The Nissan Navara is as good as it’s going to get in terms of performance for the time being – having just received an update that includes tougher rear suspension, Apple CarPlay, and a digital speed display.
The company is poised to change gear and focus on an “electrified” version of future Nissan Navara models – rather than finding more power from the current twin-turbo diesel 2.3-litre four-cylinder.
There are also no immediate plans to add autonomous emergency braking or radar cruise control, despite this technology being available on European-built Nissan Navaras and top-selling local rivals the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
In a briefing to media from the Asia-Pacific region during the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the company stopped short of the saying the next generation Nissan Navara would be purely electric, however there are plans to eventually add a hybrid option to the line-up.
Such a change would likely not occur until the next-generation Nissan Navara due in about 2025, and which will be based on the new ute platform being developed by alliance partner Mitsubishi.
Mitsubishi is leading the development of the ute program for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and will launch a new generation pick-up about two to three years from now – and about two years ahead of the next generation Nissan Navara.
In an interview with media during a visit to Australia in early September, a senior Mitsubishi executive – who is now at Nissan – said the next generation Triton would have the option of hybrid power. CarAdvice understands the same technology will also eventually be adopted by Nissan.
When asked about the next big breakthrough in the ute category, Francois Bailly said: “Electrification is the future. How? We haven’t decided, but this is where we are going... 10 to 20 years from now this is the big breakthrough.”
He said that if the Nissan Navara were to switch to some form of electric power it would do so without losing any of its capability. The current model can carry a 1 tonne load, tow a 3500kg trailer and cross a stream of water that is 600mm deep.
“There must be no compromise on towing... and there needs to be sufficient range to provide the same capability as today,” said Mr Bailley, before adding “electrification is just one solution... customers are extremely diverse.”
When asked if the Nissan Navara would get a more powerful turbo-diesel engine to keep pace with what’s coming from the competition, Mr Bailley said it is “TBC and under study”, before adding that decisions on engines were dictated by “what the customer wants and what the regulations require”.
“In some markets, diesel is there to stay,” he said. “I believe electrification takes time (for some customers to embrace)”.
Meanwhile, the recently revealed Nissan Navara Warrior – developed in Australia – is likely to remain the flagship of its ute range for the foreseeable future.
Nissan’s global boss of utes and vans, Francois Bailly, said the Ford Ranger Raptor is a “a very interesting pick-up truck not only in Australia but other markets”.
The boss of Nissan Australia, Stephen Lester, added: “We believe the Warrior serves that demand in that part of the market”.