Nissan Navara King Cab road test and review
UTES are not typically associated with royalty.
One look at this workhorse and it's unlikely Will and Kate will be casting aside the Rangie any time in the near future.
Yet this Nissan Navara is crowned the King Cab, honouring its sizable cabin dimensions.
While not quite the domain of princes and princesses, the humble ute has come a long way in recent years. The Navara is a fine example of how these utilities, in name and nature, have made giant steps forward in creature comforts, performance and safety.
There are 13 versions of the Navara single and king cabs, and we jumped into the RX model which has a price tag less than $40,000.
Getting down to business is the primary function of this Navara derivative, so there is little fanfare or flair. That suits buyers just fine.
There is little need for the instructional manual as all the dials and operations are self-explanatory.
Fit and finish is a step up from days of old, and it's even got bluetooth phone connectivity with steering wheel-mounted controls.
Designed as a two-seater, the two fold-down chairs in the back are occasional use only. Akin to the seats hosties use on aeroplanes, the straight backs and absence of child seat anchorage points mean families should look at the dual cab if considering it for work and play.
Six-way manual adjustment of the driver's seat along with tilt manipulation of the steering column means finding a good position behind the wheel is relatively simple, but it doesn't have telescopic functionality like most other modern passenger cars.
On the road
Chest-beatingly strong, the diesel never shies away from a challenge.
We tackled some hilly terrain to value the Navara's worth and it conquered 20-degree climbs like shelling peas. When unladen, the rear end can feel light and it will quickly step out in wet conditions if you are too enthusiastic on the throttle. It gets leaf-sprung rear suspension to help handle the hefty loads, which plays a major role in the old-school ride feel.
Yet the King Cab is a surprisingly good and smooth drive, although the diesel feels agricultural in its soundtrack. Four-wheel drive can be selected via a dial on the dash on the fly at speeds up to 100kmh.
What do you get?
The standard equipment list is not bad, with 16-inch wheels with full-size spare, rear power sliding window, bluetooth with steering wheel controls and audio streaming, CD stereo along with USB/iPod connectivity, cruise control, three 12V power sockets and seven airbags.
Those who want more luxury can spend some extra coin and get the ST or ST-X, where you also get NissanConnect smartphone integration, leather-accented upholstery, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable driver's seat, remote keyless entry, reverse camera, LED projector headlights and sat-nav (ST-X only).
Diesel competitors in this oversized cabin realm, both in pick-up and cab chassis form, include the Ford Ranger XL Super Cab ($35,590), Isuzu SX Space Ute ($34,300), Mazda BT-50 XT Freestyle Cab ($32,745) and the Toyota HiLux Workmate Double ($33,990).
As a daily driver, the Navara offers comfortable surrounds. Dual cup holders are in the console along with bottle holders in the front doors, and there is also a USB port and auxiliary jack in front of the shifter.
Being a King Cab it offers more flexibility than your standard ute. There is a useful space that can handle a small suitcase or two with the rear seats folded away.
Four tie-down hooks are inside the tray, although the two-channel "Utili-Track" system that enables you to slide attachment points along the length of the tray is only on the range-topping model.
With steel wheels there is little romance about the appearance. For some extra pizzazz it could do with some alloys and a roll bar for some cred against the more passenger-like dual cabs, as well as the Falcons and Commodores. Colour options include white, red or black, with silver and sapphire options also available.
Somewhat forgotten as the automotive industry has rapidly evolved, the ute market is now making ground.
Across the NP300 Navara range are much-improved dynamics and comfort, with this King Cab no different.
While maintaining its workmanlike attributes, it feels light years ahead of previous offerings that wore this badge.
Model: Nissan Navara NP300 RX 4x4 Pick Up.
Details: Four-door (rear hinged for back doors), four-seat, four-wheel drive utility.
Engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged diesel generating maximum power of 120kW @ 3750rpm and peak torque of 403Nm @ 1500-2500rpm.
Consumption: 6.6 litres/100km (combined average).
Transmission: Six-speed manual with dual range 4X4.
Towing: 3500kg; tow ball 300kg when gross vehicle mass is reduced by 410kg.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $36,990.
What matters most
What we liked: Impressive comfort for a workhorse, super solid performance from the turbo diesel.
What we'd like to see: Reverse camera, improved comfort of fold-down rear seats, track tray system in the RX model.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year/ 100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the same period. Service intervals at 12 months/20,000km.
Driving experience 16/20
Features and equipment 17/20
Functionality and comfort 16/20
Value for money 18/20
Style and design 15/20