Nissan Challenge : Day 1
When I started the DT Dobie Nissan Challenge, the first pickup I was allowed to use was the NP300 Double Cabin Pickup. Atoti.
View Day 1 : Mombasa – Nairobi in a larger map
This was when it all became real. Until this point, the Nissan Challenge been a series of emails, phonecalls and meetings.
Finally the whole team assembled in the Mombasa afternoon heat,we got the final briefing, Atoti was set up on a platform, the rest of the cars arranged on the side, the speeches began, “All protocols observed” and whatnot. But you could see it on peoples face, all eyes were on the car. And what a car!
I think starting with “Atoti” was symbolic.
The car is a pioneer, pickups were never status symbols until it was introduced to the market. The premium double cabin segment exists because of this car.
When it was launched, it was powered by a 3.3L V6. The new one, the one I’d be driving was powered by an all new 2.5 litre version. “Smaller engine?” I thought to myself. “Hmm…”
All doubts were put to rest when I got in and put my foot down.
The acceleration on the new 2.5 turbodiesel is really quite impressive. You shift into second and the car literally jumps! It can easily get up to and sustain speeds of up to 160 kp/h the legal speed limit as prescribed by the Kenya Police.
There are signs of age, it has ony 2 cup holders, and they’re deep in the centre console, you have to twist your body to get at them. Theres not too much space in the dash for your stuff, you have to store sunglasses, mobile phones, keys, CD cases etc in the area around the gear lever, then of course, there are the rear seats.
Its not perfect, but that’s actually an advantage. Its an honest car, it doesn’t pretend to be something its not. You feel you can trust it. You’re always confident it will handle anything you throw at it.
Owners of premium offroaders will rarely take them off road, even in traffic, they don’t really want to get too close to a matatu “just in case”, you don’t get that feeling with Atoti.
A car has stalled in the middle of the road, you climb the pavement. A trailer is slowly inching up the hill ahead, you overtake. There’s no hesitation, no voice at the back of your mind whispering “Boss, this is a brand new showroom car! Theres only a 500K difference in price between this and a Navarra…”
During the trip, after the first day, the Atoti was available as a chase car, it was the one used to scout up ahead, to run errands. We never replaced the tonneau cover. The load bed was used full time, it was always carrying something.
This mindset , the firm conviction that it can do it, plus the fact that the Atoti can back it up with its speed and load capacity is why I believe this car will still sell, even in the face of stiff competition from within (the Navara) and other manufacturers.
Atoti does everything it says on the box, no terms and conditions.