Words: Alex Rae
This is the toughest-looking Nissan Navara behind he recently introduced Navara N-Trek Warrior – itself a properly beefed-up version of Nissan’s popular ute which has been specially engineered in Australia. But the key to this Navara’s appeal is cosmetic enhancements and an upgraded infotainment system as a value proposition. Is it worth it?
What does it cost and what do you get?
The N-Trek gives you most of what’s in the Navara ST-X – though notably there’s no sunroof – and then adds black 18-inch alloys, flared wheel arches, black and orange front fascia and black side steps, rear bumper, door handles, roof rails and fog lamp surrounds.
Extra standard gear includes leather trim, heated front seats, powered driver’s seat, sat nav, keyless entry, dual-zone ventilation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Pricing for the Navara N-Trek is from $56,450 (manual) or $58,950 (automatic) plus on-road costs.
What’s the interior like?
Leather-wrapped seats with orange stitching sit around the familiar Navara dash. There are N-Trek flourishes about, so it feels nicer than – or at least different – to other variants in the range, but there’s not much improvement to comfort and practicality. That’s fine, because it’s already a very functional and comfy cabin, at least for a dual-cab ute.
It’s welcoming and isn’t far removed from Nissan passenger cars, using similar controls, dials and trims.
And storage is good, with rear air vents a plus and USB ports for charging devices (and connecting to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. And as with other Navaras (and the Mercedes X-Class which is based on it), the rear window slides across to provide a handy tradie’s port.
What’s the infotainment like?
The N-Trek uses an improved 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a much nicer experience for accessing your apps for music, messaging and map services than traditional (read: old and out-dated) Bluetooth-only screens.
And navigating the screen is easy enough, with menu buttons and dials to adjust things such as volume. Combined with buttons on the steering wheel it’s identical to other Nissan passenger vehicles in the way everything operates.
What’s the engine like?
It uses the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo engine as the regular Navara.
The induction is via a sequential turbo where a smaller turbo spins up earlier in the rev range before a larger spindle adds top-end torque. The result is that the engine is on boost for longer than usual single-turbo setups.
The resulting power is 140kW and 450nm which gives predictable, smooth power and strong torque for lugging a load. The seven-speed automatic mated to the motor does a decent job of picking the right gear and the right time too.
Is it good to drive?
The Navara is slightly unusual in the dual-cab ute market in that it employs a coil spring rear-end which provides a slightly more compliant ride though early examples tended to wiggle about and felt unconfident. That’s not the case anymore, and the Series 3 feels pretty well resolved for road comfort, though like just about any ute with a 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity it can be a touch firm on corrugations.
It’s also not bad around town, feeling easy to turn in tight spaces and the 360-degree birds-view camera making makes everything easy. We actually really appreciated it in a full Bunnings trade centre with people and cars going around everywhere.
But it’s also off-road where the Navara does well, it’s fine 228mm ground clearance helping it when in low-range gear on tough scraggly tracks and through the mud. The standard highway tyres on the N-Trek aren’t much chop for serious off-roading but a set of decent all-terrain tyres will fix that up. And from experience, gives the Navara much more nouse off-road, even in relatively standard trim.
But if you really value off-road ability above all else, the new Navara N-Trek Warrior is well worth a look.
How safe is it?
The Navara scored a five-star ANCAP rating in 2015 (when active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking weren’t required for the top rating).
It comes with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag and full-length curtain airbags for head protection in each of the outer positions).
What are the alternatives?
Nearest contenders to the Navara N-trek include the Toyota Hilux Rugged X, Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme, which all come with varying degrees of differences to their off-road ability, though like many utes, mostly go to adding looks and extra convenience features.