Old Navara Rivals Ford Raptor

Nissan has revealed a concept bakkie that shames Ford's Raptor.

As part of the Japanese brand’s presence at this year’s SEMA show, Nissan commissioned a very special version of its current Frontier. It might be finished in battleship grey, but there is nothing at all subtle about this bakkie.

The Frontier is, of course, a previous-generation Navara, which remains part of Nissan’s American bakkie portfolio. Using this dated bakkie platform as its departure point Nissan, with the assistance of some American specialist fabricators, has created a very radical 'old' Navara.

The only factory panels on this king cab Navara are its roof and doors. The bonnet, fenders and loadbin sides have all been reshaped to either provide superior cooling airflow or accommodate huge tyres. Nissan also deleted the tailgate, to create quick access to the spare wheel.

From this SEMA Navara’s stance, it is obviously built for serious off-road work. Triple bypass front shocks, with coilovers, help it to absorb the impact from landing jumps, whilst a long-travel rear suspension, with a custom axle casing and leaf-springs, make sure it can survive just about any terrain at speed.

Interestingly, this SEMA Navara is rear-wheel drive only, as is the case with many American racing trucks, specially built for desert driving. To aid traction, it rolls huge 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires.

The cabin is a curious baled of mid-2000s Navara plastic mouldings and some contemporary aftermarket racing components: such as the steering wheel, shifter, digital data logger and a rally-style raised handbrake.

Powering the SEMA Navara is Nissan’s largest capacity V8 engine, which has also been turbocharged. The 5.6-litre V8, which is familiar to South African Nissan customers in the current Patrol station wagon, sees power surge to 447kW and 900Nm, thanks to its Garrett turbocharger and some forged internals.

All that power runs to a rear differential only, via a six-speed manual transmission. If you do get in a spot of bother, there is an air-locker function for the rear-differential, to ensure better traction in tricky terrain.

This 2019 SEMA Nissan show bakkie shows that the previous Navara, to many, remains a more endearing vehicle than the new one.

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