Car reviews - Nissan - Navara - ST-X
Nissan’s all-new Navara raises comfort stakes with new coil suspension
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10 Aug 2015
By NEIL DOWLING
ONE of the elder statesmen of the dual-cab ute market, the Navara, has been under sales pressure as snowballing segment demand has focused on its competitors.
Now Nissan has shrugged off both the Spanish-built Navara D40 and Japanese-built D22 models and replaced them with the redesigned Thai-built D23 that even at this early stage has all the hallmarks of success.
The task for all manufacturers is picking the requirements of the market – spanning individuals to large corporations, and trade applications to recreational pursuits – and then trying to satisfy this diverse dual-cab audience.
Nissan has highlighted one demand from buyers – greater comfort – with an uncommon solution in the 4x4 ute market: rear coil suspension as used by most SUV wagons.
The result is a more comfortable, SUV-like ride that caters for the family and makes the ute more of a prospect for comfort-conscious drivers. The trick, which Nissan appears to have delivered, is to maintain high payload and towing rates.
Now comes the biggest task: bringing the Navara 4x4 ute up from fifth position in this highly profitable market segment to around 2000 units a month to match Mitsubishi’s Triton and the Ford Ranger.
The outgoing Navara duo managed nine per cent market share in the segment, half the volume held by the Toyota HiLux, which itself will enter a new generation later this year.
Better things are now possible, especially considering how capable the Navara proved itself on tests as rigorous as a day by coastal sand dunes, and the arguably even tougher environment of a suburban shopping centre.
On paper it offers equal value for money to most rivals and the only downside is that Ford, Mazda and Toyota – to name just three key competitors – are each preparing to launch all-new or heavily upgraded models.
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