Episode 276. Nissan Navara. DX03 LKV. (Part 7).

 Almost a year ago I found myself at a bit of a crossroads with this thing, as much as I liked it I found myself wanting to sell it out of nothing more than boredom really. The truth was that I really didn't want to get rid of it at all. In essence I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I decided that the way forwards would be to arm Mrs Clint up with it, it could be her truck, and that would leave me free to go out and get myself something new, and still keep the Navara. Trouble was, her Worshipfulness saw this coming, and bought herself (with my money) a mk1 Ranger super cab, or a rebadged fifth-generation Mazda B-Series pick up if you prefer. So that was my plans for it scuppered.

To make matters worse, and make it even more of a challenge to get her Worshipfulness to take on the Navara, and sell the Ranger I then found myself spluttering to a halt in the Sarn parc services alongside the M4 one Winters evening only to wait the best part of thirteen hours before the RAC got it recovered home for me. I'll be honest, once it was home I really didn't try all that hard to convince Mrs Clint that the Navara was the way forwards, instead I had the cause of the problem investigated, and it turned out to be nothing more sinister than the EGR valve calling it a day, which was promptly blanked off, and I continued to drive it and enjoy it whenever I needed a pick up. Since having it repaired I have done the best part of 2000 miles in it, and to be fair much like it was before, it's been faultless, and for the past couple of months I have been trying to persuade her Worshipfulness to part with the Ranger, and enjoy the Navara, but she's not having a bit of it, and so, despite my best efforts...

Away it goes! Dammit! I really didn't want to sell this thing, but as there seems to be no way I can convince Mrs Clint that this is better than the Ranger it's got to go, I still feel the need to buy something else, I have an itch to scratch. 

Over the years I've had a few pick ups, I started with the Tata Wifebeta, erm, Loadbeta, or Telcoline as it's known pretty much everywhere else. I bought that one in 1998 when I had an accident in my company van when a drunk woman pulled out infront of me, and I ploughed into the side of her car because I may have been going just a shade too briskly. As the company I was working for didn't have another van to give me while the insurance companies were fighting it out over whose fault is was (hers). I decided to splash out on my first pick up, and indeed first of six Tata pick ups to date, just so that I wouldn't ruin my Celeste driving it on and off building sites day in day out. I then didn't really have another pick up until my first little monster came along. (I did have a couple of P100's Both Cortina, and Sierra shape, but I don't really look at them as a proper pick up, more of a ute really). So with the arrival of my first little Monster along came a succession of crew cab type pick ups. I started (briefly) with a 1999 Dodge Dakota, which I had for about three months, but someone came along with a shiny red Camaro and asked me if I wanted to swap. Being the addict I am, I did, and instantly regretted it. I liked the Dakota, and I was nowhere near done with it, but I'd not had a Camaro yet, and needed it, so away the Dakota went. Damn! Anyhoo, despite me liking the Firebird the Camaro just wasn't for me, and I needed a pick up really, so I went out and got myself a second generation Ford Ranger. This was excellent, and completed several missions across Europe without any dramas before being replaced by a Chevrolet LUV. This, much like her Worshipfulness' Ford Ranger was really just a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, and much like the previous Ranger was absolutely faultless, even when I put petrol in the tank by mistake. I tried to follow this up with a Mitsubishi L200, but when I picked that up I thought it just wasn't very good, or atleast, not as good as the Chevrolet that it was replacing. On the day I brought the L200 home a friend of mine wanted to buy it from me, but despite me not loving it, I thought that I'd not had it long enough, and I wanted to experience it a bit more. I tried to sell him the Chevrolet, but he wasn't having it, he wanted the L200. So after a week of him badgering me to sell it to him, and me not really bonding with it I let him have it on the understanding that I'd only had it a week, and didn't know if it was a good truck or not. As it turned out, just three days later on his way home from work the L200 decided to put a rod through the side of the block, so I guess it wasn't very good after all, and I dodged a bit of a bullet there. As I'm sure you can imagine my friend was not very happy with me, however, as I'd pointed out to him I'd spent the best part of a week trying to convince him to have the Chevrolet as I'd only just bought the L200, but he was having none of it. I'll bet he wished he had listened to me and bought the Chevrolet instead, but I guess we'll never know, we don't really talk anymore... Weird. Anyhoo, I kept the Chevrolet a good while longer, and eventually selling it, much like the Navara, out of boredom, and this is where the story of the Navara and I started.

When I got it I remember thinking that I was pretty happy with it, but I wasn't sure it was my favourite of all the pick ups I've had. I thought it was more agricultural than the Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, and Ford that preceeded it in my automotive back catalogue. But maybe that was because they were all crew cabs, and perhaps the super cab was designed more with work in mind. But I thought that in time, maybe it'll grow on me a bit more. What I did like straight away was how it looked, I can remember being on site back when this shape Navara came out, and I really liked the look of it, especially the super cab, and even now 21 years after the facelifted version of the D22 series Navara came out I still think it's a nice looking truck. Perhaps even one of the best looking pick ups built? I dunno, maybe, but whatever it is, it's certainly not the worst looking one.

