The Nissan Navara is a household name in many Australian households.
This is a familiar ute, with a reputation for being a reliable workhorse for either the daily trade, or for hauling large trailers.
In recent years, the Navara hasn’t been able to crack the top 3 best selling utes in Australia; trailing behind the Hilux, D-MAX and Ranger.
For 2021, the Navara has received a refresh that really brings out plenty of American influence in both design and overall comfort.
Has this redesign given the Navara the edge it needs to move closer to becoming one of the top 3 best selling utes in the country?
Let me tell you why it might.
Build Quality4.2 out of 5.
I was thoroughly impressed by the build quality of this ute in particular. There’s a lot of car influence in the new Navara, and less truck influence, which is a good thing!
A car-like construction means solid overall build quality, but without the rough edges and questionable corners being cut in the name of utility. There’s no need for excessive force when closing the ute’s tray, or overly heavy doors.
Instead, the Navara’s construction makes it an approachable and excellent daily option for a wider variety of buyers than some other utes.
Inside this ute, you can see plenty of influence from Nissan’s current range of passenger cars, as this interior, just like the exterior, certainly feels more car-like than any ute I’ve been in recently.
Our tester had leather-heated seats, carpeted interior and a familiar array of buttons found in other Nissan’s.
Similar to Nissan’s passenger cars, the Navara offered little to no squeaks or rattles even when off roading.
This is a thoroughly well-built truck, with substance to go along with its new style.
Value for Money4.4 out of 5.
The Nissan Navara ST-X starts from $55,790 drive-away.
Adding a 4X4 drive-train, Forged Copper paint and a leather interior will push that price a lot closer to the $60,000 mark.
You’re getting plenty of capacity for towing (3.5T) and a one-tonne load capacity, all without having to use leaf-spring rear suspension.
Against the top of the range competitors from other brands, the Navara certainly offers plenty of on-road refinement, while providing you with off-road capability to travel to most campsites off-road.
Although you have plenty of brand loyalists when it comes to the likes of the HiLux and Ranger, you won’t be disappointed jumping into a new Navara over the current offerings from competitors.
Cleaning and Maintenance4.2 out of 5.
Like many four-wheel-drives I review, the added ground clearance certainly helps access for cleaning away grime from vital components underneath the ute. Built-in side steps also help with accessing the roof and tray from above.
Against utes that include a built-in tonneau cover, the exposed bed of the Navara proved to be a location for loose dust and leaves to gather when parked outside. I’d recommend even a soft cover to avoid having a lot of dirt accumulate here over time.
Nissan includes a 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty with the purchase of a Navara, and also includes capped price servicing and roadside assistance. This all provides good peace of mind for the ownership experience.
Noise Level4.5 out of 5.
What is immediately noticeable compared to other utes is just how refined in sound this ute is. Not just in its audio system, but also the isolation from the 2.3L twin-turbo motor.
The infotainment system provided hours of entertainment over the 1000 kilometres I travelled with this ute.
Never faulting in its performance, there’s enough clarity and power from these speakers with less distortion at higher volumes than you might expect from a ute.
Previous utes I’ve tested have had plenty of diesel engine noise bleeding through the cabin under acceleration, an experience the Navara failed to offer. Instead, the twin-turbo diesel engine was less ute-like, and offered refinement from the sound it produces. You’re still going to have diesel engine noise, however it's a faint distant sound, rather than being immediately present.
Road and wind noise was extremely well isolated, and provided an excellent escape from the outside world during longer road-trips and day-to-day traffic.
Braking3 out of 5.
Although the Navara has managed to do away with the traditional leaf-spring suspension setup found in many of its competitors, it still retains the popular use of rear drum brakes.
Drum brakes didn’t really have an impact on the otherwise responsive and smooth brakes. Initial bite on the brake pedal wasn’t harsh, and it made daily driving with passengers seamless and relaxing.
For additional peace of mind, there’s the inclusion of autonomous emergency braking. However, it really proved to be a nuisance on my daily commute to the office as it picked the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a great place to randomly tap the brakes, preempting a non-existent crash.
This was unsettling, especially at speeds of up to 70km/h - it wasn’t a rare occurrence either, as it often did this in the same location. Other publications have reported the exact same issue occurring, so this isn’t an isolated incident or only relevant to this particular test vehicle.
