South African bakkie fans are competitive about their vehicles, with durability often being the apex point of any argument.
In principle, a bakkie must be reliable and be capable of working hard for a living – running for years on end, without any complaint.
For a hardworking bakkie to reach 500 000 without any significant mechanical malady, is notable. Once a bakkie clocks 750 000km, without any major issue, that is even more noteworthy.
Nissan Navara: ‘Remarkable reliability’
A few select bakkies make it to 1 000 000km, without an engine replacement. These are examples of bakkies which were assembled by truly committed technicians. And Nissan can now claim to having one of the most remarkably reliability bakkies ever built.
The vehicle in question is a previous-generation D40 Navara. This bakkie is the model range which made Navara so revered in South Africa and was replaced in 2017 by the third-generation double cab.
Although the D23-series Navara has proven a lot less successful, despite its sophisticated coil-sprung rear suspension and a platform that was considered enough for Mercedes-Benz, the fact remains that Nissan’s bakkie legacy remains strong.
In the United States (US), the new D23 has not been introduced. Despite being the world’s largest bakkie market, the US still make do with the D40-series Navara and despite an ageing design, these bakkies are proving wonderfully robust.
RUNNING WAY PAST A MILLION KMs
Very few bakkies can claim to have worked as hard for a living, as Brian Murphy’s Navara King Cab. Running as a door-to-door courier vehicle in Illinois and the Great Lakes region, in 13 years, Brian’s Navara has run 1 600 000km.
What makes this Navara’s mileage and durability even more remarkable, is that it was accomplished with very little in the way of mechanical issues. The original radiator lasted until 720 000km.
Brian’s Navara used the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and only required a new timing at 1 120 000km. Amazingly, its original clutch functioned perfectly well until 1 300 000km.
When the bakkie finally ran past 1 600 000km, in January, Murphy though about replacing it. Nissan has been so impressed with the service and care that Brian extracted from his bakkie, that they offered him a great swap deal on a brand new, 3.8-litre V6 version.