Wednesday, 18 April 2007

New Nissan Frontier Navara

By Dr Long

Staying close to this year’s 28th Bangkok International Motor Show theme of “Drive Thru the Nature” was Nissan’s showcase of its new Frontier Navara, set within tropical shrubs and rainforest montage. Equally green is Nissan’s new 2,488cc common-rail turbodiesel which will set the benchmark for the highest power output of 172bhp @ 4,000rpm and a very twisty 403Nm @ 2,000rpm! In fact, modern turbodiesels are all the rage now in Europe, a truly viable alternative to the more expensive and complex petrol-electric hybrid.

As with the upcoming Ford Ranger (in Malaysia), the new Navara also has that 5-speed automatic option, in addition to a standard 6-speed manual (as pictured below). These transmissions are obviously put into service to better saviour the magnitude and spread of torque available.

Set to start another round of power race among the mainstream truck makers of Ford/Mazda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Toyota, the new Navara will definitely be the ‘powerhouse’ benchmark for some time to come. In comparison, the Toyota Hilux has the most dismal output of 102bhp from its 2.5L D-4D. The new Ford Ranger 2.5 makes do with 143bhp @ 3,500rpm and 330Nm starting from 1,800rpm. Mitsubishi will tweak its new Triton from 136bhp to 160bhp, while Isuzu’s D-Max will get a boost for its 3.0L turbodiesel to punch out 145bhp, a significant hike from its current 130bhp. Toyota is reported to be planning to substitute the 2.5 to a 3.0L D-4D capable of 164bhp. The horsepower mania among the pick-ups is definitely on!

What remains unclear though is whether all these awesome figures are accessible for trucks enthusiasts in Malaysia. The much-professed fuel quality (read: low sulphur) upgrade at the pump has reached a dead end, with petroleum companies locked in a stalemate with the government, leaving both parties unwilling to pick up the tab for further stages of purification at the refineries. Until then, it is unlikely that we will see a Frontier Navara churning out 172bhp, running on antiquated, inferior grade Euro-1 diesel. Secondly, local distributor Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has not announced any further addition to its line up of the Teana, Tiida sedan/hatchback and Grand Livina launches for 2007.

1 comment:

rrjexpert said...

Fair review, all in all. I own a 2004 Nissan Frontier SE and have been happy other than the front brakes and nissan fog lights. These have been the subject of several bulletins/recalls and seem to be corrected now. I personally like the way Nissan is selling these - one top of the line engine and transmission for every truck. Price the big V8 in any competitor and see what it (and the mandatory options)costs. But others seem to quibble about this and want to mix and match with their dollars.

As to gas mileage, I get a consistent 14-16 no matter how easy or hard I drive. The same as my previous F150 and the same with every honest person I know who owns a full-size gas truck. nest gets