The Nissan Navara is one of the best pickups in the business. It offers an almost car-like ride with the ruggedness and utility of a pickup. It’s the best of both worlds, but the pickup has so many variants to choose from – 14 to be exact. There are variants with simpler amenities, but there are also variants with more luxury in mind.
So, what do you choose? On this segment of Which Variant, we comb through the many variants and trim levels of the Nissan Navara. That being said, keep in mind to consider what you like, but buy what you can afford. We got you covered because we’re crowning several winners this time around.
Getting the basics done right
The Nissan Navara does get the basics of being a pickup truck done right. It has a great platform, to begin with featuring fully independent front and rear suspension in all of its variants. This gives the vehicle a smooth ride over bumps and divots on the roads of Manila. To add to this all variants come with a 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine. However, the entry-level variants only get 163hp and 403 Nm of torque. The figure itself is definitely not bad and it gets the job well as the engine makes a generous amount of torque.
Calibre - the ace of base
Going one step above the entry-level model and you get the Calibre MT 4x2 trim. When it comes to safety features, the variant is still barren, however, you do get a 2-DIN audio system, but the unit itself is still basic. The model does come with the addition of alloy wheels which brings a touch of style to the pickup truck. You do add P60,000 to the price of the base unit, but that just covers the price of the wheels and head unit. A minor improvement over the entry-level model but an improvement nonetheless.
EL Calibre - the middle child of the bunch
Cresting over the P1,000,000 mark is the EL variants of the Navara. These now grant you access to more safety features such as ABS and onwards. While it is not a big inclusion, it’s a sign of more things to come. This variant of the Navara also comes with more security features such as an engine immobilizer and an alarm system.
For the additions, it also comes with 18-inch wheels and a keyless entry system that is a big surprise for a model that comes in at the P1,159,000 mark. You still get a manual for that price range, however, expect to pay P1,219,000 for the 7-speed automatic transmission version.
Related: How safe is the Nissan Navara?
Starting with the EL Calibre variants, you can now get an appearance package for your Navara. Starting at P1,255,000 you can get your hands on the Nissan Navara EL 4x2 MT Calibre Sport Edition. As for its features, it is the same front as the standard model apart from getting a sports bar at the rear and a different set of wheels.
The EL variants also mark the start of the 4x4 variants for the Navara. For P1,309,000 you can get your hands on a 4x4 EL MT variant of the pickup truck. This makes it one of the more brand new 4x4 options in the market today. However, be prepared to row through the gears in traffic as there is no automatic option available, but that shouldn’t be a problem as there is low-end diesel torque that will assist you.
VL - At its prime
The Nissan Navara at its best is in its VL trim-level. You get the amenities that match the plush ride that its competitors have been compared to. It also comes with an 8-inch infotainment system that comes with advanced display audio and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. Leather seats are also available at this trim-level along with power adjustability and LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs. Not only does the VL trim grant you a better-equipped cabin but it also gives a more powerful 2.5-liter engine. The power out is now at 190hp and 450 Nm of torque across the range. Much like the EL it too comes with a 4x4 option for those who plan to take their pickup truck off the beaten path. The VL MT starts a little over P150,000 more than the EL 4x4 but the increase in price is justified by the increase in power and the new features that it carries.
All VL variants also come with Nissan Intelligent Mobility which lets you see around the vehicle. It also comes with Nissan’s intelligent key as well which lets you enter into the vehicle without taking anything out of your pocket.
In the same manner that the EL Calibre variant comes with an aesthetics package, the VL AT 4x4 also comes with a Sport edition. This gives the vehicle a Sport Rollbar, Sport edition front skirt, gun metallic painted side step, gun metallic painted rear bumper, and a bed liner all as standard. Overall this gives the Nissan Navara a sportier look to match all the features within.
We’ll preface our choices by saying, you don’t need a 4x4 system if you’ll end up using the car in the city anyway. 4x2 is enough for most of your needs provided you don’t need to go off-road too often. While nice to have, if saving money is your priority, then there is a variant for you.
Our second runner up is for the budget-minded. The 4x2 EL Calibre AT takes the cake for most value-oriented purchase with regard to practicality. You get a standard interior, basic safety features, and a chassis that rides well for only P1,139,000, which is almost unfair to crossovers, SUVs, and any sedan. But if you’re looking for a little more capability, this next variant is for you.
Manual transmission on a diesel vehicle is not as taxing. You have loads of torque to help you feather the clutch in traffic, but the main attraction of this first runner up is the 4x4 system that can be had for not that much money. Another entry from the EL family of variants is the Nissan Navara 4x4 EL MT. We cannot deny that if you need a vehicle that is capable on a budget, the 4x4 system is a huge plus, and at P1,239,000, it’s a bargain for a 4x4 system with a flatbed at the back and a comfy ride.
Now, this brings us to our winner, and no it’s not the N-Warrior, because it will depend on the consumer’s tastes on whether he will be swayed by the looks and additions to the N-Warrior variants. Therefore, it goes to the more conservative, but more muscular 4x4 VL Sport Edition AT variant. It looks good, it has an automatic and has all the bells and whistles that the midsize pickup that Nissan can come with. You also get more power and torque, which pairs nicely with the 4x4 system on offer.
So there you have it, we believe that these three variants are worth your hard-earned money, or at least a look.