Expert Car Picks: Which Nissan would we buy?
Search Driven for Nissan for sale
Famous for sports cars and some of the most iconic cars of the modern era, GT-R, Z, Silvia and even Leaf, there’s an eclectic mix in Nissan’s line-up, but which one would we choose with our own money?
That’s the question posed by Expert Car Picks, and with the bulk of the current line-up catering to the huge popularity of SUVs, there’s plenty to choose from: Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail, Pathfinder and Patrol: in fact four of Nissan’s current seven models are SUVs, with the 370Z quietly slipping off the sales charts, as we countdown to the new Z.
So with their personal budget and needs prioritised, the DRIVEN teams takes a browse around the Nissan new car website to find which cars they’d buy and recommend, with their own money.
Andrew: Nissan Navara PRO-4X
I've always been a fan of the Navara for its looks and capabilites, and the latest iteration has only added to both of those aspects as it now looks like the American Nissan Titan.
I’m sucker for things that look cool, so if I had my choice of the Navara range, I’d be the PRO-4X Double Cab with all the bells and whistles. By this, I mean the black fender flares, sport bar, off-road tyres, and of course, the decal package. Also, as the name suggests, it’s a 4X4 model.
Under the bonnet of every new Navara model sits a twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine that makes 140kW and 450Nm. Thanks to this modern power plant, fuel consumption is kept at a respectable 7.5L/100km. Unlike a lot of range-topping utes in New Zealand, this PRO-4X can be had with either an automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, which scores it a heap of brownie points in my eyes.
Like most in its segment, the Navara is capable of towing up to 3.5-tonnes.
On the inside, the Navara's interior is one of the nicest on the market, and this ST-X gets leather heated seats for those cold morning commutes. The PRO-4X gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
While the PRO-4X’s starting price of $67,990 is a little higher than the Navara’s entry point of $41,990, I’d argue that you be hard-pressed to find a better-looking 4X4 ute with a manual transmission for the same money in New Zealand.
Sam: Nissan X-Trail
In New Zealand, the Nissan offers the X-Trail in five grades, starting with the ST 2WD at $36,790. While this is an impressive-looking offer, I'd have to go with the range-topping Ti 4WD with all the bells and whistles.
Because getting off the beaten track is a priority for me, 4WD is a must, and the Intelligent 4x4 with Hill Descent Control would likely make light work of my beach escapades.
At $55,640 this Ti 4WD comes packed with an impressive suite of tech including adaptive cruise control, Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, and a motion-activated tailgate.
On the inside, it gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as room for up to seven occupants with three rows of seating.
With three kids in the crew, that aspect is more important than one would think.
David: Nissan Leaf
Tens of thousands of budget-priced used-import Nissan Leafs have certainly done wonders for the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) landscape in New Zealand, but I’m not sure they’ve done a lot for the image of the latest model.
So allow me to redress the balance a little, especially in these Clean Car Discount times. The second-generation Leaf is one of the most polished BEVs you can buy at any price, which is no less than you’d expect because Nissan’s been doing this for over a decade now.
Build quality is exemplary (not something you can say about some of its obvious sub-$60k rivals), you can choose how you want to drive with a switchable e-pedal (maximum throttle-off regeneration or none at all) and it’s absolutely loaded with active safety driver aids. It’s just a very complete family-car package and there’s isn’t a BEV brand out there with a better track record for reliability and battery durability.
The $61,990 base model offers decent range of 270km from its 40kWh battery, but Nissan NZ also now offers the 385km/62kWh Leaf e+ for $69,990. Whichever way you go, the Leaf is eligible for the full $8625 BEV Clean Car Discount, so let’s call it $53,365 or $61,365. And let’s call it a zero-emissions deal.
Dean: Nissan Qashqai
No question, I’d love a GT-R, but from $200k+, it’s out of my budget. Way out. Really looking forward to the new Z, too, but we need to buy what’s available now.
So for me, it’s a process of elimination, and with a family of three kids, it’s an SUV, and I don’t go off-roading either, so the natural choice is the just-announced, all-new Qashqai. Aside from the mental challenge of having to spell it all the time, the order books have just opened for the medium-sized SUV.
With all models using the new 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder that offers both more power and torque than the outgoing 2.0 while using less fuel (6.1 vs 6.9l/100km/h), the real choice comes down to which spec of the four offered, which is worth diving into.
The entry level ST offers 17-inch wheels, auto LED headlights with DRLs, 7-inch gauge cluster and 8-inch touchscreen, with Apple/Android connection. Intelligent cruise, emergency braking, rear AEB with pedestrian protection, lane departure, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, front and rear sensors and a parking camera all tick some very good safety boxes, as does the new central airbag to prevent front occupants hitting each other in a crash. Though prices are yet to be announced, at circa $37k (for the outgoing model) the question is would I need to go higher spec?
The ST+ adds LED fog lights, 18-inch alloys and auto wipers, plus a 9-inch touchscreen and Around-View Monitor.
The ST-L adds 19-inch alloys, adaptive headlights, tinted glass, roof rails and LED indicators, plus leather, eight-way electric heated driver’s seat, wireless phone charging and dual-zone climate.
At the top of the tree, the Ti offers a panoramic roof, ambient lighting, 10.8-inch HUD and 12.3-inch touchscreen, plus Bose audio system, memory and massage seats, auto power tailgate and Park
Assist. The otgoing model was $45k, so the value-for-money equation is there. Or was. We’re still waiting for new model prices.
Personally, while I’d love the Ti (who wouldn’t), value for money, I’d likely be sticking with the entry level ST and saving the $7k.
The order book opened this month, and it’s the Nissan in the current range that I’d be putting my order in for. Though that new Z does look very appealing…