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Whether you've got a Tico or a Lexus, a Daelim or a Harley, this is the forum to discuss transport in Cambodia. Where to buy it, how much to pay and what to do when the wheels fall off.
Okay, THIS will probably be my last review for a while.
IMPORTANT: If you're looking at this review and are considering a diesel Navarra (the Thai version of this truck), DON'T. The Navarra is plagued with all kind of build quality problems, so don't bother using this review for information on the Navarra, because it's a completely different truck.
The truck: ($18,000) 2006 Nissan Frontier 4 door, 4x4, front end wreck, 126,000 miles
This truck was purchased 3 months ago as a front end wreck. I didn't see the wreck, only the finished product. I can only assume it's a minor wreck as the frame was untouched. Odometer was not flashed however, at least it doesn't seem to be flashed. Registration in the glovebox matched closely, so one thing you might score on if you buy a Nissan in Cambodia, is a genuinely good truck with less than a million miles.
This truck is equipped with the 4.0 motor which is more than plenty (in my opinion too much for Cambodia).
Inside are leather seats, power seats, power mirrors, auto climate, locking centre diff, a bunch of other stuff.
If I were to purchase a pickup, I'd go for the 4 door 10 out of 10 times after seeing how much stuff the cab holds. Remember your pickup bed is no safe place for any possessions, so inner storage space is an important factor like when transporting wooden elephant statues.
New tyres were $600 and replaced after the truck was purchased.
What's it like to drive? Great seating position (high up), and not too bulky when compared to anything else.
The power (260 horsepower and 280 torque) is completely overkill for the Kingdom of Wandering obstacles, and unless you're on a wide open country road with zero people, you'll never make full use of the power. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have when passing the oversized lorry in a hurry (and yes I know that does happen), but fuel consumption is quite bad and the extra maintenance and cost of potential engine repairs, etc. I'm on the fence if it's worth going for all that power in exchange for fuel costs. For in town driving though, the V6 is very smooth and is easy to drive very slowly. Something I can't say for the V6 Tacoma.
Around town driving this truck is "Ideal" sized, meaning for what it is, it's manageable and easy to control. It's nothing like a Tundra or Merc S-class, and yet gives you that nice comfortable ride over potholes and rough surfaces. I was genuinely surprised at the ride quality, I thought it would be a break your back experience being an off road pickup, but it took the bumps and falls very nicely.
On the open road it was very nice to drive, rode very comfortably, and not as wobbly as you'd expect, handling wise. It has a solid enough feel to give you some confidence when passing a large truck, and the extra engine power to boot made long trips rather pleasant. For longer trips I can't say anything bad about it besides the fuel consumption.
4 wheel drive and high ground clearances gives you peace of mind too.
I know it's completely subjective, but I like seeing full time 4WD as an option to select and if I ever do get an SUV or truck in Cambodia, I'm going to make sure it has this.
Visibility is also good, so in all, no complaints after driving it all over town. Easy to drive, easy to manage, and I love the raised seating position.
Practicality? Not so great, but it is nice at times to have excess.
There's no way around this...SINGLE DIGIT FUEL ECONOMY in Phnom Penh. 9 mpg US (26.3 L/100 or 3.8 km/l) was what I averaged in traffic. On the open road to Kampong Cham, 20 mpg US was all she could muster when being gentle, (11.8L/100km or 8.5 km/l)
Being a Nissan I wondered about parts availability, but apparently my brother in law has had no trouble find Nissan spec fluids, oil and transmission filters, etc. I don't know about drivetrain parts, but being that the Navara (Thai variant) is somewhat popular here, I'd assume parts wouldn't be too hard to find. After all, they had some god awful chrome taillamp covers, why not other stuff?
Also being a 4x4 there is a lot more to service such as the transfer case, front and rear differentials, etc, so that adds to the maintenance bills too, but not devastatingly.
Seating capacity is up to 5, but the bed is short if you have the 4 door, so only another 5 or so in the back comfortably.
Conclusion, final thoughts? All around great daily driver, but it's got way more power than you'll ever need.
Honestly, there's no reason you'll ever need to or be able to go 0-100 kph in 6.5 seconds here, but that's what makes this truck fun. Sure the fuel economy is terrible but remember in Cambodia you cover much less distance vs. other places, so it's not as bad as you might think.
Personally if it was my choice, I'd go with a 4.0 V6 Nissan over a V6 Tacoma if a V6 was required for whatever reason such as towing, or it's all that's available. Remember, go with the vehicle in the best condition for the price when choosing, don't just think by the spec sheet here.
One of my vehicles in the U.S. is a 4WD V6 Toyota Tacoma, so I can tell you the motor (3.4) is jittery in start and stop traffic, and being that it has SEVENTY (70) less horsepower than the Nissan, I see no reason to not choose the overpowered and much more fun Frontier if you're going to subject yourself to all the extra maintenance and fuel costs of 4x4 in the first place. Sure reliability wise the Tacoma is pretty bombproof and U.S. made Nissans a tad less reliable (but by no means bad if maintained properly), but coming from the Tacoma as a daily driver, I can tell you I like the Nissan much much more after driving it here. Should I ever return to the U.S., I would genuinely consider swapping my Taco for a Frontier.
If you're pinching pennies but need a truck, a diesel Nissan is of course far more practical (but a whole lot less reliable) so really in the end, I can't say I'd actually have chose a different truck if the choice was mine to be made. If I had to choose, I'd go with this exact package, make, model...everything but the chrome taillamp covers.
This has probably been one of the more enjoyable trucks I've driven here compared to a diesel Ranger, petrol Ranger, Tacoma 2WD, Tacoma V6 4WD, and...a few others I'm sure. It's a good manageable size, great ground clearance and decent off road capability, and it's fun when you want it to be.
Reckless driving cucumber - 成
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