REVIEW | How a stealthy Navara stole the deal
The Nissan Navara Stealth is a great under-the-radar alternative to the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, writes Brenwin Naidu
An email arrived from an Ignition TV viewer wanting advice. The question was from a retiree seeking to explore the natural beauty offered by our country. A leisure-focused double-cab was on the agenda and the choices were between a Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux. The models in question were automatic, 4x4 derivatives in the middle-to-top ranges of specification.
My points were simple. I said the Hilux would likely last longer. That the resale would be stronger. And that the benefit of having a Toyota dealership on every street corner would bring peace of mind. Then I said that the Ranger would make a far more pleasant companion on dirt roads, with its superior ride quality. And that the interior ambience and quality of the Blue Oval product struck me as more sophisticated. Great, he said: he was leaning towards the Ford and he appreciated the affirmation.
This weekend he wrote in again to say that he was now the proud owner of a Nissan Navara Stealth, in 4x4 guise with an automatic gearbox. He said the decision came after watching a Buyers’ Guide episode in which Mark White, of Mark White Nissan, featured on the show. He sent an email to the dealer principal and expected a salesperson to contact him instead. How surprised he was when Mark White himself gave him a call, structured a deal all within budget and threw in five accessories.
To be honest, the Navara, let alone the limited-edition Stealth, did not cross my mind as a recommendation. An oversight I am reflecting on as I summon the words to summarise a week-long stint with the model not too long ago.
Indeed, there are a few underrated offerings in the pick-up market that fall into the periphery since the focus generally zones in on the perennial sales battle between the Toyota and its American nemesis. Although last month (August); the Ranger was knocked into third place by the little Nissan NP200.
Back to the Stealth. It was seemingly conceived to cash in on the slew of limited-edition pick-up models hitting the market. Think Ford Ranger Raptor. The Arctic Trucks rendition of the Isuzu D-Max. And the Toyota Hilux GR-Sport, which was the subject of mixed emotions from this scribe on these very pages. And like the Hilux GR-Sport, the Navara Stealth is very much a colouring-in job… Black and orange trim pieces comprise the extent of the exterior changes.
And the same applies to the cabin, where sprinklings of black and orange were thrown in. Of course, we should not neglect to mention the custom decals splashed around. Perhaps we are being harsh. The Navara, even without this half-baked sticker upgrade, is a commendable base. Mercedes-Benz thought so too as you know.
That five-link rear suspension ought to keep our travelling reader comfortable over most surfaces out there. And the stout performance from the 2.3-litre, turbocharged-diesel four-cylinder (140kW and 450Nm) is more than up to standard. As is the smooth-shifting, seven-speed automatic it is paired to.
Ranging between R582,200 and R647,500, the Stealth is a special edition which is not all that special. But maybe they were right to call it the Stealth. Because its arrival offered a subtle reminder that the core Navara range remains something to carefully consider in the double-cab pick-up market – in addition two those two domineering horses.