The new Navara – which will be launched in Australia early in 2015 – will be offered with a pair of newly developed 2.3-litre turbo diesel engines, both of which debut in the global pick-up truck.
The lower-specification engine is equipped with a single turbocharger, and is expected to offer power outputs of 118kW and 403Nm. The higher-output twin-turbo version has power outputs that are identical to the existing 2.5-litre turbo in the Navara ST, at 140kW and 450Nm, though the added turbo is claimed to improve the drivability of the engine and the linearity of the power delivery, lowering the peak torque zone to 1500rpm (was 2000rpm) and increasing the peak power to 3750rpm (was 3600rpm).
That shift to a smaller engine could be bad news for ute buyers who still think 'there's no replacement for displacement', particularly when they learn that the current Navara's standout engine - the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 in the ST-X models, with power outputs of 170kW and 550Nm - has been dropped from the new-model range. Presumably, so will the marketing tagline of "Australia's Most Powerful Tradie".
Nissan Navara chief engineer Takashi Fukui told CarAdvice at the launch of the new model in Thailand that there will be "no V6", and that any plans for an upsized version of the new twin-turbo engine aren't yet confirmed.
"Currently, [we are offering] just this engine only. My image is the output [of the engine] itself, this is competitive," he said, indicating the 2.3-litre version would be sufficient to take on the key rivals in the Australian market.
"The V6 diesel engine used for the current Navara, that is Renault engine as well. But we cannot meet Euro 6 emissions regulations [with it]," he said.
But Nissan may yet offer a more powerful and torquier four-cylinder engine, according to Fukui.
"I need more study," Fukui said of an upsized twin-turbo version, which was hinted at by the company's global vice president of product planning, Keno Kato.
"As you can see, the truck [has a] longer life [span than passenger cars], so we need to consider [what we will offer at a later point]," he said.
Edouard Masurel, of the Nissan Navara global marketing team, also hinted at a higher-output engine, but reiterated the company will stick with the 2.3-litre in the vehicle's initial launch period.
"This is what we're going to provide to the market at launch," Mansurel said. "No decisions are made yet.
"We know it's a challenge, but this customer will believe only what they experience [when they drive the car]. So yes, it will take time, but this is our challenge," Masurel said.
The end of the V6 Navara means the highest torque output on the market will be from the Holden Colorado, which has a 2.8-litre producing 500Nm. That's followed by the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, both of which have top-end offerings with 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo engines with 470Nm peak torque.
The payoff of the downsized engine, according to Nissan, is its fuel consumption. While no official fuel use figures have been provided, the company claims the single-turbo, lower output engine uses 11 per cent less fuel than the old 2.5-litre in the current model, while the twin-turbo lowers fuel use by 19 per cent.
Both of those figures are thanks in part to a lower kerb weight, which has dropped by 70 kilograms compared to the existing model, not to mention the newly added seven-speed automatic transmission that will be offered alongside a six-speed manual version.
Nissan claims the new model will boast improved towing capacity, with Fukui suggesting a "targeted weight of 3.5 tonnes". That would put the Navara on level pegging against the Isuzu D-Max, Holden Colorado and the Ranger/BT-50 fraternal twins.
The Navara will be offered in three cab-styles - single-, king- and dual-cab - and with both a pick-up body and a cab-chassis version.
For those who prefer petrol-power, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder version will be offered with outputs of 118kW and 231Nm. That engine will only be offered on the 4x2 single-cab and 4x2 dual-cab.
Stay tuned for full Australian specifications and details of the new Nissan Navara as they come to hand.