Nissan’s smooth mover
The “all new” Navara has a lusty powerplant and sophisticated kit, BILL BUYS writes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The tradie’s old mate with its newly-found sophistication gets a big “yes” from us. Four stars out of five.