The lifestyle ute onslaught continues. We test the brand new Nissan Navara NP300, in flagship ST-X guise.
Base price: $62,990.
Powertrain and performance: 2.3-litre turbo diesel four, 140kW/450Nm, 7-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, Combined economy 7.0 litres per 100km.
Vital statistics: 5255mm long, 1840mm high, 3150mm wheelbase, tray length 1503mm, fuel tank 80 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels on 255/60 tyres.
We like: One of the more stylish utes, equipment, clever tie-down system in the tray.
We don’t like: Not as refined or composed on-road as some of the competition.
How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Is there no end to buyer appetite for lifestyle utes? It would seem not.
Nissan’s new Navara NP300 is the latest pickup truck to embrace the recreational market, especially in its flagship ST-X specification.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Much has been made of the Navara’s switch to a multi-link rear suspension setup on the wellside models – a move designed to improve on-road manners, presumably at some cost to ultimate off-road ability.
The Navara has made real progress compared with the previous in terms of ride and handling, although it’s still not quite up with the most accomplished offerings in the segment: Ford Ranger/Mazda BT-50 and Volkswagen Amarok.
Navara remains composed through open-road corners, but the chassis still has that ute-tendency to wriggle over rippled tarmac or through bumpy turns.
There’s a new powertrain, with 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine and seven-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is small on capacity, but the outputs are impressive, with 450Nm of torque. It’s not the most refined powerplant in the segment, but in terms of puling power it’s pretty impressive.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The Navara has gained an impressively car-like cabin in its latest iteration, with nicely cohesive dashboard shapes and excellent ergonomics.
The ST-X goes big on luxury equipment. Aside from dress-up elements on the outside such as 18-inch alloy wheels and roof rails, it features leather upholstery, satellite navigation, reversing camera (also standard on the ST) and keyless entry/start.
It’s not all flash and frippery: the ST-X also gets a clever tie-down system in the tray called Utili-Track, with nicely integrated rails and cleats.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? The level of choice and talent in the one-tonne ute segment is bewildering. Or perhaps not, given that it’s one of the most important markets in New Zealand and many buyers are migrating to these kinds of vehicles from SUVs.
The new Navara has standout styling and it’s an accomplished machine. But it doesn’t automatically rise to the top of the segment – which is less a comment on the quality of this model than the sheer brilliance of some of the competition.
- Blind spot warning: No
- Lane guidance: No
- Cruise control: Yes
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Parking radar: Yes with camera
- Self-parking technology: No
- Head-up display: No
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Stop-start: Yes
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/no
- Leather upholstery: Yes