While we are on the topic of pick-up trucks, Nissan have something to say about their newish NP300 Navara.
Nissan call it the ‘world’s best pick-up’ which is quite a claim. Many Ford F-150 owners might have another opinion on that. The Navara did manage to win the International Pick-Up of the Year award so that’s something, I suppose. The price for one of these is a bit north of Ford’s ranger, nearly £18,500. The Navara comes in five trim levels and comes with a double or king cab so it’s ready to be a load-hauler or a family saloon with a missing bootlid.
The engine is a 2.3 litre twin turbo. Again Ford trumps this with a 3.2 litre diesel five (optional). Transmissions comes in two flavours, six or seven speed (or with one or two unneeded speeds). Nissan have fitted not cart-springs but a five-link rear suspension for the double-cab and an even bigger load bay. Like many new trucks these are more clearly styled and much less, well, truck-like than they used to be. It seems Dacia is the specialist in truck-like vehicles, with their hose-down exteriors and simple pressings.
Here is the 2014 version with four doors. I don’t believe a truck was driven to that location which has the colours of a 60s postcard.
The NP300 Navara is based on the D23 platform, in production in Thailand since 2014. This is not to be confused with the D40 platform which has been in production from 2004 and is not sold in the UK. It sold under a variety of names including Navara Brute: Nissan Frontier, Nissan Frontier Navara, Acmat ALTV and Suzuki Equator. It’s made in seven factories around the world (one’s in Spain). Nissan Germany seems not to offer the NP300 Navara but Nissan Spain does.
With pick-ups resembling family cars is there a possibility some people are choosing them instead of Mondeos and 3-series? I imagine the pick-up has got less utilitarian as one firm tries to win sales from the others. The side effect is that in so doing the pick-up begins to compete with passenger cars too. There was a time when pick-ups were purely trade vehicles and nobody voluntarily drove them. These days they are probably more than comfortable enough and the extra refinement of a saloon or estate car is not worth the huge extra cost.