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.
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.
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.
Love this car!
I simply love this car!
I was wanting the new Mercedes X class based on their prototype and I’m glad I made this choice.
My Navara looks awesome, it’s comfortable and drives like a dream.
It would have got 5 stars only for its truck-like turning circle and the 2.3 twin turbo is a little bit under sized for a vehicle of this size.
Have to say, Werribee Nissan we’re champions; would recommend them over and over!
FIRST 4x4 Dual Cab Ute
Bought New from Westpoint.
Performance is good. No issue so far. just done 1000kms. Kids love it as the high position at the back.
Fuel consumption will never get close to dealer suggested.
Paint seems a bit thin. Heard a lot about oil leak.
Will keep an close eye on it. Still Extremely Happy
Great car and great service
I tested all the competing utes and drive a new Hilux ute for work. This is a great car - and super convenient for carrying the kids stuff around.
During my first 6 months I had some minor gremlins - including the fuel filler nozzle and the lining on the drop down tailgate. Both times - easily and quickly repaired by Nissan
Couple of glitches but overall Good car.
Driving and power of the twin turbo engine are amazing.
Handling is very good
Nice and comfortable ute.
Very dissapointed that Nissan missed putting ambient temperature sensor in the car, yet did not hear any excuses for that glitch.
Stoping and braking there is a noise coming from the back of the ute, nissan tells me it is gear box kicking in neutral and it is very noisy.
Very good on fuel but fuel gauge is not very accurate.
Overall its good reliable car with couple of glitches
I love the car this np300 have a 22ft Jayco Heritage 2.5ton & it tows effortlessly, just had 10000 klm oil change don't iike 20000 klm to long I think, my guy at ultra tune tells me I have an oil weep from the rear main any one else come across this, other little issues seem to be common with fuel & so on but all in all I like this vehicle
rear tub leaking
I have an issue with leaking as well. I had a canopy and drawers fitted before I picked up the vehicle. First time I drove it in the rain the trays were soaked to the point where you could slap your hand on the carpet and it would splash water. I took it back to the dealer who told me that the trays were not Nissan (TJM) and that if I wanted them to look at the leaking then I would have to remove the trays first as the problem was most likely incompetent installation of the trays causing damage. When I had a close look myself I discovered that ...at the front of the tub there are holes, or more accurately two holes and a slot, manufactured into the tub forward of the rear wheel at the very top of the wheel arch, put a torch on the rear wheel point up and forward and you can see the light when you are inside the tub, when driving the water was spraying up off the tyres and coming straight into the tub. Took it back to the dealer who told me that it was my problem. I used expander foam and silastic to seal the holes. I suggest you check these out as well as it will certainly allow dust in to the back. February 17th 2017 Update: Good vehicle but it could be better The vehicle is a pleasure to drive, Seats are very comfortable front and back, especially the heated seats in winter, the leg room in the back is good. I regularly carry 2 to 3 good sized blokes in the back without any bitching. The leather seats get a hammering but they are standing up better than any other vehicle I have ever had. Engine is superb. Very quite with lots of power, tows extremely well. Gearbox ratios suit my driving style well, you get the feeling 1st is a bit low until you are towing, then you really appreciate it, especially up hill, off road in 4WD. The sun roof is worth its weight in gold, on hot days I leave it popped at the back with the rear internal window open and the car stays at ambient temperature. After a days work 4 to 5 sweaty smelly blokes can be hard to take in the confines of a car but with the sun roof popped you don't notice it. The air conditioning really works well and cools the car quickly even with the sun roof popped. After 32000K the fuel average is 7.6L/100k, this includes city / country general driving, towing both trailers (regularly) and caravan 2000k aprox trip and off road use. A mate has the same vehicle in auto and is running at 10.1 after similar use. We went on holiday together towing our caravans (same make and model of Van) and his comment was the auto did not know what gear it wanted to be in and kept constantly changing up and down gears. He has the same issue towing his work trailer around Sydney. He was up around 18L/100k on the trip while my manual was