Smoother ride

Nis­san irons out the bumps in its Navara

Albany Advertiser - - MOTORING LIFTOUT REV - Vani Naidoo Your lo­cal Nis­san dealer is Albany City Mo­tors, 9842 8000.

Two years into its life­cy­cle, the Nis­san Navara has found it­self on the right end of a few tweaks. It gives a strong in­di­ca­tion of how im­por­tant this ute is to the com­pany.

Com­plaints of ride qual­ity have fol­lowed the 2016 model and Nis­san has worked hard to re­vise the sus­pen­sion, made changes to the front and rear shock ab­sorbers and stiff­ened the re­bound dampers.

Nis­san has also taken this op­por­tu­nity to add a fur­ther vari­ant to the range, the SL, a new en­try­model four-wheel-drive start­ing from $43, 990.

So has Nis­san man­aged to elim­i­nate the jig­gle? We took the ST 4WD on hol­i­day to find out.

The SUV-like in­te­rior com­fort of the Navara is one of its strong­est sell­ing points, ideal for those buy­ers who need a work ute to dou­ble as a fam­ily hauler.

Curved edges and the use of leather trim and brushed metal high­lights are just the start of a story that also in­cludes easy-to-read in­stru­men­ta­tion, good place­ment of but­ton and di­als and a steer­ing wheel that feels com­fort­able.

It in­cludes fea­tures such as auto head­lights and wipers, fog lights, re­verse cam­era, sat-nav, side steps and an elec­tri­cally pow­ered slid­ing rear win­dow.

The cloth-cov­ered seats in our Navara ST were rather sup­port­ive, long enough un­der the thigh and wide enough across the shoul­ders to of­fer real com­fort for oc­cu­pants in the front, even on longer trips.

Those in the rear pew are not without their joys. Three adults can travel back there if needed.

As in most dual-cabs, the back seat can be rather up­right, which hap­pily is some­what less so in this Navara.There are three top teth­ers for car seats with IsoFix points still to be fit­ted.

Of course, in ve­hi­cles of this ilk, the tray is of high im­por­tance. The ST fea­tured a chrome sports bar, 12V plug and metal tie-down rings but could have done with a tray liner and cover. It is smaller than that of­fered by some com­peti­tors but is good for 940kg if not tow­ing but much less if at the max­i­mum 3500kg braked tow­ing ca­pac­ity.

The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in the Navara ST 4WD is func­tional and user-friendly but feels lsike it is al­ready start­ing to date.

The five-inch touch­screen is too small for a ute of this size with graph­ics that are a tad hazy but is easy to nav­i­gate. Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and au­dio stream­ing works well but there is no Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto.

Our ST 4WD was pow­ered by Nis­san’s 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel en­gine, with 140kW and 450Nm.

For most mod­els in the 4WD and 2WD range, there is a choice of sixspeed man­ual or seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

All Navara dual-cab utes have a five star ANCAP rat­ing thanks mostly to seven airbags, in­clud­ing full-length cur­tain airbags; there's elec­tronic sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol and ABS brakes with elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion and emer­gency brake as­sist.

Navara ST also has re­verse cam­era as stan­dard but you have to spring for the range-top­ping ST-X for rear park­ing sen­sors, hill start as­sist and hill de­scent con­trol.

Given that it was Nis­san’s in­ten­tion with this up­date to mod­ify the sus­pen­sion so that the rear es­pe­cially jig­gles less per­cep­ti­bly, it is easy to fo­cus just on that el­e­ment when be­hind the wheel.

But the Navara is about more than a wob­bly bot­tom and you will be glad for its com­posed de­meanour, ad­ven­tur­ous na­ture and on and off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

It is big and tall and heavy so think a front-row for­ward rather than bal­le­rina. Still, it shows poise through bumpy cor­ners and needs lit­tle urg­ing to get up to speed.

Lower ground clear­ance than some ri­vals can limit the breadth of off-road for­ays but, in the main, the Navara is an ac­com­plished per­former, helped by its lock­ing rear dif­fer­en­tial and, in the case of the ST, the 16-inch wheels.

And as for that jig­gle… well, it’s still there but less so. The ride is now firmer over bumps. It is best un­der mid-sized loads, where it is clear to see the work done to the rear re­bound dampers.

We man­aged close to 800km dur­ing our week in the Navara and were im­pressed by over­all fuel use of about 7.7 litres per 100km.

The tweaks Nis­san has made to the Navara have cer­tainly helped el­e­vate its ap­peal.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The up­dated Nis­san Navara presents an in­ter­est­ing op­tion for both work and play.

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