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Nissan Navara 2020 review: N-Trek

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Likes

  • Lifts the Navara looks very effectively
  • Ultimately not another Wildtrak
  • Finally a good multimedia interface

Dislikes

  • Still no AEB for Australia
  • Toughened suspension makes for stiffer ride

Remember that scene at the end of the first Back to the Future movie, where the cherry on top of Marty McFly's redirected life was discovering his dream HiLux in the garage, complete with pretty much every bolt-on accessory 1985 could muster?

It's fair to assume Marty's truck made do with the standard wheezy carburetted petrol four banger under the bonnet, despite his temptation to take on Flea from the Chilli Peppers in a drag race in the final scene.

This particular HiLux no doubt planted the seed of desire for thousands of young moviegoers, regardless of any actual performance pretence, which Toyota has only really moved to address in the past year with the tough-looking Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X.

Any modern dual cab 4x4 ute could be described as an automotive Swiss Army knife, but it's the Ford Ranger Wildtrak that's really capitalised on wannabe Marty McFlys over the past decade. With no mechanical difference to the XLT beneath it and a whole heap of aesthetic upgrades and a corresponding premium pricetag, we can't get enough of them.

So it makes perfect sense for Nissan to jump on board with the Navara, and following a handful of limited edition styling packs over the current generation NP300's past four years, a permanent Wildtrak/McFly equivalent has finally arrived to sit above the existing ST-X range topper.

It's called the N-Trek, and we were among the first to drive it at its Australian media launch last week.

Nissan Navara 2020: N-Trek Special Edition (4X4)

Safety Rating
Engine Type Diesel Turbo 4, 2.3L
Fuel Type Diesel
Fuel Efficiency 6.5L/100km (combined)
Seating 5
Price From $50,600 - $58,190

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
8 / 10

The N-Trek hits the market with the Series 4 NP300 Navara (that's four updates in four years!!!) range that finally brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring to all bar the base RX and DX trim levels.

This capability has been made possible by a new 8.0-inch multimedia screen and interface, which debuted in the electric Leaf and will start to trickle through other Nissan products. This new system also signals the end of the CD player.

What makes an N-Trek an N-Trek is a whole bunch of black details on the outside, many of which are from the options list.

The N-Trek hits the market with the Series 4 NP300 Navara range that finally brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring to all bar the base RX and DX trim levels.
The N-Trek hits the market with the Series 4 NP300 Navara range that finally brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring to all bar the base RX and DX trim levels.

From front to rear, this includes headlight bezels, grille and fog light and bumper inserts, wing  mirrors, wheels and wheelarch flares, side steps and special decals along the body, roof rails, door handles, the alloy sports bar and rear bumper.

There's also a handful of tasty orange highlights and a proper N-Trek badge on the tailgate.

It also scores orange highlights on the leather trim and other surfaces, plus front seat heaters and power adjustment for the driver. Considering the basic interior design is starting to date next to fresher utes, the N-Trek treatment really lifts it.

It scores orange highlights on the leather trim and other surfaces.
It scores orange highlights on the leather trim and other surfaces.

All these extras add just $3700 over the equivalent Navara ST-X too, which means a list price of $56,450 for the manual and $58,950 for the auto.

The colour options are limited to just black, grey or white from the regular palette, and the latter two are premium colours which will set you back an extra $595.

Aside from all this, the N-Trek is being built as a dual cab with four wheel drive and the tub tray,  with the twin-turbo 2.3 litre diesel engine.

 Considering the basic interior design is starting to date next to fresher utes, the N-Trek treatment really lifts it.
Considering the basic interior design is starting to date next to fresher utes, the N-Trek treatment really lifts it.

Is there anything interesting about its design?
8 / 10

The result of the N-Trek's visual upgrade is genuinely impressive, and it's clear there's been some serious design consideration given to the changes.

Underneath the N-Trek bits, the Series 4 Navara is little changed from the original 2015 NP300, but the top three trim levels benefit greatly from the black headlight bezels used on the N-Trek.


How practical is the space inside?
8 / 10

The N-Trek's upgraded visuals have made no difference to practicality, with four cupholders up front and bottleholders in each door. There's no cupholders or centre armrest for rear seat passengers.

The rear seat does get directional airvents and the two ISOFIX child seat mounts that were added last year in addition to the three top tether mounts.

The rear seat does get directional airvents and the two ISOFIX child seat mounts that were added last year.
The rear seat does get directional airvents and the two ISOFIX child seat mounts that were added last year.

Key weight measurements include decent 923/917kg payloads split between manual and automatic and both carry a useful 5910kg GCM.