at 9.2. Both wives and all the kids had no problems with space or comfort. Downsides, Suspension had to be replaced at 6000k. It is way to soft to carry a fitted canopy, draws, tools and regular passengers, If you are a tradie like me then you need to factor in a suspension upgrade ($1870) within the first 6 months. GPS is years out off date, for example the hunter expressway was opened 4 years ago and the map shows you driving through paddocks. Makes navigating around new suburbs really hard. The rest of the software is good, especially the blue tooth. The 12V power outlets are good and get a lot of use, especially the one in the back which runs a car fridge round the clock. Steering is positive and the turning circle good for a 4WD. Rear tub leaks badly through manufactured holes put there for some unknown reason, it was OK after sealing which I had to do myself as Nissan refused. If you are going to get trays fitted then seal the holes first as its a absolute pain in the you know where to do it afterwards. Not suited for heavy off road use as the tow bar drags and gets caught up and the large bonnet seriously restricts you vision when approach obstacles. The ground clearance under the vehicle was OK just the towbar let it down. I took the opportunity to raise the vehicle when I did the suspension and it has fixed some of the issues with the towbar off road but increased the problem with the bonnet. For medium type stuff it went well. It eats up soft sand due to the power of the motor. On dirt roads it is very stable and mud is not a problem provided you have the skills required to drive in it. On Balance I really like the Navarra, My wife prefers to drive it over her Commodore. The only real issue is the GPS and its a disgrace that Nissan sell a 2016 vehicle with what must be 2012 vintage software. The suspension was disappointing but given the gear I carry not unexpected. My mate is selling his as he has had enough of the automatic gearbox. He says it is OK empty but as soon as you load it up it cant seem to work out what gear it should be in leaving it either revving its head off our bogging down. I will be keeping mine.
Looking good so far
10,000k on the clock and no drama's so far. I had a 2011 STX D40 for 5 years before I brought the NP300 STX and the NP300 beats it hands down on looks and comfort. Can't tell you about overall reliability as it is still new but I'm hoping it's as good as the D40 as I didn't have 1 fault in 5 years but I did service it every 10,000
Better overall finish and looks than the D40
Great driving lights
Seats are better and offer more comfort for short and long drives
Better suspension - I have upgraded to 2" Old Man Emu lift kit as I have a bull bar and winch
Sat Nav in STX - Software is 3 years old but it still works well
Better noise protection in cab ...
Better than the other dual cab diesel utes I have owned.
Having just come from a MN Triton this thing is a godsend. I haven't had to be in the service department every week getting issues sorted and resorted over and over again. Also had Hiluxes and a Ranger (for work) and rate this above those for functionality, cost and likability.
Big ups for the following: LED headlights and DRL, heated mirrors with folding function, movable tie downs in the cargo area, fuel consumption (real world) 8.5 ltr/100km (BEST for Triton was 12.5, similar for Hilux and Ranger), always seems to be in the sweet spot of ...the engine/gearbox when driving normally, rear vents, LED rear interior lights, tiny LED light above the center console that means you can see everything there at night Some areas that could see some addressing: Window washer jets need better pump, be nice to have more accurate fuel gauge, not much padding in drivers seat base, only the drivers seat is electric, also the only auto up/down window is the drivers, factory tow bar sits low and reduced departure angle, that stupid holder thing that sticks out into the drivers foot well from the transmission tunnel sits right where you left leg rests (probably the one on the passengers side too), the bonnet support (1 tiny support and the whole bonnet seems to sag on an angle when you rest it on that)
no outside temperature
We love our ST-X NP300, very comfortable, am just a little disappointed in the lack of some dash display options, no digital speed display, and no outside temperature display. Is there a way to turn off the accept on the sat nav every time we start the car. Oh 1 other little gripe is with the windows, only the driver window will open or close completely with 1 touch of the button all other windows, buttons must be held up or down for the window to fully open or close. The back windows do not go all the way down (safety pft).
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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