HILUX BLACK EDI­TION VS NIS­SAN NAVARA

The bakkie bat­tle heats up

Driven - - Contents -

IF THERE’S ONE THING THAT SOUTH AFRICAN BAKKIENISTAS LIKE MORE THAN A DOU­BLE CAB, IT’S A FULLY- KIT­TED OUT DOU­BLE CAB, WHICH EX­PLAINS WHY WE BUY THEM BY THE THOU­SANDS EACH MONTH. TOY­OTA RE­CENTLY RE­LEASED A LIM­ITED BLACK EDI­TION RAIDER, WHICH BERNIE HELLBERG PUT TO THE TEST AGAINST ONE OF ITS FIERCEST RI­VALS, THE NIS­SAN NAVARA 4X4 LE.

With no short­age of choice in the bakkie seg­ment, buy­ers have their pick of trucks across the pric­ing spec­trum. But it is at the top of the pile – in the leisure dou­ble cab seg­ment – where the real ac­tion hap­pens.

It is also here where the big brands spend big bucks on po­si­tion­ing their of­fer­ing as the tough­est, raci­est, best value bakkie around. As an ex­am­ple, Toy­ota re­cently added four lim­ited Black Edi­tion Hilux Raider mod­els to the lo­cal line-up, slap­ping some se­ri­ous style onto – and in­side – one of South Africa’s favourite bakkies.

The other one-again-off-again mar­ket leader, Ford’s Ranger, got it­self a spe­cial edi­tion up­grade dubbed the FX4, while Isuzu ear­lier in the year made the KB Serengeti avail­able to buy­ers.

Nis­san is yet to an­nounce any spe­cial ver­sion of their new Navara, but rest as­sured that it will come any­thing be­tween 12 and 18 months down the line when a mid-life­cy­cle re­fresh of the still brand new bakkie is re­quired. For now, though, Nis­san of­fers a full set of ac­ces­sories to solidly spruce up your Navara, if you’re thus in­clined.

BLACK IS BEAU­TI­FUL

The hand­ful of cos­metic up­grades to four vari­ants of the Raider dou­ble cab: the 2.8 GD-6 Raider Black 4x2 man­ual, 2.8 GD-6 Raider Black 4x2 auto, and the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider Black and 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider Black auto, adds just the right amount of brawn to the Hilux.

Care­ful not to over­dress it, the op­tional ex­te­rior up­dates in­clude a black roof and black front grille; front bumper guard and black styling bar; a ton­neau cover and ex­clu­sive 18” al­loy wheels; and colour­matched side-mir­rors and ex­te­rior door han­dles. On the in­side, leather adorns the elec­tri­cally ma­nip­u­lated (front only) seats.

In con­trast to its name, though, the Black Edi­tion isn’t ac­tu­ally avail­able in black. You can get it in ei­ther of three ex­te­rior colours, namely Graphite Grey Metal­lic (which is dark enough for us), Chromium Sil­ver, and Glacier White.

Ex­pect to pay around R28,000 more for the Black Edi­tion-spe­cific ex­tras, adding up to a to­tal of R585,300.

NICER NAVARA

We’ve spo­ken out be­fore about the new Nis­san dou­ble cab (Driven, April 2017), giv­ing credit where it’s due, but not­ing that the Navara would likely never quite live up to the hype that the first gen­er­a­tion cre­ated.

In the fi­nal anal­y­sis, though, the Navara re­mains one of the most com­pe­tent pick­ups in the coun­try, con­sid­er­ing its unique twin-tur­bod­iesel en­gine and darn de­cent sus­pen­sion set-up. There’s also no deny­ing that it is both tough and ex­tremely ca­pa­ble off-road, and – the un­gainly tail­gate ‘lip’ aside– that it looks great.

In stan­dard LE trim, the Navara stocks up on satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and rear park dis­tance con­trol as stan­dard. Both are not even an op­tion on the price-com­par­a­tive man­ual Hilux Raider 4x4 Black, which we tested. An elec­tri­cally-ad­justed driver seat is an op­tion, as is leather trim.

Stun­ning 18” rims adorn the Navara LE, while LED day­time run­ning lights and chrome mir­ror hous­ings are stan­dard.

Nis­san’s of­fers an ex­ten­sive op­tions list for the new Navara. Our test unit had a num­ber of th­ese fit­ted in­clud­ing a black nudge bar and rub­berised steel run­ning boards; head- and tail­light sur­rounds as well as a tow­bar; a ton­neau cover and black sports bar, and a black plas­tic bon­net guard – all in for an ad­di­tional R33,000 bucks over the R567,900 ask­ing price.

The price hike seems well worth it con­sid­er­ing that the Nis­san has the up­per hand over its ri­val re­gard­ing over­all power and torque out­put, with lower fuel con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sions com­ing along for the ride.

Speak­ing of ride, Navara beats its com­peti­tor hands down for over­all ride com­fort.

LAST WORD

Draw­ing a Rand-for-Rand com­par­i­son be­tween th­ese leisure go­liaths is a tall ask. Where you gain on the swings for the one, you lose on the round­about for the other. Both bakkies do a great job of rais­ing the bar in their seg­ment, and of chal­leng­ing the hugely pop­u­lar Ranger, as the equally tal­ented Mitsubishi Triton nips at all their heels.

For us, the pen­du­lum swings to­wards the Navara for its power ad­van­tage, ride qual­ity, and ex­clu­siv­ity fac­tor, although the Hilux of­fers a slightly bet­ter deal in terms of price and stan­dard spec.

It’s a tough call, but it’s an equally tough mar­ket, where buy­ers are noth­ing if not spoilt for choice.

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