Tow Vehicle: Nissan Navara

By: Steve Vermeulen


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The Nissan Navara combines driving agility with an impressive three-tonne tow capability

Tow Vehicle: Nissan Navara
Tow Vehicle: Nissan Navara
  • Impressive towing ability
  • Adjustable tie-down points in tray
  • Grunty engine
  • Plenty of creature comforts

The Nissan Navara is more than just a popular ute; it’s one of the most popular passenger vehicles on the road.

Not bad for a vehicle built in Thailand.

Nissan New Zealand is introducing more and more Thai-assembled Navara variants, such as this new ST, to maintain a competitive edge in the price conscious rural and trade sector. Don’t worry about Thai build quality though; ute production is a Thailand specialty. The Toyota Hilux, Holden Rodeo, Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger are also produced in the Indonesian Kingdom.

The Thai built ST is every bit as rugged as the ST-X that tops the range. Same masculine, slab-sided styling, same excellent 2.5 litre, 126kW diesel engine, awesome offroad/four-wheel drive agility and the same impressive three-tonne tow capability.

Tow weights

For the caravan or trailer owner there’s that undeniably epic 3000kg braked tow capacity, which to be fair, is now equalled by the Ford and Mazda rivals, but the Navara trumps these by offering the pulling power in both manual or automatic versions. (The Ranger/BT-50 product has only 2500 tow capacity on auto models).

Interestingly, Nissan states a slightly lower payload weight than others in the class, in the ST’s instance that’s 871kg, still plenty to play with for the growing number of fifth wheeler enthusiasts among us.

Engine and power

The engine easily powers things along, with 403Nm of torque returning exceptional low down pull, and there’s smooth linear response at all points in the rpm spectrum – not something you can say about some of Navara’s competitors.

Noise suppression isn’t a key focus on utes so there’s an agricultural thrum audible from the running gear, but at least when fitted with the five speed auto shifts are refreshingly smooth and the gearing feels well proportioned.

The ST may be a cut-price version of the top model, but it still exhibits higher than average specification for a utility. Sit behind the leather-wrapped wheel and the interior looks and feels more Maxima family sedan than go-anywhere 4WD workhorse. There’s audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, large, comfortable seat squabs, and Bluetooth hands free is standard.

You miss out on a few chrome embellishments, but more of a disappointment to family-focussed purchasers is the lack of safety features that are found on the top of the range models. Given the popularity of the Navara, child seat anchors and a lap-sash seatbelt are worrying omissions, as is brake assistance, which optimises braking pressure in an emergency; all come standard on the ST-X. The 13.3m turning circle is also not class leading.

It’s a modern-day Clydesdale this – powerful and imposing, and in ST form you do save a considerable amount, but we’d probably leave this model for the trade.

Instead, the new ST-X offers an attractive increase in power, torque and fuel efficiency, and picks up the important family-friendly items most caravan clients could benefit from on their getaway.

See the Nissan Navara for sale on Autotrader.

Read more reviews in the latest issue of Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine, on sale now.

Specifications

Nissan Navara ST
Tow bar price From $695
Engine 2.5-litre turbo diesel
Power 126kW @ 4000rpm
Torque 403Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission Five-speed auto/4WD with low range
Length/Height/Width 5230mm/1779mm/1850mm
Turning circle 13.3m
Fuel economy 10.5L/ 100km
Tow capacity 750kg unbraked/3000kg braked
GVM 2860kg
Payload 871kg

 

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