2021 Nissan Navara Review
Our independent 2021 Nissan Navara review in Australia, including price, specs, interior, ride and handling, safety and score.
Nissan’s current D23 generation Navara has been with us since 2015 and in that time it has had a few revisions though nothing as significant as this MY21 facelift. Borrowing styling cues from the tough Nissan Titan pick-up truck on sale in the US, the Navara flexes its muscles with tougher styling, a heck of an upgrade in safety, welcome technology in the cabin, and some minor but important chassis revisions to bring it to the top of the class for work duties.
How much does Nissan Navara cost and what do you get?
Nissan is simplifying the range for the facelifted MY21 Navara, dropping the entry DX and RX. This is because buyers are simply buying upstream with a solid move toward top-end models that look flashier (tougher) and have the sort of mod-cons you’d expect in a passenger car and not a worksite utility.
That means there is a new entry SL, followed by the ST, ST-X, and new flagship PRO-4X. We’re in the ST-X for this review before the PRO-4X lands late-March. The PRO-4X, with its even tougher styling cues and unique grey paint, will be the basis for the new Navara Warrior, a model which completely sold out in pre-facelift guise (1400 units).
Despite the removal of the DX and RX, there remains a wide variety on offer: 4×2 and 4×4 drive layouts, manual and automatic transmissions, and cab-chassis and styleside single, king and dual-cab bodies. The new lineup also sees more widespread use of the stalwart 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel alongside the single-turbo version.
2021 Nissan Navara driveaway price guide:
|Single Cab Chassis 4X2 Manual||$33,890|
|Single Cab Chassis 4X2 Auto||$36,390|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Manual||$47,990|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto||$49,490|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Manual||$50,990|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto||$52,490|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Manual (Cloth Interior)||$57,290|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto (Cloth Interior)||$58,790|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto (Leather Interior6)||$59,790|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto (Leather Interior6 & Sunroof)||$60,790|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Manual||$61,290|
|Dual Cab Pickup 4X4 Auto||$62,790|
Equipment includes a new 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 7.0-inch driver’s screen, fabric or leather seats, USB charge points front and rear, 16-18-inch alloy wheel designs, heated front seats, powered driver’s seat, sat nav, keyless entry and dual-zone ventilation.
What’s the styling like outside?
That Titan-inspired grille upfront makes the Navara look wider and bonnet bulges bump up the top, plus new four-lamp LED headlights improve both appearance and vision at night. They also incorporate a C-shape daytime running lamp which gives some extra personality to the Navara.
But it’s not all about the front, with the rear bringing all-new taillights with a signature LED pattern, a new lower bumper with step for better, er, step up, and a new tailgate. The tailgate has NAVARA embossed into it, which means unlike stickered versions – that say Toyota and Ford use – the stamped metal won’t ever fade away.
On the side, we see new wheel designs and side steps, plus new sports bars on some models. There’s also this nice new copper colour, and the PRO-4x is unique in offering flat grey paint.
At the launch event, some actually preferred the previous generation appearance, but the bolder front and rear plus much improved LED headlights have us thinking that this is certainly a stylish upgrade, plus the PRO-4X which looks already good in grey paint will be a bit of a head-turner when it gets the Warrior treatment (big wheels, lifted suspension and tougher bars etc).
There is also a swathe of new Nissan accessories that can be equipped with any new Navara model and we had a good look at them. The bars up front integrate like a factory finish with integrated LED lights and winch compatibility, and for the first time, you can order a Nissan snorkel. The accessories go a long way to toughen up and make safer (when you face a roo in the night) any model and are all designed and engineered in Australia by an in-house team at Nissan.
What’s the Nissan Navara interior like?
Given the significant upgrades outside the interior by comparison is a bit of a let down if you’re looking for some wow factor. That said, it’s by no means a deterrent and the new steering wheel, quilted leather seats and larger infotainment make it a much better cabin than before.
The steering wheel, in particular, removes incidental beep of the horn when turning the old wheel and it’s functional with access to multimedia, driver settings, and cruise control.
