Ute enjoys French liaison
Turbo diesels a welcome addition to Nissan’s upgraded workhorse, writes PETER BARNWELL.
WE turn the spotlight on the car world’s newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there’s only one question that needs answering — would you buy one.
This is Nissan’s replacement for the long-serving D40 onetonne ute, a favourite with Aussie buyers. Called the NP300, the new model is a ground up effort complete with Renault-sourced engines and coil spring suspension.
They start at $30,000 and go to $59,000. We drove the RX dual cab diesel auto and the range-topping ST-X dual cab diesel auto.
The RX is possibly going to be the most popular model based on its kit and price of $42,490.
Hilux, Triton, Amarok,
Ranger, BT50, Colorado, D-Max.
The petrol is a 2.5 four lifted from X-Trail that would struggle in this application, particularly when loaded. The diesel is a 2.3 Renault design, one with a single turbo and the other with twin turbos.
The single is good for 120kW/403Nm while the twin achieves 140kW/450Nm — almost as good as Ford’s Ranger 3.2-litre five-cylinder. The manual is a six-speed, the auto a seven.
The twin turbo goes great and hardly notices a load but the single turbo is almost as good and uses less fuel.
The single turbo is the one as it can achieve mid 6.0s in general driving. Nissan says the twin turbo is as good but we didn’t see that — possibly because you tend to use the
available power more often.
Gets a 3.5-star rating.
Five stars, though only some models get a reverse camera as standard equipment.
Very much so. The two vehicles we drove — dual cab diesel autos — had coil springs all round and sway bars to keep the beast level around corners. Ride quality is impressive for a ute, especially when compared with other brands with leaf rear springs.
The interior is well appointed but has a hard plastic dash — OK for a work truck.
It looks good and has a pretty good Bluetooth hook-up with six-speaker sound. The seats have what Nissan calls spinal support and they work — no problems on a long trip. Plenty of kit is included in the ST-X and RX.
There’s an old D22 in the family and it was interesting to drive the two back to back. The old D22 ain’t half bad but the NP300 rides better, has stronger performance and is much safer.
At $42,000-plus for the RX diesel auto dual cab, it’s on the money.
Maybe, the styling is fairly generic and it’s safer than before. Ride quality — even unladen — is impressive and the engines go well, particularly with a seven-speed auto behind them.