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Car reviews - Nissan - Navara - dual-cab utility range

Launch Story

Nissan logo29 Nov 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

NISSAN has launched a new-generation Navara in Australia.

Dubbed the D40 series, it will sit above the current D22 Navara, which continues until at least the end of 2006.

Both models make up Nissan’s new two-pronged light-truck strategy.

It is pitching the D40 in the upper-scale ‘lifestyle’ end of the ‘Pick Up and Cab Chassis’ (PUCC) segment, while the older D22 model will continue to look after the more price-sensitive tradesperson-orientated end.

Together, both cover 91 per cent of the 4x4 pickup and cab-chassis market business.

Now in its eighth incarnation (and the third to wear the Navara moniker since the D21 series of 1986), the Nissan utility is bigger, safer, stronger and more refined than any of its predecessors.

Sourced from the same factory in Spain that supplies the closely related R51 Pathfinder 4WD station wagon, only a four-door dual-cab D40 body will be available for now.

Nissan Australia has rejected the two-door four-seat King Cab D40 on the grounds that such vehicles make up less than 10 per cent of the PUCC segment. In contrast, dual-cabs account for half.

Trailing the higher-series HiLux dual-cab models are two variants – the base RX and well-specified ST-X – offering the choice of a petrol or turbo-diesel engine and two transmissions.

The headline engine is a 2.5-litre twin-cam four-cylinder direct-injection YD turbo-diesel unit offering 128kW of power at 4000rpm and 403Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

It includes a variable nozzle turbocharger for lower emissions, and balancing shafts to heighten refinement by counteracting vibrations.

Petrol fans can choose a 4.0-litre twin-cam VQ V6 that pumps out 198kW of power at 5600rpm and 385Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

Both motors can be married to either a segment-first six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic transmission.

Unsurprisingly, the 2.5-litre turbo-diesel should prove the more popular propulsion unit, accounting for 70 per cent of sales.

In manual gearbox guise it returns up to 9.0L/100km - 0.5L/100km better than the automatic.

In comparison the V6 can only average 13.6L/100km and 14.0L/100km respectively.

Nissan is carrying over its mechanical part-time four-wheel drive system that splits torque from driving the rear wheels (2H) to 50/50 front/rear (4H) at a twist of a dashboard knob.

A low-ratio transfer box setting for serious four-wheel driving is also available (4L).

A rear-drive-only D40 Navara lobs in early next year, but only in the higher-grade ST-X model.

Underlining its light truck heritage, the D40’s ladder-frame chassis features independent front suspension with double wishbones and coil springs and a rigid live rear axle employing leaf springs.

Nissan is making much noise about how much roomier the D40 Navara dual-cab is compared to its predecessor.

A full five-seater, there’s more space for rear-sited heads, shoulders and knees now that they have 90mm, 98mm and 177mm more area respectively.

Storage space also improves, with two gloveboxes (offering 6.4 litres in total), a six-litre console box and receptacles for coins, cups and cards.

All models include a CD player, central locking, air-conditioning, three rear lap/sash seatbelts, child anchorage points and a rear seat cushion that flips up for increased cabin luggage capacity.

Dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes (a $1250 option in the RX) are standard in the ST-X, as are remote entry, six-stacker CD, power windows and mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, side steps, cruise control and seatbelt pretensioners.

The tray out back measures 2.36 square metres, offers 1130mm between the wheelarches and has a 1511mm internal bed length.

The ST-X also boasts Nissan’s C-Channel Utili-Track System that uses fixed rails and securing anchors to keep cargo rock-steady.

However, this is not available as a retrofit option on the RX, since its fitment necessitates changes to the tray that can only be made on the production line. Nissan is looking at bringing in Utili-Track-ready RX versions in the future.

Speaking of which, more D40 model variations are coming – like a single-cab body – although it is almost a certainty that they won’t be made in Europe. Nissan isn’t saying yet but Thailand is a strong possibility as a source. Besides Spain it is also built in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Nissan expects to sell 850 Navara units monthly evenly split between the D40 and D22.

Males in their 40s who are married and self-motivated are the main buyer profile.

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