Despite being a little more agricultural than the second generation Ford Ranger, and the Chevrolet LUV inside it was still a pretty nice place to sit. My feeling is that the seats had always worn covers, and as such they were in great shape, even though it had the best part of 120,000 miles on it as it drove away from me the other day. When I bought it my two little monsters fitted in the little seats behind the front seats pretty easily, but several years later it's fair to say that my monsters are no longer so little, and having them both sat behind her Worshipfulness and I when we all go out together in it they are a little squashed until we reach the point where we're going, then they can't get out fast enough. It's fair to say that on the twenty odd mile drive to the New Forest to ride our bikes the other day there was a fair amount of complaining from the back seats. Something that they don't do when they're sitting in the back of the Ranger as I think the cab of that thing is marginally larger than the Navaras cab.

For a 19 year old work truck I think the bodywork on this was really very good. It did have one small rust patch on the side of the bed that I had cut out and repaired, but apart from that it was pretty much rust and dent free. Washing and polishing this thing really made it look very good, and I think that despite being almost twenty years old it was probably one of the most presentable pick ups that I've ever had the pleasure of owning. I never liked the wheels though, even back when these were new I can remember thinking that the wheels were horrible. At one point I did even buy some new wheels for it, but when I got them home and looked at them properly I thought that they really needed properly refurbishing, and as my go-to guy for this kind of work had recently got himself killed in an accident I never got around to getting them done. Shame really as I think they'd have looked so much better than the wheels on it. Ah well... Maybe the next one. A while back I got passed by another Navara of a similar vintage, although this one was a crew cab, and it had been played with a little. It had larger wheel arches, and bigger wheels with chunkier tyres to fill them. It looked pretty good to me, and I did find myself wondering if I was to do that treatment to mine, would that remove the need for me to find something new? I thought about if for a while, and even had a quick browse on t'internet looking for parts, but gave up pretty quickly as I decided that I probably didn't need another project pick up. As despite having parts robbed from it to keep the other ones going, I still have the best part of a Tata Loadbeta pick up sitting out in the corner of a farmers barn where I left it in 15 years or so ago, I've had a look lately, and it's still there, maybe it's time to venture out to it and drag it home to get working on it.

As good as the interior, and the exterior of this truck is, I think that the engine is where this thing really shines. It doesn't seem to matter how heavy the load in the bed is, or how big the trailer you're pulling is, it just pulls and pulls. It doesn't seem to run out of power or struggle ever. I seem to recall that this shape Navara, early on in their reign had a problem with their engines going off with a pop, and Nissans fix for this was to fit a newer, and larger engine. My feeling is that this probably got a new engine when it was pretty young, and it's still going strong almost twenty years later. Whilst it's not ever going to be the fastest truck in the world it had more than enough power to spin the rear wheels or even put the needle of the speedo deep into the three digit area (on a private test track obviously) without any trouble at all. I think that my Dakota with its 3.9litre petrol V6 was probably faster, and my last Tata with it's 3.5litre V8 definitely was, but they both had petrol engines. This was easily as good as my newer diesel powered Ranger and LUV, and far far better than my L200. With the exception of my little EGR incident this has been 100% reliable, it's just been superb.

But is it my favourite? I don't think so, but that being said I think the only reason it isn't is because of my rose tinted memory of my Dodge Dakota. For whatever reason, even though I only had that thing for three or four months I still think about it with much fondness. I liked it, or atleast, in my memory I liked it, but I guess the only way to know for sure would be to get another one, but here in the UK you just don't see them come up for sale all that often. But whenever I see one I think I'd quite like another. Time will tell of course, but right now it's just far too expensive to be dragging one back from Americaland anytime soon. So is it my favourite pick up outside of a Dodge Dakota? Well, yes, and no. I think that one of the things I like about it is how it looks, I like that super cab look more than I like the crew cab look, but my feeling is that if I'd have had a Chevrolet LUV super cab I'd probably think that was the best, but only just.

So where do we go from here? Well, obviously Mrs Clint still has her Ranger, and I guess that even though it's not really as good as the Navara it will serve as family pick up for the time being. But I am sort of quietly on the lookout for something else. I've had the Ford, I've had the Mitsubishi, I've had the Isuzu (even though it was badged as a Chevrolet), I've had the Mazda (even though it's badged as a Ford), and I've had the Nissan. But there's one that I've not yet had, and I feel that really, I should scratch that itch and have one so that I can see how good they are, even though, for whatever reason they're always so much more expensive than anyone else's offering. But maybe it's time to spend the money, and indulge. However, for now with funds at an all time low I'll have to make do with her Worshipfulness'  Ranger... If she'll let me!