The N-Trek retains the same 3500kg max braked towing capacity of all current Navaras.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
7 / 10

Nothing new here either, which the Wildrak has proven not to matter in the slightest.

So it's the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel fitted to all higher end NP300 Navaras, which produces the same 140kW and 450Nm it has since 2015, with the latter available between a relatively narrrow 1500-2500rpm.

Transmission options are also carried over, meaning a six-speed manual or seven-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

Underneath the N-Trek bits, the Series 4 Navara is little changed from the original 2015 NP300.
Underneath the N-Trek bits, the Series 4 Navara is little changed from the original 2015 NP300.

How much fuel does it consume?
8 / 10

Despite all the extra gear, the N-Trek carries the same, very impressive, 6.5L/100km (manual) and 7.0L/100km (auto) official combined fuel consumption figures as the ST-X dual-cab 4x4s.

This suggests you should be able to travel at least 1140km on the highway between fills its 80-litre tank, without much of a load or passengers of course.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty
5 years/unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
7 / 10

It's a shame that the Navara Series 4 update hasn't managed to bring the AEB system you can get in Europe, as the technology is thankfully now becoming more commonplace among Australian utes.

Nonetheless, it carries a maximum five star ANCAP safety rating according to 2015 standards, and is equipped with driver and passenger front airbags, driver's kneebag, driver and front passenger side airbags and curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
8 / 10

The entire Navara range benefits from Nissan's recently extended five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all private owners, while commercial operators will only be eligible for five years/200,000km. Roadside assistance is included for the duration, which is a nice touch.

Service intervals are every 12 months/20,000km, which is generous compared to the likes of the HiLux, which persists with six-month/10,000km service terms. The Navara's service costs are very high for the segment though, with an average annual cost of $629 throughout the warranty period.

What's it like to drive?
7 / 10

Given the N-Trek is just an aesthetic upgrade, there's no surprises in the way it drives.

Therefore it doesn't really do anything wrong for a ute in this class, and you could happily drive it for hours on the highway.

Unfortunately for the N-Trek I had the chance to spend some time in the Ranger Wildtrak just prior, and compared to it the N-Trek is a bit sharper over bumps, and less refined in general.

The 2.3-litre engine was very well regarded four years ago, but now it makes significantly more noise under load than the Ford's fancy new 2.0-litre unit.
The 2.3-litre engine was very well regarded four years ago, but now it makes significantly more noise under load than the Ford's fancy new 2.0-litre unit.

Last year's dual cab suspension upgrades may have helped its performance under load, but at the expense of passenger comfort when empty. This arguably negates the use of coil springs on the dual cabs, unlike the conventional leaf springs used by single and king cab Navaras.

The 2.3-litre engine was very well regarded four years ago, but now it makes significantly more noise under load than the Ford's fancy new 2.0-litre unit, and is noticeably less spritely around town.

It feels pretty close to the 3.2-litre Ranger I've also driven subsequently though, so don't dismiss it from your shopping list on these grounds.

Given the N-Trek is just an aesthetic upgrade, there's no surprises in the way it drives.
Given the N-Trek is just an aesthetic upgrade, there's no surprises in the way it drives.

Verdict

The N-Trek does bring a genuine cool factor to the Navara, and for a slightly sharper price than what Ford can manage. If everyone you know has already got a Wildrak, this is your chance to stand out.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

Would you look at an N-Trek over a Wildtrak? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Pricing Guides

$41,511
Based on 293 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months.
LOWEST PRICE
$4,800
HIGHEST PRICE
$59,990

Range and Specs

Vehicle Specs Price*
N-Trek Special Edition (4X4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SPEED MANUAL $50,600 - $58,190
N-Trek Warrior (4X4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SPEED MANUAL $56,540 - $65,010
PRO-4X (4X4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SPEED MANUAL $54,670 - $62,810
See all 2020 Nissan Navara in the Range
*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Malcolm Flynn
Editor
Back when all cars burned fuel and couldn't drive themselves, Mal was curing boredom by scanning every car his parents' VB Commodore drove past. His childhood appreciation for the car world exploded during a three-year stint in the US, and serious questions were asked when he spent a good chunk of his uni career perfecting lap times at Wakefield Park. Mal got his big break scooping the VE II Commodore, before a stint at Overlander magazine and kicking off his online career with The Motor Report in its heyday. These days he's exactly the same height as Michael Schumacher and uses his powers for good at the helm of CarsGuide's editorial team. Mal proudly shuns brand allegiance and counts three young kids, an EH Holden, NA MX-5, KE20 Corolla, W116 Mercedes-Benz and the world's most versatile Toyota Echo among his personal stable. He also craves a Subaru Vortex, so get in touch if you know where to find one.  
About Author
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