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Nissan Navara 2017 review

2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant pictured)
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Imagine a world in which car companies actually copped to their mistakes, and then fixed them. An alternative automotive universe in which the Infiniti QX80 doesn't look like that anymore.

Imagine a world in which car companies actually copped to their mistakes, and then fixed them. An alternative automotive universe in which the Infiniti QX80 doesn't look like that anymore.

Where Minis are still mini, and where whoever designed the Ssangyong Stavic had their fingers broken before they could pick up another crayon.

Sounds too good to be true, sure, but that's at least how Nissan rolls, with the Japanese brand openly admitting it got the suspension set-up in its Navara Dual Cab ute wrong. And this Series II model is an attempt to fix it.

While the Single and King Cab Navara arrived with leaf-spring rear suspension, Nissan fitted a coil-spring setup in the Dual Cab version, hoping to make the ride a little more car-like and comfortable. But its buyers complained that the suspension was too soft and sagging - especially under a heavy load.

It's tough, but without trying too hard.

But while the outgoing car got what Nissan refers to as a "South-East Asian tune", meaning it arrived unchanged from the Thai factory, Nissan's Australian engineers have been heavily involved this time around, demanding a unique and firmer ride for Aussie buyers.

There's also a new Dual Cab trim level, the SL, targeting fleet buyers, along with a sprinkling of blink-and-you'll-miss-them changes elsewhere, but this is really all about the under-the-skin adjustments.

Nissan Navara 2017: DX (4x4)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.3L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency6.6L/100km
Seating2 seats
Price from$19,990

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Only that the exterior design is entirely unchanged, which is testament to how right Nissan got the boxy look of the Dual Cab Navara in the first place. It's tough, but without trying too hard, and its combination of bulging guards, SUV-style front end and well proportioned dimensions give it a handsome road presence.

  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (ST-X Dual Cab variant shown)

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Every bit as practical as you might expect. For a start, the diesel-powered towing capacity is 3500kg - an impressive number - while payloads span 982kg to more than 1.1 tonne.

Inside, expect four cupholders, with room in the doors for bottles, along with a variety of cubby holes and storage compartments - including hiding places under the flip-up rear seats. Elsewhere, expect three power outlets, while a fourth lives in the tray of the pick-up models.

A strange oversight, though, is the lack of ISOFIX attachment points, with tether points deployed in the backseat instead. It's a strange omission (especially since some international models get them), but they're simply unavailable from the Thai factory. Expect that to change soon enough, though.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

This Series II Navara is still available in a mind-bending 30-plus trim/gearbox combinations spanning Single, King and Dual Cab configurations across several trim levels, but this update is largely reserved for the Dual Cab models.

That range is available in five trim levels all of its own, the cheapest of which are the rear-wheel drive (RWD) models. It now kicks off with the RX ($32,990 manual, $35,490 automatic) before stepping up to the ST - which is now $1,000 more expensive at $39,900 (manual) and $42,490 (auto). Next is the ST-X, which is $44,990 (manual) or $47,490 (auto). The former entry level, petrol-powered DX model is under a cloud for the time being, and has been left off the specification sheet entirely.

Nissan then repeats that merry dance with the four-wheel drive (4WD) models, with the RX wearing a $38,490 sticker for the manual and $40,990 for the automatic if you opt for the cab chassis, and $39,990 and $42,990 respectively if you shoot for the pick-up.

Expect a diesel engine in two tunes that offer rich and plentiful torque low in the rev range.

Next up is an all-new grade for the Navara - and one intended to target fleet and company buyers - the SL, which is $43,990 for the manual and $46,490 for the automatic, and is only available with 4WD. Next, the ST model has increased by $1,000 to $46,990  (manual) and $49,490 (auto), before the Navara Dual-Cab range finally and mercifully tops out with the ST-X which will set you back $51,990 (manual) and $54,490 (auto).

Now, that's a swirling sea of numbers and trims, but it boils down to this: RX models still mark the entry point to the range, and you can expect a Bluetooth-equipped six-speaker stereo, cloth seats, halogen headlights and privacy glass. You'll also find 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, rear air-con vents and some chrome splashes on the exterior bodywork.

The new SL trim (4WD only) adds a rear-view camera, LED headlamps with DRLs, a 5.0-inch screen with phone integration (but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) and a digital driver display. Step up to the ST and your 16-inch wheels are now alloys, your multimedia screen is now a 7.0-inch touchscreen and you get standard sat-nav, along with a leather-wrapped wheel and gear stick.

