Society & Success

New Nissan pick-up gives owner value for money

Nissan NP200 comes with better features than its predecessor B140 and it is cheaper to run, especially for entrepreneurs.
Nissan NP200 comes with better features than its predecessor B140 and it is cheaper to run, especially for entrepreneurs. 

You must be in a wrong place - the Miss World Kenya contest is over there.”

What are some of the best “pick-up” lines you have heard or used in your adult life? Here is one that caught my attention. “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.”

Some lines work and others don’t. If you are declared homeless before Valentine’s next week here is one you should NOT use. “Roses are red, violets are blue, how would you like it if I came home with you?” It is so basic it could earn you a deserving slap on the face.

In the world of vehicular ‘pick-up’ lines, basic is a not a bad thing for the simple reason that these cars perform very specific tasks that are mainly commercial. I have had the pleasure of spending some quality time in a collection of pick-ups from Toyota to Ford and more recently, Nissan.

On the fourth day of the 2012 Nissan Challenge and I am in Eldoret familiarising myself with the little NP200. I do not intend to beat its drum but it is a worthy successor of the rather basic Datsun 1200 pick-up popularly referred to as ‘ndebe’. This unique vehicle has done service to the budding entrepreneur for many years and I personally have fond memories, as it is how I learned to drive along the back roads of Kajiado and Namanga at the Tanzania border.

What makes this vehicle so easy to live with? For starters it drives like a normal saloon car and is nippy around town. It is so basic you will hardly have any downtime, which is important for the hard working business person. The NP200 is nothing like the B140 it replaces as it now comes with a spacious interior and more carrying capacity.

It also answers several demands die-hard followers of the ‘ndebe’ requested. More space on the inside from legroom to headroom. Now you can store your tools behind the driver’s seat and adjust your backrest, something the big-bodied will welcome with stretched arms. Extensive storage capacity includes glove box, door bins and drink holders under the central console as well as storage space behind the seat for your weekend getaways.

From half tonne you now have payload capacity of 800kg, over 200kg more than the B140. It also has a bigger loadbox measuring 1.25 cubic metres, which also comes rubberised. The load area is 1807mm long and 1024mm wide between the wheel arches which means you can carry a lot more than the previous model. Speaking or rubbers, when the NP200 puts rubber to the road it performs respectably. The 1598cc engine manages 64kW at 5500rpm up from 47kW in the B140. Torque of 128Nm peaks at 3000rpm. That is enough to get you through your day at an average fuel consumption of 8.1 litres every 100km. That’s about 12km on every litre of super petrol and you have 50-litre capacity in the tank up from 45 in the previous model.

While the four-cylinder is no stormer on the highway you should not complain at the end of many years of ownership. It is the cheapest pick-up to run. Everything, from the 185/65/15 inch tyres to the service costs are designed to offer value to the entrepreneur looking to keep costs low. The ground clearance of 177mm is up from 160mm and that should allow you to venture even where roads are more like 4x4 training courses.

Only time will tell which pick-up is king. I will continue to explore what is on offer and bring you the verdict soon. In the meantime, choose your pick-up carefully to avoid getting slapped with huge costs. Have a happy and low maintenance Valentine’s Day.

Like a good pick up truck, love need not be an expensive affair.

As you deliver your supplies to the Cash and Carry supermarkets that are popping up in every suburb, safety is not a virtue you show expect. You must never drive this car fast as it is not designed to crash but to carry. So the missing the passenger airbag is by design and not an omission. In its place your passenger gets more storage space and a vanity mirror. In case things go very wrong the driver has Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic brake Distribution (EBD). If despite this electronic aides your driving skills do not help the driver’s air bag and collapsible steering safety steering will be your last line of defence.

As you can see everything about Nissan NP200 is better than the car it replaces and lucky not to have any competition, yet. It was built fresh from the ground up and engineered to deliver value and it has. Can we say the same of the rest of the Nissan range? Perhaps not, as the competition is ferociously stiff. With the recent introduction of the new Ford Ranger T6 and a refreshed Toyota Hilux the market offers you a wide range of choice. The only weak link in the current collection of popular pickup models I have sampled might be the locally assembled Isuzu D-Max.