‘Beast view’ on the island

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Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

IN December 2017 Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) demonstrated to the market the practical application of its Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) feature in actual driving conditions via a trip to La Union province using the new X-Trail enhanced with the NIM-innovated Around View Monitor (AVM), Forward Collision Warning, and Intelligent Emergency Braking.

NIM, the practical application of the Japanese car maker’s vision of “Zero Emissions, Zero Fatality,” was first integrated into the new X-Trail SUV during the vehicle’s launch in September 2017. It was also during that occasion when NPI committed to make such enhanced active safety technologies present in the vehicles it would introduce to the Philippines from then on.

On March 12-13, NPI re-affirmed that commitment when it organized a 300-kilometer media ride-and-drive of the Nissan Navara 4×4 VL pickups — now equipped with the AVM — around Oriental Mindoro.

The pickup that NPI tagged as “tough and smart” just got more “intelligent” with the addition of the AVM system, which gives the Navara four strategically placed cameras to allow its driver a virtual, composite 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the pickup’s immediate surroundings. If the X-Trail’s AVM made it possible for the urban driver to avoid unseen objects, pedestrians and oncoming vehicles in the concrete jungle, then the Navara’s makes it possible for the hardy off-road driver to carefully negotiate his or her way past logs, boulders, tree branches and narrow forest passes with rocky outcroppings.

The useful AVM was ably demonstrated by automotive expert Georges B. Ramirez as he toured participants on a short but tricky course on the steep slopes of Mount Malasimbo in northern Oriental Mindoro, the same site where the popular annual Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival is held. With just a press of the display button, the AVM activated on the center monitor provides both the bird’s eye view of the entire vehicle, and the detailed view of the vehicle’s blind spots. Another press zooms in on these blind spots, as if the driver had a human “spotter” alighting from the car and looking more closely at the potential point of impact.

The lengthy driving, as well as the special off-road course, re-acquainted the participants with the distinct ride and performance features of the Navara, such as: the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder diesel power plant with a VGS turbo that, when mated to a seven-speed A/T, is capable of generating 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque; the Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start; the multi-link rear suspension for improved ride and handling comfort; and the vehicle dynamic control, traction control system, hill-start assist and hill-descent control.

In the 4×4 and 4×2 versions of the Navara with AVM, new modifications have also been added, including leather seats with power-adjustable driver’s seat (for the 4×4 VL variant), 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails (for the 4×2), and Isofix and tethers/anchors (both 4×4 and 4×2) for people bringing infants and children.

The AVM feature is available in the Navara 4×2 EL 6M/T Calibre, 4×2 EL 7A/T Calibre, 4×4 EL 6M/T, 4×4 VL 6M/T and 4×4 VL A/T variants, which also have reduced prices of up to P143,000 because of exemptions granted to pickup trucks in the new automotive tax scheme.