The trip to Perth was to showcase the Nissan Navara, which seemed odd, given that Navara had already had its upgrades announced earlier.
It turned out the Australians – far outnumbering the Kiwi motor noters – were being introduced to the limited edition Navara 4x4 Sl-based Silverline and ST Black Edition, while the Kiwi contingent explored Perth to the Margaret River region in ST-X models. What’s this? Trans-tasman rivalry? A dose of Australian “you can’t have it, cobbers,” creeping in? No, not really. There are only 900 Silverlines and 900 Black Editions being built and those are destined for the Australian market. You see, last year, Nissan Australia got kind of swamped when it produced a limited-edition ST-X N-sport release, so they decided to do it again. There is a possibility that New Zealand could take up some of the limited-edition models, but if not, Nissan New Zealand’s managing director John Manley explained that if New Zealand felt the need to follow in Australia’s tyre tracks, it could produce a Black Edition or something very close to it. That being the case, what makes up a Black Edition? It starts with an ST model and adds black 18-inch alloy wheels with dealer fitted all-terrain tyres, black sports bar, black wheel arch flares and black nudge bar. In addition, the Black Edition features LED light bar, soft tonneau cover, protective tubliner with black front grille, black mirror caps. black fog lamp surrounds, smoked bonnet protector, mobile phone holder and black body decals. For the Sl-based Silverline, 16-inch alloy wheels replace standard steel wheels, while the ute gains a polished sports bar, mobile phone holder and a ‘Silverline’ tailgate badge. The ST Black Edition has a seven-inch colour touchscreen with satellite navigation and a leather accented steering wheel, while the Silverline has a five-inch display. Both are fitted with a rear-view camera built within the audio display plus an automatic dimming rear-view mirror, electronic rear differential lock, privacy glass, LED headlights and daytime running lamps, Bluetooth and cruise control as standard. So the Black Edition thing is largely cosmetic, which is fine. But for some reason Nissan Australia thought it a good idea to go prowling through all sorts of off-road terrain with these ‘dressed’ trucks. Given some of the rutty tracks we went through, I personally, was glad I didn’t have all the trappings of the Black Edition to scrape or redesign with trees, rocks or deeper than they looked creek crossings. As it happened, I think we lucked out anyway – the ST-X proving that Nissan does know how to build a rough ‘n tumble workhorse and have it luxuriously comfortable at the same time. The new Navara special edition feature a 2.3-litre intercooled twin-turbo diesel engine that boasts 140kw of power and 450Nm of torque. On this launch, those engines and the Navara’s abilities both off and on-road were easily demonstrable in Western Australia. I couldn’t speak to the Black Edition models, but the ST-X Navara showed very high levels of ride sophistication, the result of the Nissan Navara’s 5-link suspension grades receive ride and handling. These enhancements have been made with loading and towing in mind. Technically, the Navara has adopted a dual-rate rear spring system, with the lower spring rates first stage providing a comfortable ride in unladen and light payload conditions. The higher spring rate’s second stage allows higher payload to be carried without compromise in posture or ride and handling quality. The high riding rear posture improves handling while towing and speaking of things behind the Navara, the 2018 model year sees an Around View® Monitor has been fitted within the 7-inch infotainment system on top-of-the-range ST-X Dual Cab and King Cab grades. Four mounted cameras help drivers notice people and cars surrounding and approaching the vehicle, improving safety. Supporting this technology is the rear-view Camera, which is now offered as standard equipment on even more variants in the Navara range. Do we need a Black Edition a’la the Aussie market, where it becomes an additional element of the Navara fleet range, or are we happier to run with the standard fare and bling it up as we like? Whichever, the launch demonstrated that Nissan does, if nothing else, produce a sensible, capable and well thought out ute which should not be ignored.