Thursday, August 15, 2013

Used Car Review - Nissan Eagle (1991-1998)

Need a reliable truck that can fit the meager budget? Myk Belmonte gives you one suggestion.

1991-1998 Nissan Eagle

Throwback: its the 90s and most Japanese pickup trucks are tuned for hauling, not comfort. While efforts were done to "modernize" the truck by placing power amenities and even an automatic transmission option, but the bumpy ride still dictates sacks of rice than humans. One of the popular choices for a hauler back then was the Nissan Hardbody or locally known as the Power Eagle, which is the vehicle being discussed here.

Basically the continuation of the Datsun Truck, the D21 generation was sold unofficially as the Hardbody in the US but other countries have their own names. Body configurations include the standard length (two door), extended (two door with long bed), and crew cab (four doors) with a plethora of gasoline and diesel engines which can be paired with either manual or automatic. While it bowed out in some countries in 1997-1999 for the Frontier, some Central and South American nations sell this one until today.

Although first made available as the "Classic" in 1987, the Power series was launched in 1991 which featured a number of firsts in its category including power steering and other power amenities. Do remember that the Ultra Power trim was used in 1994 and was renamed as the Ultra Eagle in 1996. Sales ceased in 1998 to give way to the Frontier and apart from the Ultra variant available, there is the basic DLX that is famed for being used by media networks back then.

Value and Costs
Need a dependable truck on the cheap? Well, the Nissan Eagle is one great option with units flirting  in the P170,000-P320,000 range. If possible, hunt for a unit that had seen private usage more than those abused in the rough, since these units can be a pain especially for their suspension.

Fuel economy, for a diesel, is decent enough while parts can be purchased anywhere but priced on the higher side. One problem that affected pre-1996 models of this truck is rust which plagued the wheel wells positioned in the bed area. For those who are asking how it happened, this is more of a design error whose inner design configuration was a boxed area which allowed water and dirt to enter and be trapped. Go for an Eagle series to avoid the problem of rusts in the bed.

Exterior and Interior 
All Power pick-up trucks have four doors, and on that body comes a boxy and more macho appearance. So, what body features compliment this pickup? Well, chrome grille in front (later used by some competitors) and one single handle in the tailgate. Remember, less is more, as there no tacky chrome handles to see (remember the Frontier Navarra Krom?).

With all pickup trucks, the rear bench isn't good for three people but two is a perfect but comfortable fit. Weirdly enough, the stereo is located below the air-conditioning controls which the driver can have a hard time switching stations.

Fitted in the Power pickup series is the SD25 2,488cc with 70hp at 4,000rpm to play with (no torque figures are available at research), which has some power in the lower revs to keep chugging on. The low end pull means that the engine is good for hauling, the intended purpose of this truck. Going at triple digit speeds especially at top speed would scream at the top of its lungs, which you wouldn't want that to happen.

Driving Impressions
Step in the driver's seat and you get a clutch that is easy to step on, thanks to its hydraulic system. Also, the manual gearstick is a short throw one, which is definitely a good thing. If we were to discuss about its comfort, the Power Eagle has a powerful (pun unintended) and durable suspension good for your farm needs or your family riding with you but not when driving solo since it has a bumpy ride. Do remember that the suspension settings are like that due to its hauling nature, its intended purpose.

Before settling with this truck, do you need a comfort of a car? Steer clear. How about something sturdy for your construction needs at a budget? Consider this one. Remember, life is full of compromises so decide very carefully. 

The Good:
  • More features for the buck
  • Durable
  • Tame looks
The Bad:
  • Noisy
  • Three in the back is tight
  • Good luck if the bed rusts
The Pick: Ultra 

Engine: 2,488cc SD25 I4 diesel
Power: 70hp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: No data available
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear 5-link type with coil spring

Price (New): P400,000-P700,000 (estimated, ranging from 1991-1998)
Price (Now): P170,000-P320,000
Rivals: Mitsubishi L200, Mazda B Series, Isuzu Pickup, Toyota Hilux
On Sale: 1991-1998

Nis-Parts - (02) 712-8021

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