SHORT-LISTED

New Navara ute looks the goods

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

WE turn the spot­light on the car world’s new­est and bright­est stars as we ask ques­tions to which you want an­swers. But there’s only one ques­tion that really needs an­swer­ing, would you buy one?

WHAT IS IT?

Nis­san’s pop­u­lar ute in one of its most con­fig­u­ra­tions, the dual cab ST with a tub on back.

HOW MUCH?

Prices start from $19,490 for the bare bones cab chas­sis 4x2 petrol model. The ST at $45,990 sits one from the top with ev­ery­thing you need and noth­ing don’t — ex­cept per­haps an ex­te­rior tem­per­a­ture gauge which we have learned is not fit­ted to any vari­ant.

WHAT ARE COM­PETI­TORS?

Long list of them, start­ing with the rul­ing Hilux which in­ci­den­tally is king both the 4x2 and 4x4 seg­ments. Navara lan­guishes near bot­tom pile in first cat­e­gory but shines as fifth-best sell­ing ute in 4x4 guise — trail­ing afore­men­tioned Hilux, Ranger, Tri­ton and Colorado.

WHAT’S UN­DER THE BON­NET?

A smaller en­gine than you might think. 2.3-litre four cylin­der twin turbo diesel pro­duces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, the lat­ter from a low 1500 revs. It was paired in our test ve­hi­cle with op­tional 7-speed auto which adds $2500 to price.

No gear change pad­dles, you can changes gears man­u­ally us­ing shifter.

HOW DOES IT GO?

We haven’t driven the new Hilux yet, but we have to say this one is pretty like­able. The en­gine smooth, so trans­mis­sion and ride thanks to its car-like rear sus­pen­sion. It lim­its Navara’s load car­ry­ing abil­ity but de­liv­ers bet­ter han­dling more off road abil­ity. To com­pen­sate Nis­san has just re­leased a work-fo­cused vari­ant with leaf springs like a truck.

IS IT ECO­NOM­I­CAL?

Nis­san claims best in class fig­ures for fuel consumption. Rated at 7.0 litres/100km, we were get­ting 8.6 af­ter about 400km. That’s not quite as good as the Colorado had, but bad nev­er­the­less.

IS IT GREEN?

With a Euro 5 com­pli­ant en­gine and C02 emis­sions of 186g/km, we give it a rat­ing 3.0 out 5.0.

IS IT SAFE?

With seven airbags, in­clud­ing a knee bag to pro­tect the driver’s lower legs, it gets five stars from lo­cal ANCAP or­gan­i­sa­tion. Sta­bil­ity con­trol and a re­verse cam­era is stan­dard on this one, but it’s small screen and can be dif­fi­cult to see at night.

IS IT COM­FORT­ABLE?

Yep. The ST misses out on leather and has plain old air con­di­tion­ing, but that’s okay. Not so okay is the lack of reach ad­just­ment for steer­ing wheel. Seats are com­fort­able with good rear legroom rear out­lets. Auto lights and view mir­ror, but wipers

man­ual. Can be dif­fi­cult to lo­cate the ig­ni­tion key hole in the dark.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

Prob­a­bly the most car-like and fam­ily friendly of utes that we have driven re­cently. The sus­pen­sion in

utes is overly firm with­out some weight in tray. Not so with the Navara which shone our speed hump test. sure what odd power-op­er­ated rear win­dow is all about?

IS IT VALUE FOR MONEY?

Com­pe­tent off roader, with an elec­tronic diff lock. Can carry 986kg pay­load and tow a 3500kg trailer. Rides on 16-inch al­loys full-size spare wheel un­der the back. Pre­mium look in­te­rior but hard to touch. Misses out sat­nav comes with a sports bar, side steps, LEDs and fog­gies. There’s also a 12v out­let in the tub.

WOULD WE BUY ONE?

Com­fort­able and easy-to-drive ute. Would be on our short list.

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