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Nissan Navara ST-X review

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    There are worthwhile changes to the the Nissan Navara, from smarter dashboard details to the addition of electronic traction and stability control plus engine tweaks for the 2.5 litre diesel.

MAYBE fashionistas have always been right about black being slimming.

Because the Altitude Blue Navara out front looks that bit bigger and bolder than the black dual cab D40 that lives around here.  Sure, this upgraded version is a little longer in the nose with revised grille and front bumper adding 80mm to the length.

Sure, these ST-X versions now sit on 17-inch wheels and theres more power and torque from the diesel but these things do not increase bulk that much.  Maybe its just because this ones clean, unscratched and in this handsome blue alongside the older truck.

Anyway, there havent been wholesale changes here with the top-of-the-tree Navara D40. But there are worthwhile changes, from smarter dashboard details to the addition of electronic traction and stability control plus engine tweaks for the 2.5 litre diesel. 

The Nissan Navara is a popular dual-purpose machine; the one at home used for tours as far out back as Urandangi, a bit of farm and four-wheel drive work. That black ute, now with 65,000km up, has run without complaint or incident and an ARB lift.

But what does the discerning dog think about this bright blue updated machine? Is the five-speed automatic here a better option than the familys six-speed manual? Are the changes worth ringing the bank and trading the black one.

Value

At a recommended retail of $53,240 for the auto the Navara sits between two similar-dressed dual cabs - Mitsubishis cheaper Triton and the dearer Toyota HiLux. All three have their virtues and values; all three offer a swag of comfort, convenience and workhorse features.

The Navara offers the better on-road ride and handling plus a larger and well-sorted cabin (highlighted by the fold-up rear seats). It also offers more engine power and torque than rivals.  But the Triton is some $2000 cheaper and some may rate the HiLux a better deal for daily belting through rough conditions.

Technology

Nissans added electronic stability control, handy for steadying a sliding rear, and lifted engine performance with a retune, new cylinder head and new injection system. Power and torque are up 11 per cent with claimed fuel consumption and emissions down.  Inside theres now dual zone air conditioning, Bluetooth connections and a trip computer.

The rest of the package is much as before with a centre console switch for moving from two wheel drive to four-high and four-low, coil springs up front and leaf springs out back.  New is a dashboard 4WD warning light if the Nissans system malfunctions or if left in four-high or four-low when on hard surfaces.

Design

The Navara ST-X is a good-looking truck given a sensible tidy up here. It doesnt make or break the ute but a little highlight here are chrome-ringed instruments; a touch of some class that highlights how Nissan got most things right first time around with these D40s, now its a matter of detail work.

For the cabin and the tray are a good size, theres the fold-up rear seats and Nissans clever Utili-track load system.  It is a combination of these design details that add to the Navaras appeal. And the new sheet metal up front, plus those 17-inch wheels, gives the ute even more road presence.

It will be intriguing to see what the next generation of dual cab utes - all-new Mazda BT50, Ford Ranger and VW Amarok in 2011 - bring to the field.

Safety

With Nissans Electronic Stability Program now fitted to the ST-X, plus ABS, plus driver and front passenger, side and curtain airbags there is a fair safety package here. The D40s inherent handling attributes (for a decent-sized ute) and a comfortable cabin with good visibility are also safety factors here.

Driving

The Navara ST-X, as with its rivals, drives best with a load (even a full fuel tank helps settle the load-carrying rear end). It is also the best of the bunch when running unladen, a little more comfortable and composed when hustled along; the rubber here is more suited to the tar and that helps at road speeds.

Now the stability control (switchable) adds another dimension, limiting the hop and slide when the rear wheels step out on rough corners or on a loose dirt road. It is, as with most modern systems, quite polite about bringing the ute back to the straight ahead.

With the test truck running a five-speed auto, the turbo diesels extra power and torque was a little harder to quantify because the ute at homes a six-speed manual. What is noticeable is a smarter step off the line; for the rest of it this is one smooth powerplant/transmission combination, able to be pushed along at a decent rate and very good at overtaking speeds (though here it can be best to drop back to fourth through the manual mode on the auto).

