When Nissan’s NP300 Navara was launched in February of this year, Nissan Philippines, Incorporated (NPI) President Antonio “Toti” Zara confidently declared, “Let the truck wars begin!”
Today, nine months after that dare was made, it sure looks like Mr. Zara had every reason to declare war on other truck manufacturers with such confidence. The Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), the Philippines’ premier award-giving body in the automotive industry, has declared the NP300 Navara as the 2015 Truck of the Year Philippines during the Awards Night held on November 13th of this year in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.
The Navara first fought it out in the Best 4×2 Pickup of the Year category, where it bested 12 other trucks, including the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Strada, Tata Xenon, and different variants of the Chevrolet Colorado. After being named the best in its category, the NP300 Navara went head-to-head with Ford’s Ranger Wildtrak 3.2L, which was adjudged the Best 4×4 Pickup of the Year. Nissan was proud to come up on top.
Make no mistake about it, this was no mean feat because the awards were given out based not on things like advertising budget, popularity, or sales figures, but on real merits like build quality, driving experience, ride comfort, style, and vehicle performance. CAGI President Robby Consunji himself said, “CAGI has completed the most thorough and critical consumer-oriented vehicle review process in the country. We tested 78 cars and trucks from the 2015 model year, involved roughly 1,500 test drives over 4 days.” as he thanked the participating car manufacturers for allowing them to scrutinize and test their vehicles.
So, what exactly was it that drove the CAGI team to name the NP300 Navara the country’s Truck of the Year? What features does this automobile have that set it apart not only from the other trucks in its category, but from all other 2015 model trucks? Let’s take a closer look at the Navara to find out.
At first glance, it’s hard not to be impressed with the new NP300. Unlike its predecessors and many other trucks in its category, it doesn’t have a boxy look. Quality details such as the distinguished front end, the chrome and matte gray grill, LED projector headlamps, the wide arches and creases, the car-style tail lamps, the unique tailgate, and the V-motion detail around its logo all add up to the appeal of its design.
But it’s not just the looks that have improved in the all-new NP300 Navara. When Nissan says “all-new,” it certainly looks like they mean it because the pickup has grown practically in all areas. It is longer, wider, and taller than the previous version. Even the cabin looks and feels much improved from Nissan’s previous pickups. The fabric upholstery of the seats blend in perfectly with the nearly all-black interior.
The NP300 Navara also has excellent ergonomics, with the front seats featuring the Zero-G design created in collaboration with NASA, which offers maximum comfort and minimum fatigue—perfect for long drives. The cabin also has ample rear leg room and has extremely plush seats, you probably won’t believe you’re in a pickup truck! It feels more like you’re inside a top-spec executive sedan. And it’s not just the interior that offers ample space; the truck bed is also very spacious, allowing you to transport just about all kinds of cargo.
What hasn’t changed from the previous generation of the Navara is the 2.5L CRDI engine, but that’s not so bad, considering the model also has 163 PS and 403 Nm of torque. Power features such as the power windows, locks, and mirrors have also been retained and the audio system improved, being amazingly clear and powerful for a mid-range truck. Of course, just like all units in Nissan’s new generation of vehicles, the all-new Navara boasts an air conditioning system that’ll keep passengers comfortably cool, even during the scorching Philippine summer months.
All in all, the all-new Nissan NP300 Navara handles extremely well, offers maximum comfort, and has excellent maneuverability and fuel economy. And when you consider that it sells for only PHP1,108,000.00, you’ll understand just how impressive it is by itself and as compared to other vehicles in its class. It comes as no wonder, then, that the CAGI team found this pickup to be in a league of its own and named it the best of its kind. So if you’re on the market for a new pickup truck, it would definitely be a good idea to consider the Navara.