Aside from occurring on this particular route, I never encountered this problem outside of driving across the Harbour Bridge. This is a bug that Nissan needs to update and fix as soon as possible.
Acceleration/Power4.2 out of 5.
The Nissan Navara produces 140kW at 3750rpm, and 450Nm at 1500-2500rpm from a 2.3L twin-turbo four cylinder diesel power plant.
I was thoroughly impressed with the performance of this engine. Not only was it smooth, but it certainly felt capable and powerful, despite just being a four-cylinder engine.
The twin-turbo setup is a more elegant solution to the traditional large single-turbo setup. It allowed for off-the-line acceleration to be linear, rather than an initial lag and then power.
The Navara also performed well higher up in the rev-range and out on the highway. There wasn’t a moment when overtaking where I thought that the Navara was running out of steam. Instead, the diesel motor provided enough power to give you confidence when operating across a variety of terrains, all while returning fuel economy figures in the low teens.
Gear Shifting4.3 out of 5.
Connected to the twin-turbo unit was a 7-speed automatic transmission. Despite it’s aged visual appearance of the shifter in the cabin, it translated that power and torque without the traditional ‘jerky’ experience.
This 7-speed auto was particularly delightful to use day to day and out on road trips. It rarely skipped a beat, and added to the overall smooth ride that the engine and suspension were capable of providing.
There was an option to shift gears manually, however, unless you’re offroad and need to hold a particular gear, there’s no need to shift yourself. Shifting yourself will only leave you disappointed in the responsiveness from this gearbox, whereas responsiveness when just left in ‘D’ was more than impressive for a ute like this.
Utilising 4X4 and 4X4-LOW modes in this gearbox was easily changed to provide better distribution of power, and provided plenty of confidence that the car was able to put 450Nm of torque to the ground with relative ease.
Suspension & Handling4 out of 5.
Doing-away with a traditional leaf-spring setup, the Navara is fitted with a multi-link rear suspension with shock absorbers.
Traditional leaf-spring suspension is utilised for its ability to carry heavy loads while packaged in a simple yet relatively effective setup. The main trade-off for this load carrying capacity is the ride quality when unladen, leaving occupants to be thrown around the cabin when encountering bumps and ruts in the road surface.
The more complicated and sophisticated multi-link suspension setup in the Navara dramatically improves the ride quality when unladen, yet is still able to handle over a 1T payload.
This suspension setup doesn’t completely eliminate a stiff ride when unladen, but it certainly smooths out the ride quality and helps improve comfort in a ute with a proper carrying capacity.
Off-road, the suspension setup on this Navara provides a total ground clearance of 224mm, giving plenty of height to traverse any small rocks and dips on a track. This height offers an approach angle of 32.7 degrees, a rampover angle of 23.2 degrees and a departure angle of 20.3 degrees. That approach angle figure is very good, thanks to a redesigned front-end, however the Navara will prove to be a bit more difficult to steer out of large dips with a lower departure angle.
Fuel Efficiency3.9 out of 5.
The Navara has a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 7.9L/100km, which is the main advantage when buying a dual-cab ute with a four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine.
Across 1000km of driving, I saw a fuel economy figure at 8.5L, however in the city, you can expect the 2.1T truck to return figures over 10L/100km if you’re heavy on the throttle.
This ute has an 80L fuel tank, meaning that it’ll cost you around $110 to fill from empty.
Interior Design3.5 out of 5.
I previously mentioned that this ute feels a lot more car-focused than some other utes on the market, and you’re going to notice this statement stand out in the vehicle’s interior.
Stepping up and into the interior of the Navara, you’re greeted with a familiar array of buttons and displays found in other Nissan products.
From the 7-inch touchscreen in the middle, through to the easy to use dual-zone climate controls and the steering wheel and driver’s displays, everything in the Navara is familiar and - more importantly - easy to use.
Aesthetically, the dash design from the passenger side through to the centre isn’t visually pleasing. It also isn’t particularly pleasant to touch, as it’s made from a robust plastic I’d imagine you’d find in an entry-level Navara.
Additionally, there’s a significant lack of interior storage space that the likes of the Isuzu D-MAX possess. Instead, there’s a small centre cubby (even smaller than that of a Hyundai i30) and an occupied glovebox that’s filled with the owner’s manual.
Aside from these 2 downsides to the interior, the Navara makes up for these shortcomings in its overall comfort and interior layout.
