Nissan Navara has built up an excellent reputation over many years as a tough, no-nonsense vehicle when worked hard in rugged Aussie conditions.
Nissan Oz was arguably ahead of the field in realising that dual-cab pickup trucks were going to be major sellers in Australia, the modern day family car. From November 2005 it began importing a second Navara model, designated the D40 Navara, it sat aside the existing workhorse D22 Navara.
Nissan D40 Navara is sold in a variety of bodies, everything from a bare cab-chassis, though single cab and extended cab to a full four-door. We are concentrating on the the four-doors in this use review.
These are large vehicles so the rear seats can take three adults, though, as is generally the way, two and a child will be more comfortable. There’s good head and legroom.
Comfort isn’t to sedan standards but the ride is generally fine on good roads. However, Navara can be bounced around on poor bitumen or dirt, particularly if lightly loaded, but has improved over the years as suspension tuners have worked on it.
Ideally you should take potential passengers along on your pre-purchase test drive and try to get onto the sort of roads you generally use.
Navara is sold in 2WD and 4WD, the former makes sense if you really only want a family truck, but most people tend to go for the ‘tuff’ look they feel the 4WD provides. See some tips in our What To Look For section on how to spot possible off-road damage.
Power for D40 Navaras comes from 4.0-litre V6 petrol or a pair of turbo-diesels; 2.5-litre four or 3.0-litre six.
May 2015 saw the introduction of Navara pickup D23 series. It was offered with two rear suspension systems: a low-cost leaf-spring one for the lower cost working vehicle, and a sophisticated five-link setup that forms the basis for the dual-cabs we reviewing here.
There are large guards, which are widened in some variants to cope with larger tyres and add to the sporty appearance.
Inside, it looks more car-like than pickup with a dash design that wouldn’t be out of place in a car. High quality materials are used throughout, certainly not the sort of low-grade plastics once seen in light trucks.
A Navara Series 2 version was introduced in March 2017. It featured the Nissan V-motion motif in the grille and the bold look. A major improvement was ‘spinal support’ front seats that reduce fatigue by distributing body pressure on the seating surface. Work a try if your back, like mine, isn’t as good as it used to be …
An Advanced Drive Assist Display provides multiple screen options in the centre of the dashboard.
All five seats in dual cab models have three-point emergency locking retractor seatbelts. The front seatbelts also have load limiters and pre-tensioners and height adjustment.
A sliding glass panel in the rear cabin window is a handy feature – dogs just love being able to stick their noses into the cabin.
Insurance is about average for the class and we don’t know of any great variance from company to company. We suggest that it’s not a good ideal to change insurers too often as it’s wise to set up an extended relationship with any one.
Nissan launched a Series 3 update of the Navara in Australia on February 2018. It’s still too recent to cover in this used review as we haven’t seen any on the used market yet, but we will catch up with these newer models next time around.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Start by looking at the condition of the tray. Most will have minor dings and scratches, but one that’s is heavily damaged may be an indictor of commercial use.
Check over the interior for signs of hard use, either from unruly kids or tradies.
Off-road use isn’t common though we have seen a few at 4WD approved beaches. Look for sand and dried salt underneath a Navara.
Bush driving may be indicated by scratches in doors, sills and on the corners.
An engine that’s reluctant to start – try to do your first testing when it’s stone cold – could be on its way out.
If you have any doubts after these basic inspections get the truck up on a hoist and look for damage in all areas. Radiators seem to suffer as their mounting is rather low.
Listen for rattles from the front of the engine that may indicate a loose timing chain – valves hitting pistons can cost a lot of money!
On a manual feel for a slipping clutch and/or gears that bind or crunch during changes. A quick change down to third is often the first to suffer.
Set your budget from $5000 to $8500 for a 2005 Nissan Navara ST-R; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2008 ST-X; $11,000 to $17,000 for a 2016 RX; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2009 Titanium Edition or a 2012 RX; $12,000 to $18,00 for a 2015 RX; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2013 ST-X; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2012 ST-X; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2013 ST-X; $25,000 to $34,000 for a 2016 ST-X; and $28,000 to $38,000 for a 2017 ST N-Sport.
CAR BUYING TIP
One of the first things we check in any vehicle is the service book. Remember that low-kilometre vehicles should be serviced by date not distance.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/