Accessorizing can boost a truck's appeal
When carmakers debut a model, it's a long-term commitment. They will spend between 5 to 10 years producing it in their factories, selling it in their shows, crafting marketing plans around it, and supplying parts for it. So, it's understandable that they come up with updates or even special editions to spice things up a bit and boost demand... and desirability.
That's the case for the Nissan Navara. The truck is now entering its third year since it made its global debut in 2014, followed by the domestic release in early 2015. Given that the model update is not yet due in the immediate future, Nissan decided to give the Navara a special version, and they call it the Sport Edition.
The Sport Edition moniker is not uncommon in the industry, but the way Nissan applied it is quite befitting the Navara, a pick-up that they market as a truck that can do most anything. There are two kinds of Sport Editions: the mid-range Navara EL Calibre 4x2 and the top-of-the-line 4x4 VL.
It's not an actual facelift or design update, but the Sport Edition extensive accessory package does significantly boost the Navara's curb appeal. On the outside, we can clearly spot the new grille, the the new front skirt (or chin, depending on your preference), the prominent 18-inch wheels, as well as the color-matched sports roll bar. Nissan even added a bedliner, finishing off the new look for the Sport Edition.
Inside, it's still the same, save for a few enhancements like the leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and center console box lid. It's all quite nice, though I did find it surprising that they didn't specify full leather seats given that they've applied leather on the primary controls.
There are no mechanical or functional upgrades to the Navara VL, and that's fine. It comes fully loaded anyway and the 2.5-liter turbodiesel has plenty of power at 190 bhp, and more importantly, 332 lb ft of torque at 2000 rpm. All that is channeled by a seven-speed automatic to either the rear or all four wheels with the twist of the 4WD selector knob.
Given that there are no mechanical changes, the Navara drives identically as before. The acceleration is great, but more importantly, the fuel economy is excellent; 9.4 km/l in town (21 km/h average) and 14.6 km/l on the highway (93 km/h average). But where the Navara Sport Edition truly struts its stuff is in terms of control and comfort.
The unique thing about this truck is its use of a multi-link rear suspension with coil springs instead of the expected leaf spring suspension. Sure, it's still a rigid axle, but the rear suspension does give the Navara better stability than its leaf-sprung contemporaries and definitely much better comfort.
As a hauler, yes, the Navara does it very well. There is a perception that because the Navara comes with coil springs that it won't be able to carry as much as the competition, but when we did our comparo, that wasn't the case. The Navara's rear suspension can take the same weight as the other trucks yet maintain a level ride.
Overall, this Sport Edition is a nice way to spice up the Nissan Navara range. The accessory package gives it plenty of appeal and is a great way to make this unique truck a bit more special.
ENGINE: Inline-4, 2488cc, dohc 16-valve, variable geometry turbo diesel, 7-speed A/T
MAX POWER: 190 bhp @ 3600 rpm
MAX TORQUE: 332 lb ft @ 2000 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): c/o JNC
TOP SPEED: c/o JNC
FUEL MILEAGE: 9.4 km/l city / 14.6 km/l highway
PRICE AS TESTED: PhP 1,656,000
+: Attractive urban styling, fuel consumption, comfort
-: No leather seats
C! RATING: 9/10