The steering wheel was well-sized and felt good to use and operate, as did using Apple CarPlay from the centre screen.
Front occupants are greeted with generous amounts of space, both in legroom and headroom. Outlook from the front seats is met with the almost 90 degree bonnet, which helps provide a commanding driving position. This is a unique perspective against other utes which make do with a sloping bonnet design, which looks rather dated next to the sharp angles of the new Navara.
The rear seat design also allows for interior storage space, as its a bench-seat design that can easily be lifted up to provide space for a couple of suitcases or any other valuables you might want to lock inside the cabin. For the extra valuable stuff, or just anything that needs to be hidden inside the cabin, you can remove two port-hole covers for some under-seat storage, where you’ll also find your tire changing equipment.
Boot Size & Comfort4.4 out of 5.
Boot size or tray space?
Anyway, the Navara’s tray measures out at a size of 1509mm x 519mm x 1560mm - the tray is wider than its length. The total payload capacity of this tray is rated at 1024kg, which is bloody impressive for a high-end ute. This beats out the less than 1T rating on the top of the range D-MAX.
The tray provides plenty of space for several items including suitcases and bales of hay.
The bed-lining in the tray feels premium and robust, akin to a rubber/plastic hybrid, making it comfortable to sit in the back.
This tray also featured a sturdy set of tie-down points alongside a guide rail. The guide rail allows you to customise the placement of these tie-down points or add more points to secure a net or straps.
Operation of this tray’s tailgate was exceptionally easy and stood out. It highlighted just how usable this ute will be to a wide variety of buyers. There is no need to shoulder charge to ‘find the sweet spot’ when opening this tailgate. Additionally, it was extremely light, which allowed children to close and secure it without the assistance of an adult.
Long-weekend traffic provided the ultimate test of comfort, even after enduring a day of off-roading. But the comfort of the Navara reigned supreme. With a crew of three packed into the Navara with overnight luggage, the ute provided plenty of comfort in the way of generously padded leather seats, adjustable lower back bolstering for the driver and front-heated seats.
Combining the benefits of a smooth gearbox, engine and improved ride quality, the Navara made the journey home an easy operation despite the lack of radar cruise control.
When heading into the city (or even offroad), the Navara proved to be a comfortable car to park with a 360 degree camera system alongside the front and rear parking sensors.
Features4.2 out of 5.
This is the top of the range Navara even before you start adding off-road accessories found in the more expensive 4X-PRO model. There’s plenty of standard options in the way of safety equipment and technology and even some quirky features such as the rear automatic window and offroad cameras.
However, the omission of radar cruise control and more active lane-keep assist and steering assists made this ute vulnerable against the likes of the D-MAX when it comes to choosing the best option.
A full list of features can be found below:
- 2.3L four cylinder diesel motor
- 140kW at 3750rpm, and 450Nm at 1500-2500rpm
- 7 speed automatic
- 8-inch infotainment
- 7-inch driver's display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Satellite Navigation including turn-by-turn directions
- Autonomous Emergency Braking and Warning
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Active Lane Keep Assist
- Driver Attention Warning
- 4x4 drivetrain
- 4x2, 4x4 and 4x4 Low Modes
- Rear differential locker
- Hill decent control and Hill start assist
- 3.5T towing capacity
- 1T paylod capacity
- Keyless Entry/Exit and Start/Stop
- Automatic rear window
- 360 degree offroad and parking cameras
- Integrated bumper step
- Utili-track channel system for securing cargo in ute bed
- Cruise control
- Heated seats
- Dual-zone climate control
Should you buy one?
The new Navara offers the American truck experience in a dual-cab format.
Now streamlined with the North American alternatives in its design, the Navara is the best looking dual cab ute on offer today.
With sharp angles, aggressive LEDs and a bonnet design taken straight from the Nissan Titan, this ute is true to form in what it is - a small truck.
It’s not just its looks either, with a powerful twin-turbo diesel motor, buttery-smooth 7-speed transmission and comfortable interior, the Navara is stacking up to be one of the better utes to buy at the $60,000 mark.
Performance on and off road is impressive, and you’re going to really benefit from the multi-link rear suspension setup over leaf-springs. This is a point to consider if you’re looking for a major reason to pick a Navara over its competitors.
However, the issue of the autonomous emergency braking system activating on my daily commute and the omission of radar cruise in 2021 are some pain points that would have me look at alternatives if push really came to shove.
