Don’t look now, but the Nissan Navara finally has a new look, writes Chris Nixon.

WHEN it comes to utes, the mainstream makes have their rusted-on devotees. So it’s been a long wait for an all-new replacement for the popular Nissan Navara, which had its previous generational change 10 years ago.

The Thai-built NP300 series went on sale this month in four specification grades – DX, RX, ST and ST-X – of the crew-cab model, the choice of a petrol and two diesel engines and two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Cab-chassis, single-cab and king-cab variants will be available from the September quarter of this year.

The market for utes is as much about private users as trade and industrial. While tradies are demanding more comfort and convenience along with workhorse ability, private buyers expect virtually all the features of a conventional car.

The Navara appears to deliver with everything from seven airbags to navigation and reversing cameras. Front seats have been re-designed for more back comfort.
A useful and novel innovation is a wide, flat ledge on top of the tailgate. Under the stylish new bodywork still runs a strong separate ladder chassis, with components tucked up close to it for protection off-road or on work sites.

Fuel economy is impressive for heavy-duty vehicles. A new 140 kiloWatt, twin-turbo diesel with seven-speed automatic transmission returns 6.3 litres per 100 kms. A 120 kW single-turbo version does 6.4 and a 2.5 litre petrol, 9 litres/100 kms.

List prices start from $26,490 for a DX-spec 2WD petrol manual pick – a lot of truck for the money. The opening price for 4WD is $39,990, which buys an RX diesel manual.