It’s more than use­ful at the job site, off road and with the fam­ily on week­ends

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

DRIV­ING home from work this week I found my­self be­hind a Nis­san Navara ute out on the high­way. I was struck by how ro­bust (for all the rust that clearly vis­i­ble on body and tray it ap­peared upright and to be run­ning well) longevity of model ( judg­ing by its num­ber­plate).

I have long had a han­ker­ing for a ute could call my own. For years it was dis­missed as im­prac­ti­cal — fam­ily four just doesn’t go into two-door cabin and when the ar­rival of dual cabs made that ob­jec­tion ir­rel­e­vant, there was fact utes were more truck-like than car-like in­side. And as a fam­ily we do like our crea­ture com­forts.

But then. the new Navara NP300 is clearly ve­hi­cle for the now.

The top-of-the-range ST-X, which I was given keys, is as plush as it is ro­bust. Nis­san has not held back in the big ute be­ing prac­ti­cal off road as well as com­fort­able out on the bitumen or around town. And with good rea­son.

The Navara be­longs in a hotly con­tested — and there­fore highly im­por­tant sec­tor of mar­ket. Just have a look at su­per­mar­ket carpark next time you’re out shop­ping, or at any school drop-off, any sport­ing ground just see how many big SUVs are on the road th­ese days.

That’s re­ally where Navara be­longs days, ac­cord­ing to Rex Gorell Nis­san sales man­ager Jack Teggelove.

“They’ve be­come more like an SUV than a ute,” he said.

Where the Navara used be the do­main of tradies, tradies are now look­ing for work ve­hi­cle that can also be off job site as well as with their fam­i­lies.

Mr Teggelove said while NP300’s pre­de­ces­sor, the Navara D40, may have been more aligned with Tri­ton and HiLux buy­ers, the new­est Navara was seen to be com­pet­ing more against VW’s Amarok Ford Ranger. Very much big boys’ toys.

And while may have an edge in the tale of tape against Navara, Nis­san — at than 5.2m long and weigh­ing a shade over 2.9 tonnes is on par with most of its other ri­vals size-wise.

Get­ting this all up run­ning is a 2.3-litre in­ter­cooled twin-turbo diesel en­gine that can de­liver 140kW power and 450Nm torque. A sixspeed man­ual trans­mis­sion stan­dard, but I drove the op­tional seven-speed au­to­matic.

It would have been a nice drive to mem­ory lane to be work­ing stick shift again, truth is an au­to­matic is more suit­able for 95 per cent of what the Navara will de­liv­er­ing.

In any case there the op­tion

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