The seat trims in upper models are nice with the ST-X featuring some stitching across the backrest and the PRO-4X having a unique sporty trim. The rear seats also benefit from added cushioning for comfort. Added attention in the rear sees USB charging.
Switching right around to the back the tub is also 45mm deeper so there is larger stowage, plus the new sports bars are solid and give clearance to the roof for tying down. That electronic opening rear window remains, too.
What’s the Nissan Navara infotainment like?
The Navara 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. 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.
There is also a new 7.0-inch colour screen in the dash, much nicer than the clunky old cluster.
What’s the Nissan Navara engine like?
It uses the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel as before, with an identical output of 140kW at 3750rpm and 450Nm at 1500-2500rpm.
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, which is available lower in the range.
The resulting power gives predictable, smooth power and strong torque for lugging a load. With 1200kg behind us and 350kg in the tray the engine was never labored but, as expected, it did work hard when taking off from a standstill and on hills. But overall, it’s a smooth unit and even without revised power output it is a solid choice. The seven-speed automatic mated to the motor does a decent job of picking the right gear and the right time too.
Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is improved too, and the engine does not sound chattery unless you’re working it hard.
Nissan Navara fuel economy
The official fuel consumption claim for the Navara is 7.3L/100km for the manual and 7.9L/100km for the auto, which is up from 6.5L and 7.0L.
What’s The Nissan Navara like to drive?
The Navara is slightly unusual in the dual-cab ute market in that it employs a five-link coil spring rear-end which provides a slightly more compliant ride to elafs, though it has gone through some revision since introduction. For this MY21 model there is no change to the suspension geometry and components except that Nissan has added a tougher rear axle and 25mm larger rear drum brakes (no discs at back) and better front disc brakes. This improves payload capacity to a class-leading 1.2-tonnes. Braked towing capacity remains 3500kg.
Such figures are terrific for work duties and towing, though it leaves the unladen ride a touch firm – a hangover the entire dual-cab ute market deals with. But it’s fairly compliant overall with a light steering that’s not acutely direct and more easygoing.
It’s also not bad around town, feeling easy to turn in tight spaces and the 360-degree birds-view camera makes tight turning in close quarters simple.
We didn’t take this Navara off-road for the launch, though the towing and payload in the tray gave us a good sample of its broad capabilities on-road, which is to say Nissan has found a sweet spot with the suspension tuning and it is a good ute for both working and general driving.
For off-road, it has an electronic locking rear differential and four high low (part-time 4×4).
How safe is the Nissan Navara?
The Navara scored a five-star ANCAP rating in 2015 (when active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking weren’t required for the current top rating).
Six years on and Nissan has filled it with new driver assistance systems, including AEB, forward collision warning, driver attention alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and keeping assist, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing sensors, rain-sensing wipers and tyre pressure monitoring (the latter only on the PRO-4X). As before, it has seven airbags include driver knee and full-length curtain airbags.
The bottom line
This is the best Nissan Navara yet and a quality option for ute buyers. With a solid platform underneath that we know is capable off-road, it can now balance hardcore load-lugging duties with polite (for a ute) around town manners. It offers a solid choice to shoppers and is a much safer ute thanks to a bevvy of tech upgrades.
The styling updates will bring some new buyers into the Nissan Navara realm too as it only takes a few accessories to customise your own tough truck, though we are most looking forward to the PRO-4X and what a Warrior version will bring. Our pick right now is the ST-X off the shelf or an ST with accessories for a value off-roader or worksite ute.
2021 Nissan Navara Pricing and Specs
Price From $33,890 driveaway Warranty 5 years/unlimited km Engine 2.3L twin-turbo diesel Power 140kW at 3750rpm Torque 450Nm at 1500-2500rpm Transmission 6-speed manual or 7-speed auto Drive two and four-wheel-drive Body 5385mm (l); 1920mm (w); 1895mm (h) Kerb weight 2186kg Seats 5 Fuel tank 80 litres Spare Full size