THE Navara is the second of the top 10 best-selling 4x4s to lose sales in the first half of 2018 compared to the same time last year, despite a rising market.
In the first six months of 2018 Nissan sold 6722 Navara 4x4s, some 651 fewer than the same time in 2017. This may not look like a big drop, but it comes despite two upgrades since this generation Navara (the D23) first appeared in late 2015 and in light of generally disappointing sales along the way.
When you consider the previous D40 Navara 4x4 was selling twice as many five years ago – in a 20 per cent smaller 4x4 ute market – and was second only to the all-conquering Hilux, the D23 hasn’t been what Nissan would have wanted.
The D23 (or NP300 as it was initially known) came with the fanfare of coil-spring rear suspension, a theoretically better arrangement than leaf springs, and a sophisticated bi-turbo engine and seven-speed auto gearbox.
While the engine provided plenty of performance, helped by the seven-speed auto and relatively short gearing, the coil-spring rear suspension, especially for heavy load carrying or towing, was problematic right from start. The front-to-rear suspension match wasn’t great either, nor was the too-heavy and too-slow steering.
Within 12 months Nissan addressed this via the Series II model, with new rear coils, new dampers front and rear and revised suspension bushings. More suspension changes were implemented for the 2018 model with a second new set of rear coils, new rear dampers and a revised steering rack.
4x4 Review: 2018 Navara development drive
Thankfully the Navara is better for all these changes, especially in its general on-road handling, ride and steering, which is now very acceptable. But it’s still not great at towing its claimed max 3500kg or carrying its full theoretical payload of around 1000kg. Nor is it a gun off-road ute, where its lack of wheel travel and lowish stance puts it at a disadvantage compared to its rivals.
Nissan Navara mid-2018 Year-on-Year sales
|June 2018 YTD||June 2017 YTD||Sales Change|
2018 Nissan Navara Specs
Engine: 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel
Power: 140kW at 3750rpm
Torque: 450Nm at 1500-2500rpm
Gearbox: 7-speed auto
4X4 system: Dual-range part-time
Kerb weight: 1865kg
Towing capacity: 3500kg
Fuel tank size: 80 litres
ADR fuel claim: 7.0L/100km
Australia's best selling 4x4s examined 4x4 Sales Report Card
Navara 4x4 Report Card
|Cabin & Equipment||C|
|Towing & Practicality||D|
|Second revision of the coil-spring rear
suspension makes for better, but still not
great, load and tow performance.
*Scored against class competitors. A = Excellent; B = Very Good; C = Good; D = Fair; E = Poor; F = Fail.