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"The truck has to be credible in market. No Debate": 2025 Nissan Navara heading for hybrid and leaf spring rear end in co-development with Mitsubishi Triton to challenge Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Isuzu D-Max

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How the new Navara could look (Image: Thanos Pappas)
How the new Navara could look (Image: Thanos Pappas)

After a decade in market, sales of Nissan’s current, fourth-generation (D23) Navara ute have fallen to a fraction of those recorded by category leaders like the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Isuzu D-Max.

But a new generation replacement is due in the second half of 2025 with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance long ago confirming co-development of the new Navara with the recently released sixth-generation Mitsubishi Triton.

Which raises the prospect of, not just common architecture, but shared powertrains and suspension hardware, with CarsGuide recently picking up several clues to the next Navara’s potential make-up.

When asked if an electrified Navara is part of the new model plan, François Bailly, Nissan’s Senior Vice President, Chief Planning Officer AMIEO Region (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe & Oceania) said, “Is there an appetite in the company? Of course. Is there a customer? Of course. We just need to do it right at the right time.”

Kaoru Sawase, Mitsubishi's Engineering Fellow responsible for 4WD systems and advanced engineering, told CarsGuide at last year’s Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo that a plug-in hybrid is in the works for Triton.

Sawase-san confirmed the Triton required development of an all-new plug-in hybrid system, with existing tech used on the Mitsubishi Outlander and Eclipse Cross, not suitable for the ute’s longitudinal powertrain configuration and 4WD capability.

And Mr Bailly confirms this type of hybrid arrangement is right for Navara in the short to medium term.

Like Mitsubishi, Nissan won't compromise on load lugging (Image: Mark Oastler)
Like Mitsubishi, Nissan won't compromise on load lugging (Image: Mark Oastler)

“Economically, the challenge we have is a big battery and a big engine. How can that be sustainable? So our best option is that (hybrid) technology as a bridge,” he said.

And on the subject of suspension Mr Bailey references customer and media feedback on the D23 Navara’s set-up as a pointer to the future model’s specification.

“In Australia we launched the current generation in 2014, 2015 and there was a lot of challenge on the suspension and the driving performance that we had to work on.

“The multi-link rear (set-up) generated a lot of ‘sagging’ questions when you add load at the front and the rear. Clearly we will not repeat this mistake. Let me put it this way,” he said.

A hybrid future for the Warrior? Possibly.  (Image: Marcus Craft)
A hybrid future for the Warrior? Possibly. (Image: Marcus Craft)

The clear inference is adoption of the Triton’s locally tuned suspension configuration, including lightweight leaf springs at the rear. 

And there’s no doubt Nissan believes the next Navara will be class-competitive. When asked if it will retain a one-tonne payload, 3.5-tonne towing towing capacity as well as high- and low-range 4WD gearing, Mr Bailly said, “It wouldn’t be a pick-up truck (without those things), would it?”

“What we would not do is compromise the performance of the truck for the benefit of the electrification or whatever it is. The truck has to be credible in market. No debate.”

James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands. He would then play ‘drivings’, happily heading to destinations unknown for hours on end. He’s since owned many cars, raced a few, and driven (literally) thousands of them at all points of the globe. He’s steered around and across Australia multiple times, spent time as an advanced driving instructor, and had the opportunity to experience rare and valuable classics here and overseas. His time in motoring journalism has included stints at national and international titles including Motor, Wheels and TopGear, and when asked to nominate a career highlight, James says interviewing industry legend Gordon Murray, in the paddock at the 1989 Australian Formula One Grand Prix was amazing, especially as Murray waived away a hovering Ayrton Senna to complete the conversation. As Deputy Editor, James manages everything from sub-editing to back-end content, while creating written and video product reviews, as well as the weekly 'Tools in the Shed' podcast.'
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