Speaking with CarAdvice at the recent Nissan Navara SII launch, Nissan Australia senior manager of product planning, Adrian Sciacca, said that Nissan is constantly listening to customers in the hunt for the right vehicle configuration.
"There was a need in the market and there was feedback from customers that they wanted something entry-level, but something a little more aggressive than we were offering with RX — visually and more power, along with rear camera and vinyl floors," Sciacca said.
"The SL seemed like a logical decision, it's essentially a de-specified ST and it allowed us to have wider wheels and tyres, plus some black components."
Nissan worked on the Series II Navara suspension changes locally, with the tune unique to the Australian market. It's the same story for the all-new SL model, with the original concept penned shortly after the NP300 Navara launched around two years ago.
It's a move echoed by Nissan's competitors, with Amarok, Ford and Holden all offering a similar vehicle with vinyl floors, four-wheel drive and fatter, rugged four-wheel drive tyres. It's the ultimate bridge between work and play.
"At that part of the market it has been really well received for the price," Sciacca said.
"That's really been since launch that we've been trying to get something that fits like the SL. It's always got to be done with a lens of feedback, research and data."
CarAdvice tested the Series II Navara at its national launch last week. We have also purchased a Series II SL as a long-term company-owned test vehicle. We found that the suspension changes have helped somewhat, but the Navara still falls short with a 650kg load in the rear, which isn't ideal for a vehicle billed as a workhorse in the Navara range.