HILUX BLACK EDITION VS NISSAN NAVARA
The bakkie battle heats up
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.
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.
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.