Updated Nissan Navara revealed
Nissan teases new design and mid-life updates for its 2021 Navara ute.
The question of whether to buy new or renovate is one many prospective Australian homeowners grapple with every year.
But in the world of light commercial vehicles, an all-new model only comes along once per decade, so constant renovation is the order of the day.
Hence why Nissan recently whipped the covers off the latest update to the fifth-generation D23 Navara, which is due here in early 2021.
Headlining the changes are more payload, the addition of advanced driver assist technology and a sporty new model grade, the PRO-4X.
The PRO-4X grade is designed to give Nissan a dog in the fight against the likes of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Toyota HiLux Rugged X, both super-successful dual cab 4x4 models that appear to be nailing the sweet spot with Aussie consumers.
Stepping out with the bold new design that is a hallmark of the updated Navara, the PRO-4X will be out to turn heads and open wallets in the increasingly heated battle for the top end of the lucrative dual cab 4x4 ute range.
Nissan stopped short of releasing pricing details but as the best-specified and most recreationally oriented of the line-up you can bet the PRO-4X will raise the price ceiling over current models.
That honour rests with the locally enhanced Navara N-Trek Warrior, which lists at $65,990. Nissan Australia has confirmed the Premcar-developed N-Trek range will be retired upon the arrival of the PRO-4X.
Despite plenty of hoopla, the 2021 Navara does not qualify as an all-new model.
That’s because this generation Navara only arrived in 2015 so still has a few years to soldier on with its current mechanical package. Fortunately, a series of well-targeted annual updates, including this latest mid-life refresh, have kept the Nissan workhorse on the pace with its key competitors,
Pundits predict it will be 2025 before we see the all-new Navara but before then we will get a taste of what’s to come in the form of the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton, which will share its mechanical underpinnings with the Nissan.
Of course, the idea of sharing mechanicals with another brand is not new to Nissan, which contributed much of the Navara’s underlying DNA to the short-lived Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
Now these rival Japanese brands are getting into bed together, courtesy of their membership of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Back to the Navara’s 2021 update, which includes an exterior redesign that Nissan describes as being “more extroverted and athletic”.
The new look features a bold new front fascia with distinctive “interlock” grille, first introduced on the US-market Titan full-size pickup.
New quad LED projector headlamps increase brightness and add a level of sophistication to the rugged design while the model name is now embossed on top of the grille and across the full width of the tailgate.
At the rear, there are new LED taillights plus a step that’s now integrated into the bumper for easier access to the tray. The ute tub has been slightly redesigned too, incorporating new wheel-arch flares and a new tailgate.
Nissan claims the new look is accompanied by a quieter and more comfortable interior thanks to more sound deadening and new side-step finishers which contribute to better aerodynamic performance and decreased wind noise.
The ute’s interior is also said to be more driver-oriented thanks to a new steering wheel and improved styling of the instrument panel, highlighting the 8.0-inch navigation screen and a 7.0-inch high-resolution TFT screen.
Back in the cheap seats, the rear pews are said to be more comfortable, thanks to upgrades to the seat cushions and back shapes plus there’s a new armrest with built-in cup holders for our ubiquitous lattes.
Stylistically, the new PRO-4X grade features a blacked-out treatment on the Nissan emblem, front bumper and grille, door handles, roof racks and running boards, as well as on its eye-catching 17-inch black wheels. Liberal splashes of red accents on the inside and outside contrast with these darker elements.
The major news on the safety front is the addition of new Nissan Intelligent Mobility features across the range, although the updated Navara still falls short of the Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50 and Toyota HiLux in a few areas, including the absence of an extra airbag between the front seats.
The new system packages a host of advanced driver assistance technologies, including intelligent forward collision warning, intelligent emergency braking, intelligent driver alert, lane departure warning, intelligent lane intervention, blind spot warning, intelligent around view monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. A new trailer sway control feature also helps the vehicle maintain stability on the road when towing a trailer.
The around view monitor includes moving object detection and four mounted cameras to help drivers notice people and cars surrounding and approaching the vehicle. The system also features an off-road monitor, which can be used to sight surrounding obstacles at low speeds when driving in 4x4-mode in rugged terrain.
A new infotainment system incorporates Bluetooth streaming audio, voice recognition, and satellite navigation, along with multiple USB ports.
Now, as before, the Navara retains its tough body-on-frame construction with carry-over double wishbone front and coil spring rear suspension.
The ute’s tray is now larger, however, and the rear axle has been strengthened. Payload has also been increased to a healthier 1.2 tons, while braked towing capacity remains a category-competitive 3500kg.
There are no changes under the bonnet, meaning the Navara continues to be powered by a muscular 2.3-litre intercooled twin turbo-diesel, developing 140kW/ 450Nm, hitched to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.