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Driven: Nissan introduces Navara N-Trek flagship

Full-time Navara range grows as Nissan draws on special-edition success with N-Trek

7 Aug 2019

NISSAN Australia has bolstered its Narara ute range with a new flagship grade, the N-Trek, which dips into the company’s catalogue of black genuine parts and accessories to create another rival for the hot-selling Ford Ranger Wildtrak.


Building upon the previously flagship 4x4 ST-X dual-cab pick-up, the N-Trek attracts a $3700 premium but adds plenty of extra equipment that gives it a more sinister look on the road.


Specifically, the black enhancements extend to its LED headlight bezels, front foglight surrounds, grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, fender flares, side decals, doorhandles, roof rails and alloy sportsbar.


While the N-Trek’s lower front fascia, side steps and side-mirror covers also receive the black treatment, they go a step further with a contrasting orange accent line. An ‘N-Trek’ tailgate badge rounds out the exterior upgrades.


Inside, leather-accented seats with orange fabric inserts are found alongside orange stitching on the front door armrests, steering wheel and centre armrest.


Additionally, the front seats gain heating functionality, while the driver’s pew gets eight-way power adjustment, including for lumbar operation.


The N-Trek is available in three colours, including no-cost Cosmic Black, while the White Diamond and Slate Grey premium hues cost $595.


While a six-speed manual transmission is standard in the N-Trek, a seven-speed torque-converter automatic unit can be optioned for $2500.


Like its donor vehicle, the N-Trek is motivated by a 2.3-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 140kW of power at 3750rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1500-2500rpm. Braked towing capacity is 3500kg.


Speaking to GoAuto this week at the Navara N-Trek national media launch in Maleny, Queensland, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester said the new variant is “absolutely” expected to drive more traffic into the Japanese brand’s showrooms.


“It builds on some of the things we’ve been doing in the last year with Black Edition and Silverline, and just gives us a more upgraded version with the Series 4 now launching,” he said.


Mr Lester added that “the (ute) segment is really growing in two directions”, with Nissan Australia attempting to better cater for one of these with the N-Trek.


“You see some growth in the bottom, entry-level – very utilitarian sort of growth,” he said. “But you (also) see a massive expanse in the last couple of years in the top end of the segment – and that’s where we want to help continue to grow Navara.”


Sales of Navara have taken a significant hit this year, with 8136 examples sold to the end of July – a 14.7 per cent decline over the 9494 sold during the same period in 2018.


As a result, Navara is the sixth best-selling model in the combined ute segment, trailing the Toyota HiLux (29,491 units), Ford Ranger (24,664), Mitsubishi Triton (14,281), Holden Colorado (11,013) and Isuzu D-Max (9747).


Mr Lester said that Navara’s previous flagship grade, the ST-X, currently represents “a huge portion” of its sales, with the N-Trek to play a similar role, although he would not be drawn on a split between the two.


“This will be an enhancement on top of that and we’ll continue to maintain ST-X at that top end – that’s where consumers want to be,” he said.


“There will be no doubt that we’ll see customers who would’ve been ST-X customers move up into (the N-Trek). Our hope is that we’ll also attract consumers who would’ve chosen another brand or another model because they like the way it looks.”


When asked how ST-X and N-Trek buyers differ, Mr Lester indicated that new flagship is intended to attract those who want to stand out.


“Just like our previous special editions, it is that buyer who’s looking for unique customisation opportunities, who’s looking to be different,” he said.


“They’re in the market for other utes, as well. They’ve got a very high disposable income. It’s often a lifestyle vehicle, so not just simply a tradie ute, although it is certainly fit and capable for that, but the vehicle is capable of much, much more.”


Nonetheless, Mr Lester reiterated that Nissan Australia “would definitely like to go further up” with another version of Navara that is even more specialised, be it with performance or off-road upgrades, “but that’s still a work in progress”.


“I think there’s room for both, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “I think what you’re seeing in that segment is those that want that ‘look at me’ vehicle and the customisation – and some of those definitely want to use it, so it definitely needs to be fit for purpose.


“We’re constantly working on projects and opportunities with the global team … and we’d like to think we can bring something out sooner than the next model change, but we’ll see.”


One significant change, however, that will likely be realised sooner is the introduction of a wider suite of advanced driver-assist systems, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), although Mr Lester was unable to provide a timeframe for it.


“Any time we’re not able to be the leader for whatever reason it is, we’re obviously jockeying for those things,” he said.


For reference, European versions of Navara built in Spain already have AEB, but Australian examples exported from Thailand continue to go without as the Japanese brand slowly rolls out the active safety technology to its other plants.


The N-Trek features the new Alliance In-Vehicle Infotainment (AIVI) system introduced last month in the Series 4 Navara update, with it powering an 8.0-inch touchscreen in this instance. The upgrade ushered in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support via USB.


Standard equipment shared with the 4x4 ST-X dual-cab pick-up otherwise includes rear privacy glass, keyless entry and start, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, surround-view cameras, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist, hill-descent control and seven airbags.


2019 Nissan Navara N-Trek pricing*

N-Trek $56,450
N-Trek (a) $58,950

*Excludes on-road costs

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