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Life, road kill and a Navara

2007-04-20 15:13

Dave Moseley

Nissan Navara

Three Minis collapsed in an inferiority-induced heap, while a Volkswagen broke down in tears as my colossal manhood lurched from the garage and onto the side streets of Cape Town.

Out of my way girly city cars, monster street behemoth coming through. That's right, you in the sedan, yes, you, move it. I've got a giant bakkie, it's not mine and I'm not afraid to use it.

Such are the destructive thoughts that fill your diesel-addled mind when sitting behind the wheel of Nissan's monstrous Navara.

This wasn't the most evil-looking beast, a light-blue metallic paint job took some of the fright factor off, but the sheer length and width of the Navara is enough to have pedestrians gawking in envy and Big Issue vendors leaping for their lives at traffic intersections. And if you ever have to fetch someone from the airport, borrow a Navara.

Park it anywhere

At Cape Town International's chaotic 'drive thru' section not one person dared to hoot, even though I had arrogantly stopped in the middle of the road. When I did move I just parked on top of a Porsche. Sweet.

My own little bakkie is pretty cool, I can squeeze just about every toy in the back for an adventure filled weekend, but this Navara beast is a beauty. Women swooned at my motoring manliness as I bounced over pavements and crushed traffic circles with destructive no-nonsense handling of the bakkie.

Men gathered on street-corners and traded envious whispers with each other. I could see that they wanted what I had. On more than one occasion I caught sight of grizzled, khaki-clad gents lustfully eyeing out my prize ride. And the best part. It's not my car, so I was safe in the knowledge that size of my ride wasn't compensating for anything else.

The lifestyle associated with this kind of gas-guzzler does not require a stretch of the imagination. Sure, for what is essentially just a bakkie, it is a flashy car. But when you think Navara your mind immediately drifts off to images of adrenalin filled activities.

You picture thrill-seeking men and women loading the car with gear that the faint of heart would not even look at. You think 'hell, I could take the kids to school, drive the dogs around all day and still have time to do the Dakar Rally in this baby'.

Navara's pulling power

If you walk past the Nissan showroom and you start to drool at the sight of the Navara and begin imagining how many mountain bikes and surfboards you can cram into it, or how much petrol you might need to traverse Africa, then it won't be too long before you're driving one.

You don't choose the Nissan Navara, your lifestyle chooses it. For maximum Navara enjoyment you need the right toys to accompany the ride. You can throw bikes, running kit, tents, rock-climbing gear, a small sheep and anything else you can get your hands on in to the back of this bakkie and you'll be A-for-away for an adventure of a lifetime.

I didn't have a sheep, but I managed to shove everything else into the back. Including a bemused hitch-hiker who I insisted needed to come along to Grabouw with me. I couldn't care less that he was heading to Fish Hoek.

The real test of the Navara's impact is not in driving it around the city bowl, but rather taking it out to an event where like-minded, and soon to be consumed by raging jealousy, folks would be able to witness its colossal grandness. And it meant I could drive right into the middle of the parking lot and unload all my kit looking for all the world like a pro-athlete.

All set for the extreme

The Duesouth Xterra, an extreme off-road triathlon, was just the ticket. I packed my mountain bike and other gritty accessories snugly into the Navara, splashed on some mud for 'driven-in' effect, and growled my way along Cape Town's N2 out to Grabouw. I couldn't help but smile smugly as I drove past other competitors crushed inside their hatchbacks with mountain bike pedals sticking into their ears and other assorted gear adding to the discomfort. So long suckers. See you at the chiropractor.

There's certainly an element of cool arriving at an off-road triathlon in a car that fits the occasion. Despite the Navara quite patently not being a sports car it still manages to turn heads.

As the parking lot hushed for my arrival you could hear envy dripping from instantly infatuated lips. "Ooh, dear, if only I had that. We could pack the kids in, the dog, granny and all the camping gear." No Gerald, there's nothing wrong the station wagon. It suits us just fine. "Yes, dear." Now go get granny out the boot. I think she's eating all the NikNaks.

Looking the part

At least if I bombed on my race I could always take comfort from one thing: if I can't race the part, at least I'll look the part driving off into the dusty sunset in my larger-than-life bakkie.

Driving to the Xterra in the newfound love of my life put me into a positive frame of mind. The event starts off with a swim, goes into a mountain bike and ends with leg-murdering trail run. I'm not much of a swimmer, but daydreaming about squashing helpless forest animals in the Navara had raised my spirits to such heights that I set off in the water like an Olympic hopeful.

Reality set in after 30 metres when a fellow swimming straggler decided to pull out his best backstroke moves and promptly kicked me in the chin. From that moment on the race went by in a daze of towering hill climbs, thunderous downhill charges and aching, foot-tenderising running. But oh my, how splendid it was to finally finish and recline against the back of my glistening tail gate.

While other grimy athletes, bodies no doubt aching, clambered into their little cars, I simply sat in the back of the Navara and surveyed the scene with a smile. All I needed to complete the picture was a loyal border collie sitting by my side.

  • For a road test of the Nissan Navara click here.
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