Nissan Navara on the right track
■ With the new dual cab pick-up launched mid-year and a tranche consisting of king cab, single cab and dual cab chassis to hit the market by the end of this month, taking total variants to 27, Nissan could well have ticked all the boxes with its NP300 Navara range.
Already Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in Australia, accounting for a third of all sales, the Japanese company appears determined to give the new NP300 Navara every chance of maintaining its lead.
The pick-up went through more than 40,000 tests and 1 million kilometres in real-world conditions, including driving in rural and metropolitan Australia.
The NP300 Navara is the best in its segment for diesel fuel economy, crucial for light commercial vehicle buyers, and has first in segment features such as spinal support front seats and LED headlights.
On test was a Nissan NP300 Navara ST 4x2 automatic diesel dual cab, which sells for $41,490, plus onroad costs.
It may be only two-wheel drive, but the test vehicle puts on a bold face like any serious off-road fourwheel-drive.
Daytime running lights and chrome window mouldings create a premium impression, which is continued to the rear.
While rubber ranges upwards of 15 inches, the mid-range ST rolls on 16-inch alloy wheels and carries a full-size spare.
Inside, Nissan claims the high ground in occupant comfort, with spinal support front seats designed to reduced fatigue during long drives.
In the rear, there is an optimum balance between knee room and body angle, as well as ample head room. Back rests are contoured to offer more support than in the previous model.
A rear power-sliding glass window, operated by a switch on the dashboard, allows access to the tub and increased ventilation.
The centre console offers concealed storage and houses rear air vents for second-row passengers. Larger storage pockets are located in the driver and passenger doors.
Other storage includes the glove box, overhead sunglasses holder and flip-up rear seats with a hidden area underneath. Trays can also be found on the dash top and in the centre console.
Three 12-volt power sockets are scattered around the cabin, while a fourth, weather-proof, is situated in the tub.
Steering wheel controls and dashboard displays, including a five-inch colour display, provide simple access to vehicle systems. Advanced Drive Assist Display provides multiple screens in the centre of the dashboard, between the tachometer and speedometer dials.
ADAD display options include fuel economy, distance to empty, audio information and navigation directions where sat-nav is available.
All dual-cab grades have a USB and auxiliary port in the centre console lower storage area for easy, visible access.
Bluetooth phone and audio streaming are included on all grades. NissanConnect smartphone integration features on the ST and ST-X, allowing use of Facebook, Google Search and Pandora.
The test vehicle had the benefit of a twin-turbo 2.3-litre four-cylinder double-overhead camshaft diesel engine putting out 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, peaking between 1500 and 2500 rpm.
The two-stage turbocharger, injector system, thermal management system and electrical variable displacement oil pump mated to the seven-speed automatic transmission make for a claimed 6.8 litres per 100km in the combined urban/highway cycle.
All dual cab pick-up grades feature ventilated disc front brakes, rear drum brakes, independent double wishbone front suspension with front stabiliser bar, five-link rear suspension with shock absorber and power steering.
Braked towing capacity on all diesel grades is 3500kg, an important feature in this segment, while turning circle has been improved over its predecessor from 13.4m to 12.5m.
A driver’s side knee airbag is one of seven among front and rear curtain airbags, driver and front passenger airbags and side airbags, while on the outside, the energyabsorbing bonnet is designed to minimise pedestrian injury. LED headlights offer longer life, save energy and lead to wider and improved visibility.
The ST grade features LED signature daytime running lights and automatic on/off headlights with twilight detection as standard on dual-cab pick-ups.
An alloy sports bar with integrated high-mounted brake light and front fog lights are standard on the ST, as are side steps for easier cabin entry and exit.
New generation vehicle dynamic control with brake limited-slip differential improves performance and safety.
Anti-lock braking, electronic brake force control, traction control and brake assist make up active safety systems on all dual-cab grades.
The hum of the 2.3-litre diesel motor was non-invasive, becoming harsher only as it was loaded up. Some body roll was evident on quicker, tight bends, otherwise the Navara’s ride and handling were quite car-like.
Steering and brakes — ventilated discs up front and drums in the rear — with their advanced backup systems were the soul of efficiency on bitumen and handled gravel going if treated with respect.
Best fuel consumption of six litres per 100km was recorded on the motorway and up to 13 in stopstart town traffic.
Owner peace of mind is backed up by a three-year/100,000km warranty, with an optional extended warranty, and three-year roadside assist program.
Nissan has manufactured strong and dependable pick-ups for more than 80 years, with more than 14 million sold across 180 countries.
The new NP300 Navara has the chops to remain on song for the maker.
Two or four-wheel drive, the Nissan Navara pick-up has plenty to offer.
Steering wheel controls and dashboard displays provide simple access to vehicle systems.