Remember when pick-up trucks were agricultural workhorses with little semblance in terms of refinement? All that’s changed drastically in the last decade or so but depending on who you ask, credit will be accorded to different parties for initiating the change from agricultural to affluent.
One of those that shifted the pick-up paradigm in favour of the urban lifestyle vehicle was the original mother trucker; the Nissan Navara. It had leather seats and at the time, was the most powerful pick-up in the country.
Since then, it may have been dethroned by its arch nemesis; the Ford Ranger, as the defacto lifestyle pick-up for the urban motorist. However, Nissan isn’t about to relinquish that title without a fight.
That fight’s taken the shape of the refreshed Navara with aggression infused into its exterior and a tech laden interior that’s bound to snag the appeal of lifestyle truckers. A preview of the facelifted Navara in flagship Pro-4X trim showcased some of the new features that makes Nissan’s intentions crystal clear in the pick-up class.
First featured on the USA-spec Titan large pick-up, the imposing interlocking design grille makes its way to the smaller Navara with a colossal impact. Navara lettering is embossed on the top of the grille’s frame and the quad-cube projector LED headlights further enhance the aggression of the front façade.
Adding to the muscular theme, the bonnet has a centre bulge while the sides of the bumper are pushed out for a wider appearance.
Out back in the bed is where the real party trick is; a first in the segment as well. Dubbed the Utili-Track cargo system, the setup integrates the usual fixed mounting hooks in the bed onto forged aluminum rails on the side of the bed. This allows the hooks to slide fore or aft along the rails to better position them for tying items down.
Frankly, this is the biggest innovation in pick-ups here since the spring-loaded tailgate for easier opening and closing. Of course, the Navara has a spring-assisted tailgate as well.
The rear façade houses the LED taillights and a step on the rear bumper for access into the bed. Completing the exterior are wheel arch extensions as well as the blacked-out treatment on the grille, door handles, side-view mirrors, roof rails and side steps. Wheels are 17-inch pieces and to be honest, look a little undertyred on the muscular Navara.
Step into the cabin and things are pretty familiar with the outgoing truck. The most noticeable cosmetic upgrade will be the three-spoke steering wheel found in the Serena and Almera. A 7.0-inch multi-info display is nestled between the tach and speedo.
Entertainment is now courtesy of a touchscreen head unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Two USB charging slots can be found under the armrest and conveniently, one is a Type-C connector. Now that the world is slowly transitioning to the Type-C slot, it’s nice to have both versions of USB slots on hand for those still using older smartphones or gadgets.
Under the rear air-conditioning vents is an additional USB charging slot with a little pocket to store your phone in while it charges. Speaking of the rear, the seat now has been recontoured to provide additional support. Sound dampening has been upped with more absorbent material and acoustic glass up front.
Standard kit includes keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, push-start button and a 360-degree camera system with Intelligent Moving Object Detection.
The biggest leap forward however has to be in the safety department with the introduction of autonomous tech. While the Almera has autonomous braking across the range, there’s no news if the autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beam in the Pro-4X will make it into the lower Navara trims.
Under the hood is the familiar 2.5-litre turbodiesel from the outgoing model. Power figures are unchanged at 187hp and 450Nm of torque. Of course, the seven-speed automatic is carried over as well.
It isn’t all cosmetic enhancements, however. Behind the three-spoke steering is a revised steering system that’s quicker and lighter on the turn at low speeds. The rear still rides on multilinks that’ve now been retuned with dual-rate coil springs for less body-roll. Even the payload has climbed courtesy of the suspension retune, climbing to 1.1-tonnes.
Lastly, the rear-differential is an electronic locking unit and the Trailer Sway Assist adds another dimension of safety into the mix by applying the brakes to prevent the swaying motion with a trailer from amplifying in the event of sudden changes of direction.
You can have your Navara Pro-4X in any of the four shades available but from the photos, it’s evident that Stealth Grey is the way to go. The other three colours are Pearl White, Burning Red and Black Star. Pricing and the rest of the range will be revealed at the launch on 16 April 2021.