More Commercial Vehicle News

While we are on the topic of pick-up trucks, Nissan have something to say about their newish NP300 Navara.

2015 Nissan Navarra:
2015 Nissan NP 300 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.

2014 Nissan-Navara-1
2015 Nissan Navara:

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.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “More Commercial Vehicle News”

  1. There used to be a loophole in the UK whereby pickups did not attract the same rate of tax as passenger cars, making them attractive for business users. As far as I am aware that loophole has closed, but it did serve to establish a market that remains worthwhile for manufacturers to pursue. Personally I could not accept the haphazard, floaty handling that comes with a ladder chassis, wonky weight distribution and balloon tyres, but it is amazing how many people could not give a damn in that regard.

    1. I disagree Chris. Not with your description, which is perfect, but that there isn’t fun to be had. Both a skittish, lightly laden commercial vehicle and a fully laden, tail-heavy one, present challenges, which can be a source of great satisfaction at perfectly legal speeds.

      Though probably you’re not disputing that, just suggesting that the compromises involved in having a pickup that ought to double as safe and comfortable transport for you and your family, make it untenable. Which I’d generally agree with.

    2. Sean, you are exactly right: driving a Ford Transit is a pleasure because the chassis is fundamentally unbalanced (small tyres, RWD, no weight in the back). The driving interfaces are honest and the limits are both low and well signposted, so you can have fun creating a modest slip angle around a roundabout at low speeds. In a 4WD pickup, the experience is dominated by the huge balloon like tyres, which only ever offer low grip and limited feedback. Road biased utes are a different kettle of fish, I would imagine.

  2. A quick look at the Toyota and Mitsubishi UK sites suggest that we can only have our pickups as a jacked up 4×4, not a road dwelling ute.

  3. “(or with one or two unneeded speeds)” – Quite handy to have some extra gears available when pulling a trailer with a mini digger or three tonnes worth of bricks. I think at least that’s what these are supposed to be able to do, despite their deceptively stylish looks?

    1. Five gears – Surely we can do it all with five speeds. If you need another gear the engine lacks torque. A bicycle needs 12 to 18 gears.

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