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What is it?

GO back a decade or so and nobody would have thought that utes would dominate the new vehicles sales.

But here in Oz, in the US, and many nations in Asia and Africa, the top sellers are utes, although they might be called something else in other countries. Pickups, bakkies, whatever.

And the trend keeps growing. 

So, like Holden, which led the charts for many a year with its Commodore, but added up spec models like Calais, and Ford fielded something similar – was it called Fairmont? – for people who didn’t want to be seen in a common Falcon, the ute producers have also made models to appeal to people who like the finer things in life.

In Nissan’s case, there’s the perfectly good Navara, and now there’s also the Navara N-Trek, which is a perfectly good Navara – but with added finesse.

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What’s it cost?

Based on the Navara Dual Cab 4X4 ST-X, the N-Trek has a wad of black accessories as standard equipment, plus a bunch of interior enhancements.

It’s priced from $56,450 for the 6-speed manual and $58,950 for the seven-speed auto, and it comes in a choice of  Cosmic Black, Slate Grey or White Diamond.

Sure, it’s a good few bucks more than a regular Navara, but you’d pay more for an Omega watch than one of those jobbies from Big W, even though they both keep perfect time.

 We had a look under the skirt of the N-Trek and can confirm it has the civilised five-link rear suspension system with dual-rate coils, not the outdated leaf springs of most utes.

Our vehicle was a Cosmic Black model and a traffic stopper with its 18 inch alloy wheels, fender flares, alloy sportsbar, body side decals and LED headlight bezels, all of the aforementioned in black.

It also had black sidesteps with an orange accent line, similar treatment across its snoot and exterior mirror caps and more black of everything else, yep, even down to the tailgate badge.

It’s a very black thing, indeed.

Inside are leather trimmed seats with orange fabric seat inserts, orange stitching on the seats, centre console, front door armrests and steering wheel and oh yes, the driver’s seat is power adjustable, with power “lumber”.

I’m sure they mean lumbar, a rather special part of one’s spine, not a length of hewn timber. 

Also there is Nissan’s Alliance In-Vehicle Infotainment (AIVI) system featuring the larger 8.0 inch colour touchscreen with a redesigned user interface and menu, and it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring as well as Bluetooth handsfree phone and audio streaming, dual zone climate control aircon, Intelligent Key with remote keyless entry, push button start and satellite navigation.

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What’s it go like?

For the rest, it’s the same as in the recently-reviewed ST-X: 2.3-litre 140kW/450Nm diesel,  7-speed automatic, with all the mod cons of the day, such as a reverse camera, reversing sensors, a fab 360-degree Around View Monitor, seven airbags, a limited slip diff and electronic rear diff lock.

The latter two puzzled me. 

That kind of gear is reserved for real tough off-road stuff. Now would you really take your N-Trek into such hostile territory?

I sure wouldn’t.

I can’t imagine barking those black alloys against a piece of unfriendly Outback rock or getting an ugly scratch on those gorgeous black sidesteps with their orange stripes.

It also comes with privacy glass and, yes, of course it has every combination of the alphabet in safety gear than you can think of.

Plus a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Fuel wise, we recorded 6.3L/100km unloaded, which, surprisingly, was better than the factory claim of 7.0.

If, however, you insist on loading stuff into the shiny black tray, well it has a payload of 930kg and towing capacity is 750kg for an unbraked trailer, or up to 3500kg braked. 

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What we like?

  • The looks
  • Coil-sprung tail 
  • Extensive standard equipment
  • Performance
  • Economy
  • Comfort

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What we don’t like?

  • No helping handles on driver’s side

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The bottom line?

Tarzan in a tuxedo.

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CHECKOUT: Nissan Navara: high praise for a ute

CHECKOUT: Nissan 370Z: Zed’ll stop ’em dead

 

Nissan Navara Dual Cab ST-X 4x4, priced from $55,250
  • 8/10
    Looks - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Safety - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Thirst - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Practicality - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Comfort - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Value - 8.5/10
8.3/10

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.