Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels -

THE spot­light was firmly on the up­dated Ford Ranger at last month’s Bangkok mo­tor show but a hum­ble ute on the Nis­san stand is also wor­thy of at­ten­tion.

It is the sin­gle-cab ver­sion of the Nis­san D23 Navara. Nis­san has al­ready pre­viewed the dual-cab NP300, which ar­rives in Australia late next month.

But no such fuss has been made of the sin­gle-cab lowrid­ing D23, which will play a cru­cial role in Australia when it gets here about Septem­ber.

Un­til now, Nis­san has sold two Navaras, the cheap and sim­ple pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion D22 and the more ad­vanced cur­rent gen­er­a­tion D40.

Nis­san has stopped mak­ing both and now will build only the new gen­er­a­tion D23.

So, there will be no more cheap last gen­er­a­tion mod­els this time.

Nis­san Australia says the D22 was popular. “It de­vel­oped a real cult fol­low­ing, es­pe­cially with farm­ers who ap­pre­ci­ated the sim­plic­ity,” says spokesman Peter Fadeyev.

The D23 sin­gle-cab, sit­ting in the shad­ows at the edge of Nis­san’s Bangkok stand, will have to cover for it.

Fadeyev says Nis­san hopes to coax rusted-on D22 own­ers into the more mod­ern Navara but won’t com­ment on whether it can match the for­mer’s sharp pric­ing, start­ing from $24,490.

New dual-cab Navaras will in­cor­po­rate a coil-spring rear end, for im­proved oc­cu­pant com­fort, but the work­horse mod­els will keep leaf springs.

Aus­tralian Navaras will run a new 2.3-litre diesel with one turbo or two. A petrol 2.5-litre four-cylin­der also will be avail­able.

The sin­gle-cab’s cock­pit is mod­ern and there is a long steel tray with built-in foot­boards and tie-down points.

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