2008 Nissan Navara ST-X 4X4 King Cab Review & Road Test
A capable contender in a field full of posers
- 2008 Nissan D40 Navara ST-X 4X4 King Cab Utility, 2.5-litre, turbo-diesel, six-speed manual - $42,660 (RRP)
- Metallic Paint $395 (Fitted)
Off-road capabilities, very easy to drive, torquey engine Door vibration, small jump seats, weak air-conditioning
- by Matt Brogan
Capable off road, comfortable on road the Navara really does set itself apart from most four-wheel drive utilities that seem to be compromised one way or the other - or neither way at all.
It’s a bigger utility than some of the competitors too, with pumped guards, flattened sides, and a large yet affable face it’s one of those vehicles that looks just as natural on the building site as it does in the bush, and is certainly no slouch at performing well in either environment.
Inside it’s a relatively simple affair, and is both practical and easy to live with but offers the added advantages of being quiet, comfortable and accommodating, traits that Navara seems unusually generous in offering by comparison to similar sized rivals.
Material use is seemingly durable, switch gear is well placed and simplistic in function and all features not only work as well as they should, but I would say fractionally better than those of Navara’s nearest competitor.
Although it’s unlikely to win any fashion awards, the Navara is attractive enough to live with day-to-day, and doesn’t appear to be trying too hard at being something it’s not. An honest, what you see is what you get approach I guess you could say with no underlying nasties.
What I don’t completely understand in the King Cab are the rear seats. Sure, they’re a great idea if you need to give your mates a lift home from the pub, but anymore than ten minutes back there and you will feel a little worse for wear.
The seating position is very upright, and bigger blokes will struggle with the ‘jump’ seat’s shallow thigh pad. I wouldn’t even recommend it for the kids. Best to say they’re for temporary use only, and leave it at that.
I guess the upshot to that is that yes, you get a bigger cabin, and yes you can get two more people in – legally – if need be, and sure you also gain a longer tray than you would with a dual cab, so it’s worth considering if you don’t need a four-seater all of the time.
Under the bonnet Nissan’s 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine is very strong, feeling more like a six than a four, and offers most of it’s mammoth 403Nm of torque nice and low in the rev range for maximum pulling potential when the tray is loaded, when towing or when climbing near vertical off road.
The 126kW of power is delivered at 4000rpm to allow car like flexibility in traffic and smooth acceleration when overtaking, without the need to be overly anxious on the gearbox, a habit some turbo-diesels seem to exhibit a little too freely.
A six-speed manual gearbox was fitted to our test vehicle and though the Navara is available with an automatic option, I found this box suitably tight and easy to operate, and so useful off road that I’d recommend it to anyone who will use this car to it’s full potential.
The 4WD system features auto-locking front hubs and is changeable on the fly, being operated by an electronic switch, as opposed to the traditional transfer case lever. Navara also offers a limited-slip rear differential as standard.
The package works incredibly well when you’re out bush and although some four-wheel drive utilities can have traction issues up back due to the lack of weight present, we experienced no such issues with Navara in the majority of situations.
Approach and departure angles were acceptable for the level of terrain you’d expect to tackle in a 4WD utility, though the break over angle did feel a little compromised on some larger Irish culverts, even when approached on the diagonal. Anyone contemplating more off-road use (e.g. farmers) may wish to investigate a lift kit to raise Navara above the 205mm ground clearance for this very reason.
Wishbone suspension with coils up front and leafs under the tub allow a firm but stable ride with surprisingly capable cornering both on and off the black stuff, plus a payload of 939kg, and Navara diesel models can also tow up to 3000kg – braked.
Capable disc/drum braking with late threshold ABS, with EBA, for off road use, effortless clutch action and well weighted steering all add to the feeling of Navara’s well built and capable persona, all of which make the vehicle as easy to drive as a family sedan – but a lot more fun on the weekends.
My only niggles with the King Cab, apart from the milk crate rear seats, would be a noticeable vibration from the bat-wing doors on corrugated unsealed roads. They also allow a fair amount of dust to enter in doing so. Give it some thought if you live out of town. You also need to run the air-conditioning pretty hard to achieve a cool cabin, even on mild, 30 degree, days.
Fuel consumption too is a little on the greedy side of average with our week of urban, highway and off-road use returning 11.7 litres per 100km, almost two litres above that advised by the manufacturer.
Navara ST-X King Cab comes standard with cloth trim, six-CD tuner, cruise-control, power mirrors and windows, tilt adjustable steering column, headlamp height level adjuster, front fog lamps, remote central-locking, air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, side steps, sports bar, tub liner, front and rear mud flaps and dual front airbags.
With so many posers in this sector it’s great to drive an all-rounder that is so very capable in every aspect of its purpose that I actually found Navara hard to part with. If the price tag puts you off, have an extended test drive then reconsider, you’ll thank yourself for it later on.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
- Engine: 2488cc DOHC four-cylinder (24 valve)
- Power: 126kW @ 4000rpm
- Torque: 403Nm @ 2000rpm
- Induction: Turbocharged common rail
- Transmission: Six-speed, dual-range manual
- Differential/Driven Wheels: Rear LSD/All
- Brakes: Disc/drum with ABS & EBA
- CO2 Emissions: 264g/km
- Fuel Consumption: 9.8 litres per 100km (Combined)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres
- Fuel Type: Diesel
- ANCAP Rating: Three star
- Safety: Dual front airbags
- Spare Wheel: Full size alloy
- Tow Capacity: 3000kg (Braked)
- Turning Circle: 13.2 metres
- Warranty: 3 year/100,000km
- Weight: 1981kg (Tare)/939kg (Payload)
- Wheels: Alloy 16 x 7.0-inch