Nissan Navara VL AT 4×4 Review – Comfort, Performance, and Safety

Nissan Navara VL AT 4×4 Review – Comfort, Performance, and Safety

During the past year, there has been an influx of pickup trucks which I believe was because of the increasing popularity of outdoor camping and they have become more and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The ground clearance, power, rugged-masculine look, and the infinite number of things you can do with it as a pickup are what interest most buyers.

Coming from a compact sedan, the thought of driving a pickup truck actually scares the f   out of me. Because it’s bigger, wider, and longer than I am accustomed to. Parking it and navigating our normal route will be challenging for a vehicle this size.

Not until I met the new Nissan Navara.

The Nissan Navarra is Nissan’s entry in the pickup category. Nissan was kind enough to lend us the Navara 2.5 VL 4X4 AT for a week to test and so we did.

At first sight, I find it a bit intimidating with its overall height of over six (6) feet, around the same width, and weighs about two (2) thousand kilograms. The Navara’s rugged appearance is undeniably built to conquer any terrain while turning heads on the road.

Moving around it and inspecting it up close had me appreciate its beauty. Its quad projector LED headlamp is bright enough to scare evil spirits when driving alone in the dark. The huge front grille dominates the front enclosed in large chrome linings complemented with LED DRLs above the headlamps.

Getting in and out of the Navara is a breeze with its built-in step board that for both the first and second rows. Inside, the front seats are really comfortable to sit on, especially during long,  bumpy rides. The driver has power seats while the front passenger settles for manual.

The rear seats did not disappoint as they are also inclined and have ample legroom for passengers my size. Adding to the experience are its own aircon vents, a foldable armrest with cup holders, a charging port, a 12v socket, and cupholders on the side as well. Although pickup trucks are not necessarily passenger vehicles, Nissan made sure that they are comfortable in case you decide to.

For the infotainment, incomes with an 8″ Advanced Display Audio that comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto (both wired), I like how it still has knobs for both tuning and volume controls. Although you also have control over it via the steering wheel. Behind the steering wheel is a 7″ Drive Full-Color Instrument Cluster that allows you to manage Nissan’s intelligent mobility system:

  • Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection

I personally enjoyed each and every feature of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility. The lane departure alert was useful during our NLEX / SCTEX ride, the blind spot warning was helpful in changing lanes and kamote warning.

The Navara comes with a dual aircon system that allows the driver’s side and the passenger side to have different temperatures. Nissan has always been known for its super aircon system, you’ll forget that you’re under the heat of the scorching sun. I like that although it did not come with a rotating knob, it has physical buttons for temperature and fan adjustments. I think I’m not ready for those touchscreen features on cars. I still prefer physical touch.

The Drive

The Navara handling and maneuverability are amazingly responsive. As a sedan user, I was really afraid of using the Navara for a daily drive because the route to and from work is already a challenge for a small vehicle. Two lanes with a lot of obstacles, including parked vehicles, tricycle terminals, street vendors, bystanders, and occasional trucks and pick-up trucks along the way. The Navara handled everything well. Parking was never an issue too because of the sensors and cameras available in the Navara. A rear camera and sensor, a front camera and a collision sensor, a blind side sensor and camera. What more can you ask for? This was one of the concerns I had because I never drove a car longer and wider than a sedan.

The suspension needs a day or two of getting used to. Since it’s a pick-up, it’s meant to carry heavy loads, which is why it feels that it’s overly sensitive when driving alone. During our trip to Lake Mapanuepe, it effectively absorbed bumps and the uneven terrain that made the trip comfortable. It helped that we were able to take advantage of its 4×4 capability and its 450 Nm of torque during a bumpy-uphill climb.

When it comes to acceleration, the Navara delivers smooth and swift acceleration, making highway merges and overtaking effortless. I was able to take advantage of its cruise control feature at NLEX/SCTEX but I wish it had an adaptive one. I’d like the fact that I was able to rest my foot during the ride, I’m just not used to it. Although it has Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Emergency Braking, I still don’t want to rely too much on technology and handle it myself.

Fuel consumption during my time with the Navara is around 8-9km/litre during our daily home and office drive and an average of 17-19km/litre at SCTEX and NLEX.

The Nissan Navara left me wanting to get a pick-up. I honestly am not a fan of it, but the Navara left a good impression. It has the comfort of driving a sedan and the luxury of having a huge car that can ram your way into the flood and challenging terrain. Its safety features made it more appealing especially to those who have not handled wider, longer, and more powerful vehicles.

It’s true that pick-ups are built to carry heavy loads, but just recently, more and more and buying them for camping purposes. The Nissan Navara offers a strong combination of performance, comfort, and safety which makes it a viable choice for a pick-up. It can appeal to a wide range of users, from business that requires a capable work vehicle, to outdoor enthusiasts.

Priced at PHP 1.701M the Nissan Navara VL AT 4×4 is only PHP110k short of the Pro-4X AT 4×4 at PHP1.811M I’d say it’s worth it. I mean, the power, comfort, and safety features that come with it are worth every penny.