4WORD

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - MATT RAUDONIKIS

THE quoted tow­ing ca­pac­i­ties of the cur­rent crop of 4x4 utes have be­come chest­beat­ing ex­er­cises for the car­mak­ers’ mar­ket­ing de­part­ments. It ap­pears that if you can’t quote a 3500kg ca­pac­ity then you’re not in the game, and some com­pa­nies have pushed up their rat­ings in re­cent times just to seem rel­e­vant. Even usu­ally con­ser­va­tive Toy­ota has upped the rat­ings of the Hilux to 3500kg, but that’s only for the man­ual trans­mis­sion – the auto has to make do with 3200kg.

Yet, as re­vealed in our tow and load test in this is­sue (page 76), the Hilux feels com­fort­able with three tonnes on the back; some of the other utes shouldn’t go near that weight.

In some ways the re­sults were as ex­pected: big­ger is bet­ter when it comes to tow­ing and load car­ry­ing, and a big­ger, heav­ier ve­hi­cle pow­ered by a large ca­pac­ity en­gine and rid­ing on a long, sta­ble wheel­base will al­ways come out the win­ner over any­thing run­ning smaller and lower spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

The ve­hi­cle whose per­for­mance we were all keen to see tested was the D23 Nissan Navara. As the only ute here with a coil-sprung, multi-link rear end it was the stand out. As it turned out, it stood out for all the wrong rea­sons. Nissan should be ap­plauded for of­fer­ing the op­tion of rear coils on its ute to ap­peal to fam­ily and recre­ational users, but it seems it should also of­fer the op­tion of leaf springs across the model range.

Sin­gle- and king-cab Navaras come with leaf springs un­der the back, or you can get a dou­ble-cab Navara RX cab-chas­sis with the low-spec, sin­gle-turbo en­gine. Cur­rently no dou­ble-cab Navara ute is of­fered with the su­pe­rior load-car­ry­ing leaf springs and bi-turbo en­gine.

That’s the ve­hi­cle many recre­ational buy­ers who need to tow boats, horse floats or car­a­vans will want if they are con­sid­er­ing a Navara, and they’ll want it in ST-X spec­i­fi­ca­tion, too. It’s some­thing Nissan Aus­tralia should se­ri­ously be think­ing about if it wants to re­main com­pet­i­tive in this pop­u­lar seg­ment.

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