliding into the smooth leather interior.

As expected, the Navara has all the bells and whistles associated with its power-house and off-road reputation, not the least of which is the formidable engine and rugged exterior; it also includes headlamp surrounds, nudge bars and various options for upgrading off-roading capacities with the likes of heavy duty bull bars and undercarriage protection plates, as well as a winch and 7” LED spotlight. As impressive as this is, the softer side of this beast is what drew me in: a quieter ride than expected for a bakkie, thanks to its extremely low engine noise vibration and harshness levels, meaning I didn’t feel like I was sitting in a commercial truck rattling through the traffic. Adding to the SUV-feel with some luxury touches was the extreme comfort offered by the zero-gravity spinal support for the driver’s seat. The interior of the vehicle is classy and pleasing to the eye, with comfortable seating for passengers (neutral posture seats) and environmental comfort guided by automatic air conditioning and dual-zone climate control.

Whilst paying attention to the impressive capabilities of the vehicle to cruise through the tough traffic conditions of famously congested city of Josie, the surprisingly economic fuel consumption ratio starting at 6.5 litres to 100km is a definite bonus and makes a nice change from the fuel-guzzling bakkies and SUV’s on the general market. A new twin-turbo diesel engine provides all the power needed to traverse any terrain (and carry a hefty load in the back too), and still feel protected doing so, thanks to it’s well-designed body. Safety features that include front and rear curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbags and SRS airbags for front and side-impact sat firmly in my mind as a family woman, and gave a great sense of security and peace of mind. The convenience of the rear-camera and sensors also did not go unnoticed and resulted in a perfect parking at first attempt, even with such a big car that one would assume would be difficult to manoeuvre.

The drive was pleasant with the vehicle responding easily to my urging; with the comforts offered, this bakkie gave a definite softer feel that would keep any lady happy on the road, whilst still giving her the option to kick up dust and crunch over rocks on the weekend. The hospitable team at Nissan The Glen present various pricing structures that, at competitive rates or vehicles in this class – together with current promotions on this vehicle – can make driving this double-cab a reality.

By Desh Pillay Bechan