Yet another Navara hits the market, except this time its tech’d up, spec’d up and is still priced slightly lower than the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. That makes for great value.
But have Nissan done enough to lure buyers away from the big guns in the ever competitive, and somewhat saturated, 4X4 dual cab ute sector?
Let’s see what Car Sales had to say in their review.
You’ve got to give Nissan credit. When it comes to the Navara dual cab it just keeps on keeping on. For 2021, there’s more development, more tech and a new look. The only question, is it enough to attract buyers when new dual cab utes are flooding onto the market? Let’s find out.
The D23 Nissan Navara has been on sale in Australia since 2015, and is expected to hang around for a few more years yet. The popular dual cab 4×4 models have been through a series of refinements and updates since launch, often focused on the sometimes controversial coil spring rear suspension. Well, this time round the focus has shifted to the rear axle, which has been strengthened to help ensure every Navara dual cab can carry at least a one-ton payload. That includes the big selling ST-X, and the new flagship, the PRO 4X which is coming along in about a month. So the obvious thing to do is to test Navara ST-X with and without payload, and see how it behaves.
Well, we’ve got 325 kilos loaded in the back of the Navara and you can feel the difference. There’s a bit of drag on the accelerator, there’s a little bit of jitteriness to the ride, and you’re a bit more nose up in the attitude, but not a night and day difference overall. The Navara comes with a 3,500 kilogram braked towing capacity and we did get to test it with a trailer hitched up. So now we’re towing with the Navara ST-X, and it’s behaving pretty impressively. A bit more strain on the engine, but still strong response. I’ve just nipped past a truck back there and the engine and transmission response was lively. Bit more ride harshness, you can probably hear a tremble in my voice, but nothing here that’s waving a red flag saying, “The Navara is not up to it.” It obviously is.
Before we delve further into the changes to Navara for 2021, it’s important to know much stays the same. The 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine is entirely familiar as it’s a choice of 6-speed manual or 7-speed auto and 4×4 with high and low range and a locking rear diff. The key changes are about safety with a huge uplift in driver assist systems. Most importantly, autonomous emergency braking is now standard on all models, along with forward collision warning. Only the base model Navara misses out on a bunch of other driver assist systems, including lane departure warning, blind spot warning, active steering assist, and rear cross traffic alert. All bar the entry level SL also get an off-road monitor that uses four cameras to view the terrain when in four-low.
There’s also a new look steering wheel and instrument panel, while rear passengers get a re-profiled seat and a fold down armrest with cup holders. But the most obvious change to the new Navara is it’s tough truck exterior borrowed from the Titan full-size pick-up sold in North America. Highlights include this big grill and the C-shaped LED projector headlights.
So what’s all this cost? Well, the further up the range you go, the less the price rise over the old model. The ST-X adds a couple of grand, plus on-road costs. Compared to the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, the Navara is still a touch cheaper, but only a touch.
As worthy as this update is it’s going to be a tough sell for Nissan. There is just so much dual cab competition out there. But top points to Nissan for trying, and trying again.
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