Nissan Navara 2012 review
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Officially they're workhorses, but high-riding utes have never been more luxurious -- or expensive. Stick your head in the cabin of a premium 4x4 crew cab ute and chances are youll find all the fruit that goes with a luxury sedan or SUV.
That said, the big and smooth V6 diesel engines that are popular in the swanky European sedans and SUVs have not made it across into the workhorses, which make do with engines from other commercial vehicles.
Nissan grabbed a grunty V6 used by Renault and Infiniti and threw it in the Navara early last year. It was only available in the top-line ST-X 550, but now you can get in in the more affordable ST-X. The changes are part of a re-jig that sees more gear added to all models, including electronic stability control, prices tweaked and the four-potengine upgraded.
The cheapest 4x4 dual cab Navara is the basic $41,300 RX, which now gets ESC. The ST is now more expensive at $46,800, but gets a more powerful four-cylinder engine, 17-inch alloys, premium sound system, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, six airbags and ESC. An automatic is $2250 more.
From there, the price goes north fast to $56,990 for the ST-X, but it does get the big V6. The ST-X 550 price goes up to $62,990 but a load of luxury gear that was optional is now standard. It still makes the eyes water.
What does everyone want to know about when you mention the name Navara? The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6. This beauty churns out a whopping great 170kW and 550Nm of torque, the most grunt available in the class. It works with a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic. The ST gets an upgraded 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with 140kW and 450Nm, up from 126kW and 403Nm with the RX 4x4. These models get a six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic. Payloads vary between 776kg and 909kg, while the maximum towing capacity is steady at 3000kg across the range.
ESC was only previously available on the premium models but is now fitted to all the 4x4 dual cabs. The RX only gets two airbags, but the ST, ST-X and ST-X 550 all get a six-pack. The four-cylinder ST 4x4 dual cab just got a four-star crash test rating from ANCAP, but the V6 is yet to be tested.
Not much to see here folks. The Navara looks largely the same as it did when it rolled out the factory in 2005, although the interior has been refreshed along the way. The design might be familiar, but it still looks good which is not something you can say for all the new workhorse utes (hat-tip to the Mazda BT-50).
Don't drive the V6 Navara unless you can afford it. It's so strong and smooth and pulls with such little effort that the more affordable four-cylinder Navara will feel underdone. In isolation, the 2.5 four-cylinder is perfectly capable and pulls hard (although it is noisy when you put the foot down), but is overshadowed by the premium V6. We lugged a 2000kg load of building material up to a Habitat for Humanity worksite in Buxton, Victoria, and the V6 models didn't even notice the load.
The four tows well, but the V6 is exceptional and is super smooth -- and refined too. You can feel the chassis wobbling over bumps and ruts, something that is not as evident in machines like the BT-50 and Ford Ranger, but the ride is plush. The cabin is spacious and practical, with so much space that you can fit a large mountain bike in the cab after folding the rear seats up
An all-powerful V6 makes the ST-X and 550 Navaras unique in the class. They are crackers, but are priced accordingly. The four-cylinder models are good enough to make any shortlist, although Id say the BT-50 and Ranger are better utes on the whole.
Range and Specs
|DX||2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN||$7,000 – 10,780||2012 Nissan Navara 2012 DX Pricing and Specs|
|DX (4X4)||2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN||$9,200 – 13,860||2012 Nissan Navara 2012 DX (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|RX (4X2)||2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$9,600 – 14,520||2012 Nissan Navara 2012 RX (4X2) Pricing and Specs|
|RX (4X4)||2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$10,700 – 15,730||2012 Nissan Navara 2012 RX (4X4) Pricing and Specs|