Nissan Australia is looking to new financial year prosperity riding on the back of its latest Navara. With the popular pick-up already Nissan’s best-selling vehicle Down Under, accounting for a third of all sales, the company is hoping the new NP300 Navara will maintain its winning ways.
Nissan has manufactured strong and dependable pick-ups for more than 80 years, with more than 14 million sold across 180 different countries. The new Navara, therefore, has a lot to live up to.
Dual cab pick-up grades of the NP300 Navara are on sale in Australia from this month in grades DX, RX, ST and ST-X, with the choice of three engines – one petrol and two diesel – mated with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.
Prices start at $26,490 for the Navara DX 2WD manual petrol dual cab, plus on-road costs, and rise to $54,490 for the ST-X 4WD automatic diesel dual cab. Dual cab chassis, single cab and king cab variants go on sale in the third quarter of 2015, taking the total number of variants to 27, with full specification and pricing to be confirmed at a later date.
In looks the new Navara has moved ahead without losing the visual pedigree of bygone Nissans. For example, the signature Nissan V-motion grille flows onto the bonnet on its way to the front guard, resulting in a smooth yet strong character.
Daytime running lights and chrome window moulding promote a modern premium impression, continued to the rear with the V-Motion motif repeated in the tailgate, incorporating the Nissan badge. Built-in aerodynamic efficiency is an added bonus.
The top-of-the-range ST-X rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels, with 16-inch alloys on ST, 16-inch steel wheels on RX and 15-inch steel wheels on DX. Each grade carries a full-size spare.
The two-channel Utili-Track System is fitted to ST-X, allowing for numerous ways to secure loads in the rear tub, which is fitted with a standard protective liner. This innovative cargo restraint system includes two channels and four heavy-duty forged aluminium cleats that lock all along the channel.
An alloy sports bar, roof rails and heated door mirrors with power adjustment and folding, and integrated LED indicator lights complete the exterior picture.
Inside, Nissan claims the high ground in occupant comfort, with Spinal Support Front Seats designed to reduced fatigue during long drives. Body pressure is spread over the seating surface through the middle section in the folding seat back, promoting a ‘neutral’ posture to reduce pressure on the spine and muscles, while in the rear, there is an optimum balance between knee room and torso angle, as well as ample head room.
The heated, leather-accented front seats in the ST-X offer a high level of comfort and function. The driver’s seat is eight-way adjustable with power slide, recline and height options as well as power lumbar support.
Centrepiece of the cabin is a 7-inch integrated colour display with touch screen, including satellite navigation with 3-D mapping. The ST grade features a 5-inch colour display. A 4-inch screen is featured on DX and RX grades.
An interesting dual-cab feature on RX, ST and ST-X is a rear power-sliding glass window operated by a switch on the dashboard, allowing easy reach into the tub and increased cabin ventilation, while all grades have a USB and Aux port within easy reach in the centre console.
Three 12-volt power sockets feature on all dual-cabs; in the dashboard upper storage tray, centre console tray and centre console storage box. A fourth, weather-proof 12-volt power socket is in the rear tub on RX, ST and ST-X pickups.
New NP300 Navara engine options are headed up by a twin-turbo 2.3-litre four-cylinder double-overhead camshaft diesel motor. Featuring a two-stage turbocharger, 200 MPa injector system, thermal management system and electrical variable displacement oil pump, it produces a maximum 140 kW of power, with 450 Nm of torque available at a low 1500 to 2500rpm.
In the ST and ST-X 4×2 dual cab manual grades, this engine, says Nissan, uses just 6.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, while emitting just 166 grams of carbon dioxide. The engine is also available in single-turbo diesel unit, producing 120 kW of power and 403 Nm of torque.
A petrol engine is also on offer. The 2.5-litre DOHC engine will be familiar to Australians from Nissan models such as the X-Trail and Altima. In the NP300 Navara it produces 122 kW and 238 Nm.
Six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions offer a balance between acceleration and fuel economy, as well as delivering exceptional reliability. Braked towing capacity on all diesel grades is 3500 kg, an important feature in this segment.
A lightweight ladder frame is engineered to withstand work site punishment and constant daily use on and off-road. The five-link rear suspension in NP300 Navara dual cab pick-up models provides better handling, ride comfort and off-road capability.
The shift-on-the-fly 4WD system enables the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD (4H mode) with the simple twist of a dial, at speeds of up to 100km/h.
The minimum turning circle has been improved over its predecessor; now 11.8 m for DX and RX and 12.4 m for ST and ST-X (from 12.5 – 13.4 m on D40).
All dual-cab pickup grades feature ventilated disc front brakes, rear drum brakes, independent double wishbone front suspension with front stabiliser bar, five-link rear suspension with shock absorber and power steering.
A genuine off-road vehicle, it has improved off-road capability that includes a wading depth of 450 mm and a lateral tilt of 50 degrees.
Active Brake Limited Slip optimises the drive of each wheel in slippery conditions on four-wheel-drive models. ABLS works on all wheels, whereas mechanical LSD operates only on rear wheels.
Brake Limited Slip Differential is across both 4×2 and 4×4 grades.
Hill Start Assist in NP300 Navara ST-X 4×4 models prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards after the brake is released when on a slope greater than 10 degrees for two seconds. Hill Descent Control maintains vehicle speed during very steep downhill driving without the need to use the accelerator or brake pedals, using 4LO or 4H mode in Navara ST-X 4×4 models.
During a test run of close to 400 kilometres in and around Adelaide and in the Gawler Ranges on the Eyre Peninsula, we tested dual-cab RX, ST and ST-X variants. We encountered a wide range of driving conditions, from bitumen, fast and corrugated gravel roads to misty woodland tracks, parched salt flats, deep soft sand, rocky outcrops and dry creek beds – everything, almost, but ice and snow.
During the whole trip nary a rattle nor squeak could be heard in the cab. Only late on in the serious workout did the odd audible structural ‘argument’ arise.
The hum of both diesel engines was non-invasive, becoming harsher only as they were loaded up. Some body roll was evident on quicker, tight bends, otherwise ride and handling were quite car-like, while steering and brakes – ventilated discs up front and drums in the rear – with their advanced back-up systems, were equal to the task in avoiding one particularly nasty hole over the crest of one hill.
Fuel consumption varied from 7.8 to 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres with the top-of-the-range ST-X automatics, compared to the maker’s figure of 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
The Navara features a myNissan Service Certainty schedule, three-year / 100,000 kilometre warranty, with an optional extended warranty, and three-year roadside assist program.
During development, the NP300 Navara was put through more than 40,000 tests for quality and covered a million kilometres, including in town-and-country Australia. The result is its tough design, ride comfort and smart technology.
AT A GLANCE
Navara DX 2WD petrol dual cab $26,490 (manual), $28,990 (automatic)
Navara RX 2WD diesel dual cab $32,990 (manual), $35,490 (automatic)
Navara ST 2WD diesel dual cab $38,990 (manual), $41,490 (automatic)
Navara ST-X 2WD diesel dual cab $44,990 (manual), $47,490 (automatic)
Navara RX 4WD diesel dual cab $39,990 (manual), $42,490 (automatic)
Navara ST 4WD diesel dual cab $45,990 (manual), $48,490 (automatic)
Navara ST-X 4WD diesel dual cab $51,990 (manual), $54,490 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.