2021 Nissan Navara ST-X Review4 out of 5 stars
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.
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
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.
VIBRATION ISSUE - 2017 NAVARA ST-X
Purchased new in Jan 2018, vibration from the very first day, thinking it was tyre pressure or being new it will disappear as it wears in. Appears at low speeds & constant through to higher speeds, first reported at 2,300k now 8,500, had it to them 3 occasions they balanced it, changed drive shaft, swapped rims & tyres from another Navara but problem persists. It’s with them now for approx 3 weeks & not resolved as yet SO FRUSTRATING. Can feel vibration in seats & body ITS TERRIBLE hate driving it. Apparently it’s a production issue which Nissan will never admit to & WHY WOULD THEY. I have read many post / forums & it is a common issue - recommend if your considering purchase then think again, do not DONT BUY.
What a bucket of crap
Buyer beware of car and company. I recently bought an upgraded Nissan Navara from a dealership (dealership upgrades) and the thing is a danger on the road. Vibrates, loud and just unpleasant. Nissan Australia want nothing to do with it, Dealership wants nothing to do with it - there blaming each other and you won’t get anywhere. If you want to buy a 50+ vibrator - go for it.
Don't Be Fooled by the Marketing
The NISSAN ST-X NP300 (YS23DDTT) has been singularly the worst experience in a new motor vehicle I have ever had. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have have had some 12 new vehicles ranging from Landcruiser's, Hilux's, Commodores and now my second Nissan.
All have been fit for purpose with the exception of the latest purchase of the NISSAN ST-X NP300.
The Good: I find it comfortable to drive and easy wash and clean.
The Bad: From new the vehicle exhibited a vibration through the steering wheel at 80-100klm. Returned to dealersh...
Absolute crap and a death trap
On the 4th January I purchased a brand new vehicle from MacArthur Nissan. I was advised from the sales manager I could option up my vehicle as I was after a particular model (black edition) and they could do it better. The company sells 5 to 10 of these month as per conversation. From day one the car has had a vibration in the rear when travelling over 100km. From 4th January to today I have only had the vehicle for 2 weeks in my possession and paying full finance. They have put several different tires, wheels and tried to repair it but it stil...l has a vibration. I have had the sales manager & also master technician out with me in the care and they both confirmed the vibration. With the the last test drive the master technician also confirmed that is a fault in that particular model across the board. It can be quiet dangerous as the back tray vibrates continuously. Spoke with [name removed] at Nissan Australia and pretty much told bad luck - it’s standard
Never buy another Nissan period. Oil leak after 1000 km service ...Ticking sound when accelerating
Owe Nissan D40 before beautiful car doing 230000 km not a lot of problems.
Decide to upgrade to Np 300, beautiful interior but the drive is terrible.. Ticking sound when accelerating in gear 1 and 2 with loss of power. Oil started leaking after 1000km services. Took it back but oil leak again after 2 days then they change a holes and that fix the problems. Mention to them about the Ticking sound and a drumming noise from the back, was told no fault and normal Diesel engine sound. Very disappointed with Nissan.
Will never buy another Nissan period.
Have have had so many problems starting with rear Main seal.. navigator and cluster turning of and freezing up and nissan will not help me after taking it back to a dealer suttons chullora which has the worst service department. Wouldnt ever buy a nissan again.. ford service is no1 compared to nissan.. Shame on you nissan and you don't give a crap.. Class action needs to start.
This car has been the biggest disappointment. Reoccurring engine oil leaks that are that bad, I no longer park it on my driveway. It's been returned to Nissan three times over the last six months. It still leaks. Also had a rear axle seal go before 10 000 kms, which was fixed. Fast paced continuous clicking sound coming from steering column when turning (which I'm yet to report to Nissan) Rear suspension already noticeably sagging which make sense because any sort of weight in the back and it becomes scary to drive. (most I've ever had in it wa...s approx 300kg). Fuel consumption is nothing like what was claimed. Towing a 1 tonne trailer almost doubles it. Fuel reading and distance to go nowhere near the mark. As for its off road ability.... it has none. It's nothing more than a sand buggy. In hindsight I'm not even sure why Nissan built this car. It's a ute that can't carry a load, a 4wd that can't go anywhere and there are better priced more comfortable cars that don't leak as much oil.
Sat Navigation useless
Nice and quiet to drive tows my 2 ton boat with ease. Could be designed better fuel/trip not enough info time delay on windows would be a good idea. Can not get voice recognition to work The sat navigation is absolutely useless, sends me the long way and even the wrong way and even unit gets lost. took service/manager for drive in a demo and theirs was the same and he was even confused spoken to other drivers and theirs are the same. still waiting for a reply from the dealership and that was nearly 4 weeks ago. if they cant fix the sat Naviga...tion I don't want the car as need the navigation for a long trip in the future. I have added this part as I have more information since my post. Nissan dealer said it can not be fixed " it is what it is" . So I have contacted customer care to report my problems that every Navarra has and they have informed me that there is a new card that should fix the problem. Then I asked what if it doesn't and their response was that they would replace the unit out of a completely different car here's the good part because they know there is a problem with the Navarra sat Nav and they are trying to work it out. So why are they still selling the cars and not telling the prospective customers about this and hope that they don't notice the problem. So if you have a Navarra take it be and complain and don't just put up with it. As I have spoken to another owner and he told me he just uses his phone now but I told him he shouldn't be and that he should complain as the more that does the better. May 8th, 2017 Update: Customer Service Sat Nav on the Nissan NP300 STX is useless the mapping is from the horse and cart days just about yet Customer Care virtually say it's only my opinion even though a Nissan service manager says there is something wrong with the mapping. Go figure makes no sense. One thinks something wrong and Customer Care says only my opinion. Well it's not just my opinion its ever STX owner's opinion.
Hi just bought a brand new NP300 dual cab and it has 400kms on it. It's been back 3 times for an oil leak and Nissan are now pulling the turbo apart! Anyone else have the same problem ? We just spent a fortune on a new bull bar, lift kit , mag wheels ect
Lemon of a car
Have bad vibration thru the car at 80km/h and 100-110km/h replaced tires as they advised the toyo tires were claimed heavy and out still have vibration heavily took back to nissan they advised no streets around that can do over 80km and said the roads arent great dont buy a nissan i wont
Don't buy a navara
We traded in the family car, (mrs mn triton) December last year for this bucket of bolts. Never been loaded, never towed, never been off-road. At 9500 kms, this is a list of what's gone wrong;
Left control arm bent. Rear axle seal gone. Water in reverse camera. Won't start on a hot day. Sixth gear won't engage over 80km. Ute back slopes 10mm to the right. Brake fluid leak in rear. Nissan has corrected all except the ute back, they claim its within the tolerance. Car still pulls to the left. We traded it in this morning for a new triton. Mrs refused to get back in it. Very poorly built car.
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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