Apart from those issues, I’d happily hop into a new Navara in a colour like this Forged Copper paint. It stands out from the crowd, but also packs a punch in its offroad performance and overall performance as a ute that can carry everything you might need.
About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.
Test drive all competitors.
Perfect for bush. No issues yet with 122k on clock. Steering wheel horn is a pain though. Easily bumped. I saw many reviews on all 4x4s and all where Inaccurate. The 4 coils in the bush leave the competition behind in comfort and flex. If I want to carry heavy loads how easy is it to upgrade coils to bi rated for flex and load, I mean trains use coils so they can carry the heaviest load of any wheeled machine, it's got me buggered why they still use leaf in the day and age. The power to fuel usage must be one of the best if not the best in the ...world, I mean 2 ton of vehicle having that much go and using so little fuel. I cant believe I was thinking hilux before testing them. Also 20k oil change how goods that! Although I'll do it every 10. And yes the engineers have done there home work, this motor has been around for some time now outside of Australia and has proven itself, yes I did my homework too. But on a last note I would say the best and favorite vehicle I have ever owned and awesome in the bush..apart from that bloody horn its spot on. Well done Nissan
Purchased in October 2016.
I have 2016 Stx navara ,in whivh I bought from nissan .it came with 20" wheels &they supplied brand new monsta AT grippers .I have vibration throughout my steering & cabin at around 80km -110 km .They have balanced wheels on vehicle ,and said it's better but not 100% . Well I'm not impressed with the results .can anyone please help
Purchased in February 2020 at Nissan for $30,000.00.
Oil Leak Rear end
Car drives fine upgraded the suspension to pedders suspension. (Due to Front Bull bar nosediving) x2 warranty claims on read end seal covered. 2nd time around the oil leaked on rear end brake shoes which also had to get replaced at same time. (Due to safety precautions) I don't get how new cars with 40 000 ks have leaking issues... They seem to not make cars as they use too.. other than that can't fault it. Drives well on road and off road. Fuel no where near what they advertise though is not good advertising information when is not possible.
Purchased in September 2015 at Nepean Motor Group for $62,000.00.
Nissan fobbing off older NP300's
Vehicle returned from dealer, no fault found for worn rack mount bushes, but only 200 metres on odometer after drop off to pick up! Obviously no road test. Told they have had 3 NP300's in from my wheel aligner, same fault. Okay, truck 6 weeks out of warranty, but problem not picked up at final service, not at 60,000 k's either yet. Vehicle serviced at required intervals by dealers, I change the oil every 5,000 k's & filter every 10k.
If they give the series 2, 3, & 4 5 year warranty, are they making money from the early model in repairs?
Regards, Old John.
Purchased in July 2016.
Not as off road tough as they advertise
2018 St-x, vehicle was towing a 13ft hybrid camper van. Van weight was approximately 2t with the gear it had in it and the ball load was measured at 185kgs loaded.
The van was towed through a soft sand section of around 50 meters and then another 5kms of hard packed sand. After pulling up to enter a campsite, it was noticed that the chassis had bent.
When returned to the Nissan dealer and inspected, their decision was that they would not cover it under warranty due to it being off road.
I’m sure everyone has seen the tv ads with Ute being loaded with slabs of concrete, off road tracks etc. just beware, you may not be covered
Traded the BT50 for a NP300 Navara...
Feeling underwhelmed. Traded a BT50 XTR for a 2018 NP300 ST-X. It looks good, love the leather and sunroof but feeling underwhelmed overall.
- Seriously lacks power, especially when wanting to overtake on single lanes.
- Fuel economy is far higher than what was listed on the windscreen.
- feels very top heavy when cornering and frustrating when you feel the cab roll out of corners.
- gearbox is crunchy, and even more so when you try and shift gears quickly. Delay your change out of first and it settles slightly.
- sound system lol ...
Purchased in February 2019.
The best by far!
Done nearly 60k in just over 3 years. Extremely comfortable and tows like a demon. Would another tomorrow if the finances allowed. No real issues and mine is a May 15 build so one of the very first. Wife absolutely loves it.
Purchased in December 2015 at Parry Nissan Townsville .
The best thing in my life
I do everything with this truck towing a 18ft boat for hours down the freeway, camping, off road and daily commute and it's so comfortable for long trips long service intervals ate great engine has plenty of power to get the job done and can't even see the filuel guage move
My third Navara; it's a curious experience..
