The Navara and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class are both built alongside the Alaskan at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, although each has its own distinctive look and, in the case of the X-Class, has been fine-tuned and altered slightly to better reflect Mercedes' values.
While the project has been a collaboration from the start, the shared engine is all Renault, with a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel unit – found in Renault Master vans – used to power the truck with two power outputs.
How does the Alaskan differs from the Navara?
The front section of the truck has been changed to give it a more familiar Renault appearance. That means a new grille, bonnet, headlight and bumper design. However, at the rear of the vehicle, only the central section of the tailgate has been altered, flattening it to make room for the large Alaskan badging.
There’s a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmissions with selectable four-wheel-drive and a low-range gearbox. For more ambitious off-roading, there is also the option of a locking rear differential and the Alaskan has a maximum approach angle of 30deg and departure angle of 27deg.
Maximum payload is 1035kg and it has a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. The rear load deck is 1578mm long and 1560mm wide, with a total usable area of 2.46m2.
Like the Navara, this is a proper working vehicle. Renault hasn’t changed much and nor should it need to.
The Alaskan is a vehicle built for markets where Renault has a strong market presence in countries including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. Renault expects the Alaskan to be a global vehicle, though, and is targeting the Middle East and Europe, where it sees the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger as its main competitors.
Giving the Alaskan a rough time
The pickup must be a formidable off-roader in order for that to happen – and, fortunately, it is. Although equipped with multilink coil suspension rather than leaf springs, the Alaskan still cuts it in arduous conditions. Over gravel tracks and poor road surfaces, the front and rear coils comfortably soak up the bumps, while in extremely muddy conditions the four-wheel-drive system, electronic limited-slip differential and locking rear differential all help keep the Alaskan moving.