Nissan has given its “D23” Navara ute a number of ongoing updates since its launch in mid-2015. The first two introduced feedback-LED changes to the rear suspension and steering wheel adjustment, while this new “Series 4” model picks up a new infotainment system.
The 2020 Nissan Navara ST-X variant that we are viewing here is one of the more popular qualities, in addition to the cheaper ST. For a list price of $ 55,250 plus on-road costs, it is in line with the Ford Ranger XLT and Toyota HiLux – also known as the two best-selling vehicles in Australia.
Where the Navara fits into the wider ute market is interesting. It has been set up (anyway at ST-X level) as a slightly more refined, more expensive and more comfortable offer for “weekend warriors” who use their pick-up to drag the toy and cart through the family.
The new infotainment system features an 8.0-inch center touchscreen with new ‘Alliance-in-Vehicle’ software, can pinch and zoom like a smartphone, and offers new TomTom satellite navigation and the always-praised Apple CarPlay and Android Auto telephone mirroring.
It offers a better user experience than the predetermined 7.0-inch predecessor, with good quality maps, an easy-to-find home screen using hot keys, and the ability to execute Google / Waze maps and easily create podcasts and Spotify. operated by the above-mentioned telephone mirror systems.
The interior is pretty good according to class standards. It is all screwed together very tightly, and there are no cheap and annoying plastic decorations like most pickups. The large screen between the instruments includes a digital speedo, plus other data in the vehicle. It can very easily be the interior of a decent family SUV, which is the kind when you think about it.
Storage spaces include a drawer on top of the dashboard with a 12 V socket, door pockets, cup holders, a sunglasses holder above the head, a small center console and rear seat that can be folded up and attached to the headrests, giving you floor covering and enclosed space.
The rear seats offer less legroom than most other top sellers, although two 180 cm adults are still accommodated. There are also two ISOFIX child seat anchors and three top tether points, as well as vents that many competitors cannot find. There are also airbags that protect the side of the outer passengers at the rear.
There are, however, complaints such as the absence of telescopic (range) adjustment for the handlebars, the lack of digital radio, glossy black plastic fascia trim that is a magnet for dust, and the strangely designed handlebar with a raised center piece adjacent to the edge , which means that I continuously honked (by accident) while playing. Does anyone else have that?
The CD player is also switched, but will many people care?
Standard equipment is only okay for the asking price, but if the new shine on the Series 4 cools down, you can rightly expect the sharpened campaign prices to rise.
In addition to that infotainment system that has already been outlined, you get mod cons including cruise control, a decent six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, a proximity key ring and start button, and sensors at the rear.
There is also a 360-degree camera view that is displayed on the screen, combining a view that looks behind you and a bird’s eye view from above. However, we would like Nissan to use a higher resolution camera because it is a bit too grainy and lacks clarity.
We must add that the Navara comes with a few options, including a $ 1000 sunroof that sets the Nissan apart from competitors. You can also spend $ 1500 to get leather seats instead of the standard fabric numbers, which was an option on our test vehicle.
The other observation is that Nissan has yet to roll out active safety technologies, such as autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and radar-controlled active cruise control. Rivals such as the HiLux, Ranger and Triton now offer some or all of these, which means that the Navara is behind here.
On the outside you get LED headlights and running lights, fog lights (especially important for regional buyers), side steps, privacy glass, roof rails, mudflaps, chrome mirrors with automatic folding and LED indicator lights, a unique electric sliding window section in the rear glass adjacent to the cockpit section , 18-inch alloy wheels and Toyo tires.
The tray comes with a sports bar with high mounted traffic light, a protective cockpit lining, four mounting points, a 12 V outlet to power your fridge or compressor, and neat rails along the cockpit walls with adjustable mounting points that slide along and screw in. Nissan calls this system “Utili-Track,” and it’s good if you have a lot of variable dimensions with you.
Under the hood is a trusted engine, a Nissan-Renault 2.3-liter twin-turbo diesel with a capacity of 140 kW at 3750 rpm and a torque of 450 Nm between 1500 and 2500 rpm, the latter corresponding to the 2, 8 liter unit of the HiLux and 50 Nm less than the 2.0 liter BiTurbo unit of the Ford Ranger.
It usually has a surly note on inactivity (although it is much less agricultural than the donks of Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max) but pulls well, and the fuel consumption of the combined cycle is a very efficient 7.0L / 100km. The maximum towing capacity is the 3.5 tonne rigueur, although the GCM means that it would be 3.0 tonnes if it is also on load capacity. Fortunately, we have pulled a caravan of around 2.0 tonnes.
It is coupled with a great seven-speed automatic transmission, and there is an electronically-driven 4WD system with high and low ranges, the last of which is supported by hill electronics. Nissan achieves a ground clearance of 228 mm, a breakthrough angle of 24.7 degrees, an approach angle of 33.2 degrees and a departure angle of 28.2 degrees.
An important selling point for the Navara is the rear-wheel suspension which, unlike most leaf-competing competitors, contains reels instead and five clutches designed to maximize roadholding and body control when it is empty.
As part of the Series 3 update, Nissan swapped the rear springs for two-stage units that become stiffer when loading, and the change was well worth it. The load capacity is a modest 932 kg, although we are very happy to have dragged a more realistic 650 kg. The bodywork remained largely flat and the steering was well controlled.
Dynamically, the Navara is fine. Nissan eased control as part of an earlier running change, making it much less difficult to steer through the city than at the launch. Levels of refinement are decent and unladen bodywork control and ride quality good for the class, although it is hardly more comfortable to drive than a Ranger or Amarok V6.
If I summarized the driving experience, it would say that the Navara Series 3 and 4 are major improvements over the original D23 model in steering and laden driving, and that it is refined and comfortable, with a powerful engine and good gearbox. But again, none of the drivers seems to me to be leading. It’s just … Solid.
From the point of view of ownership, Nissan was one of the last brands to offer a five-year warranty with no distance limitation and 24/7 roadside assistance. Maintenance intervals with a maximum price are a good 12 months and 20,000 km, and the first five visits are currently priced at $ 526, $ 563, $ 727, $ 585 and $ 570. That’s quite high.
So why buy a Navara ST-X? Well, at the end of the day it is quite comfortable and quiet, economical, better able to carry loads than before, it has some unique features and now offers excellent infotainment technologies.