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  • Great engine and transmission that never feel stressed under work; nice interior and decent media system; good rear seat space; ride comfort when unladen is good
  • Steering can be hard work when you're parking or on winding roads; no steering wheel reach adjustment could be an issue for some buyers; no ISOFIX - instead there are unconventional tie-loop restraints

OUR RATING
8 / 10



2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review

Work or play? That’s the question the 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 asks – and, in this specification in particular, it kind of screams it.

That’s because this is the ST model, a mid-range dual-cab four-wheel drive variant that isn’t as flashy as the top-spec Navara ST-X, but nor is it as utilitarian as the basic RX model.

So, is it the sweet spot in the new Nissan Navara range? Perhaps, yes.

It is priced smartly – the ST automatic here is $48,490 plus on-road costs – and is well equipped for the expenditure.

Highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and LED headlights, front fog-lights, alloy sports bar, side-steps and differential lock.

Further, this spec – unlike the RX – has a reverse-view camera and a 5.0-inch touchscreen media system. And, for tradies who spend a lot of time on the blower, there’s Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, as well as USB inputs to keep those devices charged.

More: 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 pricing and specifications

The interior feels pretty liveable, too. It is a ute first and foremost, so the materials are hard-wearing and easy to wipe down rather than being soft to the touch, but the cabin is well presented and generally very logically laid out – and the media system is a cinch to use.

2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review

The driver’s seat offers decent adjustment, but you need it because there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel – and that could be a deal-breaker for some buyers who have long legs.

The rear seat of the Navara NP300 is roomy, with good head and knee room, but toe wiggle space is a bit limited. It’s still a bit of a knees-up position and the squab of the bench is a tad short.

The base of the seat folds up to reveal a couple of hidey holes, but, in terms of child-seat fitment, there’s an unconventional top-loop system rather than the simpler anchor restraints or the simplest system, ISOFIX. In fact, this top-loop system was enough to deter one of our staff from loading his young bloke in the back for the weekend.

Further, the floor-mounted cupholders get in the way, and don’t feel overly sturdy, either.

That said, all back-seat occupants will appreciate the rear airvents, and there are big door storage pockets but no map pockets. And if safety is a concern, it really shouldn’t be: ANCAP recently awarded the new Navara a five-star rating, and it has seven airbags (dual front, front-side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee) as standard.

Behind the rear seat is an electric window that allows access to the tray – or adds the option of loading long items through to the cabin, safely of course! – and the tray itself is competitively sized for the segment.

2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review

It measures 1503 millimetres front-to-back, 1560mm wide and has a depth of 474mm. Further, the width between the wheel arches is 1130mm, making it slightly too narrow to fit a standard Aussie pallet (1165mm). Indeed, on that front, it can’t match the Volkswagen Amarok‘s deeper, wider tray for pallet-swallowing capacity.

The Navara’s payload (ST auto: 986kg) is about par for the course for a dual-purpose ute, and it has the equal-best towing capacity in the class (3500kg braked).

Under the tray is the big talking point for the Navara NP300 – a five-link coil-spring rear-end suspension setup that sets it apart from all of its mainstream rivals with their leaf-sprung backsides. (Hat tip to the Ssangyong Actyon Sports ute, which has had coil springs and a proper payload since day dot.)

That suspension setup has an affect on the way the Navara drives, both positively and negatively.

The good? It rides very well over speed humps and sharp bumps, though there’s still some wobble from the tray over rutted surfaces. That wobbliness is never annoying, and over most surfaces the Navara feels much more settled than rival utes such as the Mazda BT-50, Ford Ranger and maybe – just maybe – the benchmark Amarok.

The bad? The back end will sag much more noticeably in the Navara, and the effect on the ute’s handling with ballast on board can be felt through the steering wheel. That’s less of a problem on the highway if you do a lot of commuting, though.

2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review

Another gripe of the Navara NP300 which stays the same across the model range is its slow steering. The wheel takes a lot of turning, particularly when parking. It’s likewise annoying if you’re driving on winding roads, as you have to row at the wheel a lot more than you do in competitor vehicles.

The ST model, along with the flagship ST-X, gets Nissan’s new 2.3- litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine.

That powerplant produces 140kW of power at 3750rpm and 450Nm of torque between 1500-2500rpm. The grunt gets to the ground through a seven-speed auto (the six-speed manual attracts a discount of $2500), with a selectable four-wheel-drive system.

For those playing along at home, the 4WD models add a sizeable $7000 premium over the 2WD versions. Our test loop was mainly road-biased, though an early morning parking manoeuvre on slippery grass showed the benefit of the switchable 4WD, as mud churn was imminent.

The diesel engine is a refined and grunty thing. Even though it can’t match the torque levels of some of its rivals, the fact it has two turbos – one working low in the rev range and the other that keeps momentum up as revs rise – means progress is smooth. It’s the sort of engine that wouldn’t be out of place in an SUV or passenger car.

The transmission, likewise, is excellent. It shifts between cogs without fuss, and picks the right point to drop down a gear on hills and the like, too. It allows the engine to remain in its sweet spot during urban running, and at higher speeds in top gear the drivetrain is anything but stressed.

2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review

Nissan offers the Navara NP300 with a comprehensive service program that’s probably better suited to tradies than families, as maintenance is due every 12 months or 20,000km, whichever occurs first. The capped-price program spans six years/120,000km, at an average cost per visit over that period of $599.

The Navara is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty, and all new Nissans come with three years’ roadside assistance.

The 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST dual-cab automatic ute is the sort of truck that caters to both work and play. It’s entirely liveable as a daily driver despite its somewhat cumbersome steering, and it also ticks the boxes as a weekend warrior for the family.


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2015 Nissan Navara NP300 ST Review
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Nissan Navara Specs

DX (4x2) : D22 SERIES 5 : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - DIESEL - C/CHAS
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
NAVARA
Variant
DX (4x2)
Series
D22 SERIES 5
Year
2015
Body Type
C/CHAS
Seats
3
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$16,610 - $18,880
Dealer Retail
$17,950 - $21,340
Dealer Trade
$13,100 - $15,100
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
304Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
98kW @  3600rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
64.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x100mm
Compression Ratio
16.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
75Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1509
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1620mm
Length
4795mm
Width
1690mm
Ground Clearance
225mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.2
Front Rim Size
5x15
Rear Rim Size
5x15
Front Tyres
195R15
Rear Tyres
195R15
Wheel Base
2950
Front Track
1525
Rear Track
1505
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Hydraulic shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Leaf spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Driver
Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Central Locking, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Mid Driver Side Chassis
Country of Origin
Japan