Review - Nissan Navara
April 06, 2021
Nissan’s latest Narava is priced competitively, offers genuine heavy-duty capability, and comes backed with decades of heritage and ute know-how.
You’re looking at the second-from-the-top ST version, which walks the fine line of being comfortable and soft enough for family weekend adventures, but also hard-working enough to suit busy in-week duties. Prices kick off from $49,490 (excluding on-roads).
The Navara ST’s cabin is modern and very practical. All of the switchgear is very familiar and most of it is placed right where you would it expect it to be placed. From the driver’s seat, there’s a fairly natural driving position, although not perfect, with a sporty three-spoke steering wheel to play with.
The ST does come with some clever and innovative features, such as an electric pass-through window within the rear windscreen, along with a 12-volt socket in the tray. The rear seat passengers also get their own climate control vents in the back of the centre console. This is something often forgotten about in the dual-cab ute class.
Nissan has packed in a reasonable quantity of mod-cons, such as a standard rear-view camera, a rather clunky satellite navigation system, and multi-format media support. Another nice touch is the controls for the 4×4 modes including the locking rear diff. These are conveniently situated in front of the gear lever.
Sadly, the Nissan falls behind the market in our opinion. Although it comes with a standard touch-screen interface, the operation and graphics of the screen, are well behind the market benchmarks. There’s no home screen or a central menu to fall back to, and there’s a basic black background with mono-tone white and blue graphics predominantly used. The Bluetooth connection is also very frustrating to set up.
Tray and towing
In the back, the Navara dual-cab try size is about average. It spans 1560mm wide, with 1130mm available between the wheel arches.
Maximum towing capacity is rated at the segment-benchmark 3500kg for the ST, with a payload rating of 983kg.
The Navara ST’s engine is definitely one of the more interesting engines in the class, featuring twin turbocharging and neat power and torque figures of 140kW and 450Nm. It’s not the most powerful but it has the grunt of the top names.
Power delivery is smooth with barely any turbo-lag, and the engine is quiet except at either end of the rev range. The seven-speed auto keeps the Navara going along in an efficient yet brisk fashion. Speaking of quick, we clocked a best 0-100km/h time of 10.03 seconds. This makes it one of the quickest dual-cab diesel utes in the class.
Nissan has done a great job with the suspension. Underneath the ST is a live axle rear suspension layout with coil springs. Going for the lesser variants gets you a more heavy-duty leaf-spring configuration, but you do sacrifice comfort. With this coil-spring setup the ride is surprisingly supple with a compliant rear end, especially compared with some of the jiggly rivals.
The steering and handling are also well up to scratch for the market, with no excessive body roll or awkward body movements.
As mentioned, we can’t explain why we decided to drive the Navara most of the time over the HiLux. Whether it’s simply because the Navara is a little different or something more substantial, we don’t know. What we do know is the Navara is a very approachable and user-friendly 4×4 ute. It’s easy-to-judge external proportions, familiar cabin, and versatile and powerful engine should make it a definite contender for your shortlist.
5 specs you need to know
- Engine: 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel
- Transmission: Seven-speed auto
- Wheels: F & R: 16×7.0 alloy, 255/70
- ANCAP: Five stars (scored 35.01 out of 37)
- Official fuel economy: 7.0L/100km
- 0-100km/h: 10.03 seconds
- Power twin-turbo diesel, good performance
- Reasonably comfortable ride
- Seven-speed auto
- Rear diff lock
- Rear climate vents
- Electric pass-through window into the tray, with 12V socket
- Aged touch-screen interface, clunky Bluetooth
- Boring seat trim, lack lateral support