At the age of 3, the new Navara’s getting real smart


Everybody wants to hold a baby. The cuteness overload turns adults to mush. You’d just want to pinch the cheeks, smother with kisses, and just hug the baby tight all day long. There’s a perfect Pinoy term for that. Gigil.

You could probably say the same about the Nissan Navara pickup. When it came out onto the Philippine motoring landscape in 2015, and when Nissan presented it to the public and the local motoring media, everyone wanted to play with this “baby.” Including me.

I was a bit rough on it (well, the parents—Nissan Philippines Inc.—did give the go-signal “not to baby the baby”), and followed what the others did: running the 4x4s over four-story high sand dunes in La Paz, Ilocos Norte, which gave us a glimpse of this pickup’s baby steps—the hill descent control (HDC), hill start assist (HSA), traction control (TCS), and vehicle dynamic stability control (DSC).

Things weren’t always about rough play with the Navara. There were extended periods when I just sat contented “hugging a soft toddler.”

That meant I did get to drive the Navara for up to 15 hours at a stretch. Its car-like ride was made possible with the unique “zero-gravity” front seats, ample legroom for the rear passengers, and the multi-link suspension system.

That baby was strong, though, and I felt it when the 2.5-liter VGT turbodiesel engine pushed and kicked against me.

First years

On its first birthday a year later (2016), the Navara “toddler” showed it had a penchant for climbing, and we witnessed how this pickup made short work of the steep and tricky climb to the famous Kiltepan ridge in Sagada, Mountain Province, well above 6,000 feet above sea level.

On its second birthday in 2017, the Navara showed stamina, making a run from Manila to Pagudpud, the northern tip of the main Luzon island, and back.

It was also gaining popularity, giving the top three-selling pickups a run for their money.

Navara’s AVM feature is your bird’s eye view

Last March 12 to 14, the Navara celebrated year 3 with many of the local motoring media who witnessed its birth.

At the foot of the dome-shaped Mount Malasimbo in the island of Mindoro, the Navara showed real signs of intelligence.

Of course, the Navara was still bull-strong, its 4-cylinder engine with VGS turbo producing 190 ps and 450 Nm of torque.

And being the first and only pickup with 7-speed AT, the wildly unpredictable traffic and terrain that characterizes the Mindoro road network became largely manageable.

The Navara proved that it could handle anything that the nearly 300-km route from San Jose in southern Mindoro to Mount Malasimbo in the northern portion of the island could present.

Growing intelligence

But more than the long drive, the most remarkable aspect about the Navara is its growing intelligence.

And this was most evident in the Around View Monitor (AVM) that gives the driver a virtual 360-degree view of the vehicle and its surroundings, thanks to four cameras strategically positioned around the vehicle to provide this composite “bird’s eye view.”

Nissan Philippines Inc’s general manager for sales Rolando Navaro, president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan, and assistant general manager for Marketing Dino Obias

With a touch of a button on the center monitor, the AVM allows drivers to avoid obstacles, negotiate tight passes, and park with ease.

Another push of the button zooms in on the images, providing a more detailed view and color guides (green for safe, yellow for danger) for more precise maneuvering.

NPI president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan, who could easily pass off as the proud and doting “dad” of
the Navara, revealed that the pickup had even improved its sales ranking, jumping to the second spot in its category sometime in 2017.

At just 3 years old, the Navara has become a smarter beast inside and out.

Like the Nissan X-Trail, its DNA has been infused with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility drive philosophy and technology.

I can’t wait to see this baby enter puberty.

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