Nis­san’s smooth mover

The “all new” Navara has a lusty pow­er­plant and so­phis­ti­cated kit, BILL BUYS writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

SMOOTHER, sex­ier and smarter: that sums up Nis­san’s first “all new” Navara (NT300) in 10 years which will ar­rive in Aus­tralia early next year with a load of in­no­va­tions.

Com­fort, per­for­mance, style and econ­omy are at the fore­front of the hand­some ute.

Sold in sin­gle, king and dual cab, most mod­els will break with ute tra­di­tion by hav­ing ad­vanced five-link and coil rear sus­pen­sion.

It not only al­lows for a one­tonne pay­load and a 3.5-tonne tow­ing ca­pac­ity, but gives a ride more like a Max­ima sedan than a bone-jar­ring work­horse. But 4x2 sin­gle and dual cabs will still be avail­able with leaf springs.

And un­der the new sculpted bon­net with its power bulges will be an ad­vanced new 2.3litre turbo-diesel, re­plac­ing the 2.5 four and 3.0-litre V6 mo­tors of old.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The new four-cylin­der 2.3 will be avail­able as a sin­gle turbo with out­put of 118kW/403Nm or twin turbo of­fer­ing 140/450, which is lineball with what the ear­lier 2.5 de­vel­oped.

It’s from Nis­san’s al­liance with Re­nault – and it’s a rip­per.

It’s a lusty run­ner and the big bonus is an 11 per cent gain in fuel econ­omy.

There’s also a four-pot 2.5litre petrol mo­tor with 118kW/231Nm.

Trans­mis­sion is by a sixspeed man­ual or a smooth seven-speed au­to­matic with man­ual mode.

The chas­sis is a carry-over from the cur­rent model, like­wise the front sus­pen­sion, which has been re­cal­i­brated for a more com­pli­ant ride.

But the multi-link and coil rear end is all new and makes a big dif­fer­ence to the ride.

Ground clear­ance is 220mm.

DE­SIGN

It’s all about a strong, sporty look in a mus­cu­lar, cur­va­ceous body.

LED pro­jec­tor head­lights with day­time run­ning lights dom­i­nate the snoot with lines flow­ing over the bon­net and to the big doors. Wheel arches are back to house the mainly 16inch al­loys.

In­side, the dash has steer­ing wheel con­trols for all au­dio and sat­nav func­tions and neat stitch­ing gives the ma­te­ri­als a classy and sporty look.

The mainly black sculpted dash has a fair bit of metal-look fin­ishes and, of course, there’s Blue­tooth and as­so­ci­ated bits, in­clud­ing aux and USB sock­ets.

SAFETY

Five stars are ex­pected. There are seven airbags, in­clud­ing one for the driver’s knees and elec­tronic aids such as hill de­scent con­trol, hill start as­sist, ac­tive lim­ited brake slip and trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol. 4WD mod­els also get a lim­ited slip diff.

A wel­come fea­ture is the stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era.

DRIV­ING

The Navara had its in­ter­na­tional launch in Thai­land. We did 200km on a va­ri­ety of roads and also put the ute over a pur­pose-built track with 30-de­gree climb and de­scend an­gles, plus se­vere sus­pen­sion and tor­sion tests.

We loved the com­fort and sta­bil­ity on the roads, stopped and took off again mid­way up the test track climb, walked it down the other side with­out touch­ing the brakes and climbed over other ob­sta­cles few utes are likely to en­counter.

We drove the twin-turbo 2.3 diesel au­to­matic, which made light of all con­di­tions and the big ven­ti­lated disc brakes brought us to an easy straight line stop when we rounded a cor­ner and came face to face with some un­ex­pected traf­fic in the form of an ele­phant.

VER­DICT

The tradie’s old mate with its newly-found so­phis­ti­ca­tion gets a big “yes” from us. Four stars out of five.

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