Finally, the ST-X adds a tub liner and roof rails, heated wing mirrors with integrated indicators and 18-inch alloy wheels. You also get carpet instead of vinyl flooring along with heated front seats which are now accented in leather. Dual-zone climate also makes an appearance, along with keyless entry and push-button start.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

The engine options are carried over unchanged from the outgoing model, so expect a diesel engine in two tunes that offer rich and plentiful torque low in the rev range.

The 2.3-litre diesel is offered in both single (120kW at 3750rpm and 403Nm from 1500rpm) and twin-turbo (140kW at 3750 and 450Nm from 1500rpm). Both are paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Fuel consumption is pegged at a claimed/combined 6.4L/100km (man) and 6.9 litres (auto) in the RWD RX, which gets the single turbo engine, though those numbers climb to 6.6 and 7.1 respectively in the 4WD model. The ST and ST-X see those numbers climb to 6.3/6.8 (RWD) and 6.5/7.0 (4WD).

C02 Emissions start at 166g/km, and climb to 187g, depending on the engine size and driven wheels.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Almost all Dual Cab Navaras (excluding the 4WD cab chassis variant) feature revised dampers all around, along with revised springs, dampers and rebound dampers at the rear, in an effort to inject some firmness into what was a soft and billowing ride. So what does all that mean from behind the wheel?

The result is a car that feels stiffer at every wheel, with particular focus paid to the rear suspension. We spent our time carrying loads of about 350kg, which is really only enough to settle the suspension and not enough to put it under any kind of real pressure, so it's hard to declare a definitive verdict, but it certainly feels sorted under light loads.

Like most in its segment it performs best when there's something heavy in the tray.

But, there is a downside to all this new-found firmness, and that is that when you're carrying anything at all there's a new skittishness to the rear end, and it can skip around a bit on dodgy or corrugated roads, and can feel a little nervous on gravel or dirt roads.

The engine options are unchanged and, the diesels - particularly the  twin-turbo - offer a rich flow of torque early in the rev range, propelling the Navara forward at slow speeds. The delivery does slow up when you're travelling at speed, however (we roughly timed an eight-second climb from 80km/h to 100km/h travelling uphill), so freeway overtaking moves can take some planning.

Question marks remain over the steering, which feels slow and dead-weight heavy at walking pace, but does liven up at cruising speeds.

  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured)
  • 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured) 2017 Nissan Navara Series II (SL Dual Cab variant pictured)

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

It's a hit-and-miss affair, unfortunately. For a start, a reversing camera is not standard across the range (it only appears on the SL trim and up), which is a miss, but there are also seven airbags as standard, including a driver's knee bag, which is a hit.

Every Navara gets VDC, ABS and EBD, while the ST-X adds reversing sensors, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, but advanced safety technology like AEB and Lane Assist are missing from the specification sheet altogether.

The Navara received the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when crash tested in 2015.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Every Navara is covered by a three-year/100,00km warranty and requires servicing every 20,00km or 12 months.

The range is also covered by Nissan's menu of service pricing, with owners able to calculate parts and labour costs ahead of each scheduled service.

Verdict

A handsome and capable utility with a fine set of road manners when used as a daily commuter. At first glance, the suspension changes have improved the offering, but like most in its segment it performs best when there's something heavy in the tray.

The range of body/engine/gearbox/trim/drive combinations available is borderline overwhelming, but we reckon the ST Dual Cab is the sweet spot.

Will these upgrades put the Nissan Navara on your ute shopping list? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$35,985
Based on 253 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$16,990
Highest Price
$48,000

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
DX (4x2) 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $12,320 – 16,390 2017 NISSAN NAVARA 2017 DX (4x2) Pricing and Specs
DX (4x4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $19,990 – 25,000 2017 NISSAN NAVARA 2017 DX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
N-SPORT BLACK EDITION 2.3L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $42,990 – 44,000 2017 NISSAN NAVARA 2017 N-SPORT BLACK EDITION Pricing and Specs
RX (4x2) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $16,990 – 24,990 2017 NISSAN NAVARA 2017 RX (4x2) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety6
Ownership7
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$16,990

Lowest price, based on 244 car listings in the last 6 months

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