Off the road, transmission locked into low-four, the auto can be slowed to a decent crawl when locked into first for progress over rock and such.  Or let run free for attacking mud or sand, this is where an auto and turbo diesel are very handy.

And the worst of the weeks fuel consumption was 10.1 litres per 100km after some paddock crawling and a fast run up the mountains (all with a light load). Around the town and down the highway this dropped to around 9.1l/100km.

Verdict

Right now the Nissan Navara is one of the three best dual cabs doing the rounds. Whether it is better - or better value - than the other two could be long debated; each has virtues and downsides.

It is certainly a handsome machine. It is quick and comfortable, well-appointed and a versatile ute for all manner of jobs.  (And the dog loved it because it got him places where he could roll in cow pats all day.)

NISSAN NAVARA ST-X

Price: $53,240
Body: Four-door ute
Engine: 2.5 litre turbo diesel
Power: 140kW @ 4000rpm
Torque:450Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Length/width/height: 5296mm/1848mm/1795mm Ground clearance: 228mm
Payload: 776kg
Towing: 3000kg

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • I have the 2011 d40 its crap it has a bent chassis from day one nissan have tryed to fix it but its still the same down 27mm on the back right hand side i will never buy a nissan again my ute has never been off the tar doont buy one

    ash emonson of nsw Posted on 27 December 2013 10:49am
  • I have the new 2013 Navara STX and im a very happy customer! brought it brand new, cars now done 12000 kms and is perfect couldn’t be happier, Bigger, Better, Smarter than any Hilux!

    Ian. of Perth Posted on 13 August 2013 11:54pm
  • @Richard Woodroff @Peter Hegarty: Google nissan navara towing capacity d40 for the answer.

    Bill dunk of Sydney Posted on 27 April 2013 2:20pm
  • My Nissan Navara Outlaw D40 brought new in 2009 has rust across the top of the windscreen, had to replace a clutch and the brakes are spongy. I took it to Nissan and they said that the brakes are meant to be that way so there’s nothing they can do. I know I wont be buying another one.

    John from Coffs of Coffs Harbour Posted on 24 September 2012 2:00am
  • Would some one please reply to Richard Woodroff as I am in the same ‘boat’. I have a 2000 Landcruiser Petrol/Gas and looking to upgrade to a dual cab turbo diesel because of fuel consumption.

    Peter Hegarty of Gold Coast Qld Posted on 11 July 2012 6:21pm
  • Would some one please reply to Richard Woodroff as I am in the same ‘boat’. I have a 2000 Landcruiser Petrol/Gas and looking to upgrade to a dual cab turbo diesel because of fuel consumption.

    Peter Hegarty of Gold Coast Qld Posted on 11 July 2012 6:19pm
  • Cameron, Sorry you had so many issues mate but I don’t think it’s just Nissan, I talk with heaps of people and always ask about their cars. Many people complain about BMW’s and Mercedes are just as bad. I had one woman tell how much of a lemon her new Triton ( and just take a look at Magnas ) was and my best mate is an auto sparky and he says he’s seeing and hearing of loads of Hilux issues. The mines are killing the patrols and prados…cracked chasis in less than 40k km. They’re all crap… my theory? GM was the biggest auto company in the world and they build some of the of the biggest junk. Why over engineer when you can build crap and still make the same money? Then when they break they need to be replaced….gone is the day of the car that goes forever….unless its a Subaru of course!

    Bob of Brisbane Posted on 12 January 2012 2:10pm
  • I can reveiw the STX from experience. The turbos drop dead, Timing chains snap, stearing fails, Suspension saggs, Hard covers fall off, Chrome falls off, clutches fail, Power windows fail and they squeak and rattle more than anearly eights defender. And thats all buy 165K. I bought brand new and looked after it. Nissan do not want to know either. Do not buy a Nissan.

    Cameron of WA Posted on 18 November 2011 9:27pm
  • Great reviews, BUT I want to tow a Jayco heritage ,approx 2500kg. I cant find any reviews re: its ability to handle the task without revving it`s heart out like my 2006 4lt Toyota Prado????

    Richard Woodroff of Mudgee N.S.W. Posted on 08 February 2011 12:11pm
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