Having had a Nissan Navara ST-X petrol, an ST-X-550 diesel and now an STX 2.3 litre twin turbo diesel, all crew cabs, I'm not exactly sure what I have this time. It appears to be the first of a new generation of 4WDs: built lightly (or it appears to be) and a "small" high performance diesel engine.
What does Nissan seem to have fixed since the last Navara?
- they fixed up the bouncing, slumping loose rear end when cornering. The car now handles really well although seems to be lighter, missing some weight on really uneven roads.
- and ...
Car went in Sept 2018 for service and oil leak.
They had to replace oil seal (apparently common problem).
My car is now back for the 4th time to fix oil leak. It is now leaking from sump and Nissan can't seem to fix it. The car is now standing there for almost a month.
Had a call from them last week that car was fixed, but when I went to pick it up, found oil leak. Told them that I am not taking the car.
Worst car ever!
Rubbish car rubbish service no warranty back up Blackburn Nissan only want your money then shaft you and make excuses ignore calls. !! Avoid like plague as an ex mechanic the reliability of the vehicle is very poor not to mention cheap thin paint that chips at the gust of wind let alone stones.
Was totally set on a hilux as a toyota fan but went to nissan for a quick look. The price point and features completely sold it for me. The coil springs while under a bit of scrutiny are fantastic and feels like your driving a car and doesnt bounce all over the place. Drivers assists, and looks amd standard tub liner all suckered me in. Absolutley love it for what i want it for.
Cabin noises from engine
Disappointed cabin noise to loud to have a conversation
Just hit the 1000 ready for first service
Went for a four hour drive .stopped and didnt want to drive any further. The noise from the engine left my ears ringing. Noise causes stress stress causes fatigue. Fatigue causes accidents
Will be talking about this at the first service
Awesome Ute - reliable
I bought this Ute about two and half years ago and has been awsome. Used a daily drive and also week end leasure off roading.
Ute is serviced every 15-20k Only issue I have had was the reverse camera darkening and flipping. Replaced under warranty thanks to Nissan Ipswich. Happy days.
Update.It has now at 63k in the Ute with no issues to reports still drives the same when I first bought it. Can’t fault it.
Great ute at an affordable price
This is my second np300 stx there are a usless 4x4 standard. However a excellent daily drive. At 51k driveway there great value considering 3 years later got 38k for mine and only paid 45k
I think at the end of the day you lose 7k over 3 years is too bad and done 60000kms.
Questions & Answers
I have the series 2 STX but it has never done a burn that I know of and the has never been a light come on my dash. My daily drive consists of 20klm each mostly 80klm/hr zones
Hi Deb J.
I'm not a mechanic simply an owner of a Nissan dual cab utility. I believe that if you're doing a daily commute of 20km there and 20 km back then that is enough to activate your diesel particulate filter into doing its controlled 'burn-off'(clean) routine when it is required or dictated rather by your engine computer module. I do a run on the highway for about 20-30 km one way then turn around and return for every tank fill which is about 560-600 km of suburban (short-hop) driving to the local shops and my DPF is fine - according to my service technician. You are quite right to pay close attention to that as DPF problems can be expensive to rectify. Your local mechanic/technician can plug in and look at your engine computer DPF stats and tell you if your DPF is clogged or not. When you next get your car serviced write down the things you would like to find out about and tape that to the dash (ie: Please check status of DPF). Cheers Terry Mac.
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|Transmission||Automatic and Manual|
|Drive Type||Four Wheel Drive (4WD)|
|ANCAP Safety Rating||5 Stars|
|Seats||4 to 5|
|Fuel Consumption||7 L/100km|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||80 L|
|Engine||4 Cylinder 2.3L Twin Turbo-Diesel|
|Max Power||140kW @ 3750rpm|
|Max Torque||450Nm @ 1500-2500rpm|
|Country of Manufacture||Thailand|
|Maximum Towing Capacity (braked)||3,500 kg|
|Maximum Towing Capacity (unbraked)||750 kg|
|Tray Type||Pick Up|
|Cab Options||Dual and Extra|
|Maximum Payload||971 kg|
|Ground Clearance||228 mm|
|Manufacturer Warranty||5 year(s)|
|Ground Clearance||228 mm|
|Release date||May 2015|
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