Reader test: Nissan Hardbody
At the beginning of the year I decided it was time for a new bakkie. Having driven a Ford Bantam for the past year I decided it was time for a big bakkie with a lot of power and some off road capability. Being an outdoor enthusiast I wanted something rugged, that wouldn't mind getting dirty and staying dirty for a while.
Having looked at 25 bakkies and test driven 21 over a two-month period (both petrol and diesel), I decided on this 2004 Nissan Hardbody 2.4i 16V 4x4 Single Cab for a crazy R76 000. It had 135 000km on the clock and was an ex-Avis bakkie.
The two biggest selling points for me were the vinyl interior and the 4X4 capability. Some people would say I am crazy to want a vinyl interior, but I wanted seats that wouldn’t mind a wet wetsuit and muddy boots. The bakkie was in really good nick so I didn’t take all that long to decide.
I must admit the Hardbody impresses me in many ways. It has a lot of power, especially low down, and can pull heavy loads with ease. On the highway, I cruise easily at 100-120 km/h with enough power to spare should I want to pass something - even on an uphill.
The bakkie is not designed for high speed driving, but it has enough power should you need it. Off-road, it impresses me even more. Handling various Grade 3 off road conditions without any modifications, the powerful 2.4 16V engine climbs Atlantis’ dunes with ease, making some Land Rovers and Isuzus look bad.
The Hardbody is cheap to maintain, with my last service being R540 including parts from a RMI- and AA-registered mechanic. After 150 000km on the clock it has less rattles than my old Bantam with 30 000km; everything feels solid and secure.
The bakkie tends to be quite thirsty with my highway consumption being just over 8l/km at 100km/l and town driving it drops to around 6.5 km/l. That gives me around 650-700km per 90 litre fuel tank on a mixed driving cycle.
With the bakkie having the “standard” spec level, I must admit I do miss aircon sometimes. I had to have my own radio/CD player installed, but at least the bakkie has power steering.
It is not the most comfortable (read “fancy”) bakkie in the world, but it fits my lifestyle like a glove. It is about as reliable as you are going to get, and easy to fix if you do have a problem.
You can with a Nissan.
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