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Nissan Navara 2022 review: ST-X

What? You put your grocery shopping in the tub of a Nissan Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 ute?

Does a ute make a good family car? That’s the question many parents are asking themselves especially these days when the top two best selling cars in Australia are actually utes.

So, I put the Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 ute to the test with my family. We very quickly found out its family-car strengths and weaknesses.

Now I’m here to show you what we discovered so you and your family can decide if this ute will be right for all of you. 

The top two best selling cars in Australia are actually utes. The top two best selling cars in Australia are actually utes.

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What does it look like?

The Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 sits almost at the very top of the range which means it comes decked out with all the trimmings, such as the polished sports bar, the functional side steps, cool ice-cube style quad LED headlights, LED running lights and the LED tail-lights.

It’s a tough look, but it’s not as rugged as the PRO-4X which is the king of the range and dressed as though its ready to meet armageddon.

The Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 sits almost at the very top of the range. The Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 sits almost at the very top of the range.

Even though the ST-X is nowhere near as OTT as the PRO-4X it has a serious work/play appearance with some high quality touches such as Navara lettering across the grille and stamped into the tailgate.

I have my reservations about the ‘futuristic’ look of the ST-X’s wheels, but you might think they’re great. That’s not going to harm our friendship.   

The ST-X’s cabin styling isn’t as refined as its polished exterior. The design of the dash and centre console feels old compared to what we’re seeing in SUVs now, but on pretty much the same level to other ute interiors.

On the plus side the layout is highly functional, the materials feel hard wearing and the surfaces are easy to clean – all those score good family points.

How does it drive?

The Navara ST-X is a little more difficult to drive than an SUV, in that the steering is heavier than say a Nissan X-Trail or Pathfinder, it’s also longer than them too and the ride and handling isn’t as good because (in part) the ute has a ladder frame chassis.

That said, good visibility and a reversing camera with a ‘top-down’ view made the ST-X easy to park if there was a space big enough – it’s 5.12m long.

The engine is a 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel making 140kW and 450Nm. For a diesel it’s smooth and fairly quiet with plenty of grunt which is easy to control with no turbo lag.

The engine is a 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel. The engine is a 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel.

The seven-speed automatic transmission is smooth as well and shifts without fuss.

If you haven’t driven a ute before you’ll be surprised by how easy the ST-X dual cab is to pilot and if you’re a ute aficionado, you’ll be impressed by the comfort and smoothness of the experience.

I did all my road testing on the bitumen and didn’t head off-road, but the ST-X I tested was the 4x4 variant with a low-range gear, add to this a ladder frame chassis, 224mm of ground clearance and this Navara is highly capable in the tough stuff.

I haven’t tow tested this vehicle but the 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity will be up to most hauling jobs. 

You’ll be impressed by the comfort and smoothness of the ride. You’ll be impressed by the comfort and smoothness of the ride.

How spacious is it?

The dual-cab ST-X has five seats, and while the space up front is excellent for the driver and co-pilot, the legroom in the second row is limited for somebody as tall as me. I’m 191cm.

My wife liked the fact that when she sat up front our son still felt close to her sitting in his booster seat behind her and it meant she could pass him food easily.

Older kids, especially lanky teenagers might feel a bit cramped back there on long trips.

Space up front is excellent. Space up front is excellent.

Cabin storage could be better. There are four cupholders (two up front and two in the second row) and the door pockets are big, but the centre console bin is tiny and the area under the dash was too small to accommodate my big phone.

The second-row bench seat folds up and that means you can carry more cargo, but you’ll have to leave the kids at home.

Finally, it’s a ute, so it’s a bucket on wheels and during it’s time with my family the ST-X was filled with bikes, tools, compost, and fishing gear. There’s an advantage over SUVs here in that you can put dirty stinky things in the tub and wash it out afterwards, and you can’t do that with a Pathfinder. Well, you could, but don’t.

The second-row bench seat folds up. The second-row bench seat folds up.

How easy is it to use every day?

This is where a ute struggles against an SUV.

First there’s the ride height which made getting in and out difficult for my six-year old.

Second there’s the lack of cabin storage space and that leads me to the problem of not having a boot. Yes, there’s a big tub at the back, but you wouldn’t put your grocery shopping in there. Not unless you wanted it all blended together in a mix of broken eggs, squashed bread, and bruised fruit.

The load height of the tub is high. The load height of the tub is high.

You could put the shopping in the second row, but if the kids are back there it’ll mean it’ll have to go around their feet and that’s not practical or safe.  

As for the tub, the load height is high and when things rolled to the front of the tub they were hard to get out.

I’d also recommended getting a lockable tonneau cover to keep items safe and protected from the weather.

How safe is it?

The Navara was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2015. That’s about seven years ago now and safety tech and standards has come a long way, and newer utes have better and more advanced safety tech.

Still the Navara has AEB for city and highway speeds (although it doesn’t detect cyclists or pedestrians), there’s blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assistance is standard on the ST-X, the reversing camera and around review monitor are also standard.

There are parking sensors for the rear but not for the front. The ST-X also comes standard with a full-sized matching alloy spare wheel.

I’m pleased to report that curtain airbags cover the second-row passengers, too.

The ST-X comes standard with a full-sized matching alloy spare wheel. The ST-X comes standard with a full-sized matching alloy spare wheel.

As for child seat installation – there are two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether points.

My son’s car seat is the top tether type and I found the Navara’s fabric loops by which it is fitted concerning. As a parent I feel more assured clipping the seat into a metal latch than fabric loops. Previously Nissan had to address these fabric loops which broke during crash testing. Nissan was able to rectify the fault and the new Navaras don’t have the same problem.

What’s the tech like?

The Navara ST-X has an 8.0-inch media screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s digital radio, sat nav and a 7.0-inch driver display. There’s not a lot less tech here than you’d find on most SUVs for the same price.

There’s not a lot less tech here than you’d find on most SUVs for the same price. There’s not a lot less tech here than you’d find on most SUVs for the same price.

How much does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Navara Dual-Cab ST-X 4x4 ute won't be the ideal family car for most families. But for some who like to go on adventures and for those whose parents need a ute for work, it could be perfect.

This is a ute which is fairly easy to drive, has wipe clean surfaces and the benefit of a bit tub on the back. Just let me know where the shopping bags go.

Likes

Hard wearing, easy clean interior
Smooth, responsive diesel engine
Tub for tools and toys

Dislikes

No boot for shopping bags
Child seat top tether system
Pricey servicing

Scores

Richard:

3.5

The Kids:

4.5

$58,270

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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