Work Or Play in the Nissan Navara ST-X King Cab Ute
  |  First Published: March 2009

The Nissan ST-X Navara in 2.5L turbo diesel specification has a lot going for it when it comes to carrying capacity, enjoyment of driving, and performance. And it's pretty clever, too.

At first impression, the King Cab appears to be a standard ute with front doors for driver and front passenger, and large storage space behind. But there's a bit more to this one than meets the eye.

Once a door is opened, set into the door pillar are the handles for the smaller forward opening rear door. This gives easy access to the space behind the front seats, which has enough space to store quite a bit of valuable fishing tackle, and even for a couple of youngsters to sit on the folding rear seats. In this case, the two seater becomes a four seater – very clever!

Other surprises await with the ST-X Navara diesel, especially when one climbs behind the wheel and the smooth capability of the 2.5 diesel engine comes to the fore.

Reviewed was a six-speed manual. I found that gearing was remarkably well matched to the engine with first gear being just right for hill starts or boat ramp work, and the sixth was a handy overdrive to reduce engine revs on the highway.

On the motorway, I noted that 110km/h was achieved at just over 2000rpm. Clearly, thanks to the well sorted gear ratios, the Navara's diesel engine won't be working too hard during highway runs. Engine specs come in at 126kW of power and 403Nm of torque and with the turbo working well from around 1400rpm the utility could move off the mark pretty smartly.

All Navara 4x4s are rated to tow 3000kg braked trailers, so potential owners with larger boats should find no difficulty with this rating.

On/off the highway

The Navara ST-X is a well set out utility for highway and city work. The reviewed vehicle had cruise control, power windows and mirrors, 6 disc CD player and remote central locking for extra convenience. I gave full marks to the vehicle's height adjustable headlights; a handy feature for travel on roads where animals are par for the course.

I went within a whisker of cleaning up a cow at around 8pm one evening and if I hadn't adjusted the headlights up on that quiet section of road and had the Navara's Brake Assist system (this system senses an emergency stop and automatically increases braking effort) on my side I'd say I would have been calling on Nissan's Roadside Assist in a rather dejected manner.

The ride was good on the highway, thanks to independent double wishbone with coils over shock absorbers up front and leaf springs at the rear. The ride was by no means uncomfortable off the road thanks to the Nissan's well sorted rear suspension set up.

Fast highway cruising saw little exterior noise intruding other than some tyre hum on indifferent road surfaces. Seating was cloth trim, comfy, with ample legroom for both driver and passenger.

The Navara's 2.5L turbo diesel engine emitted a discreet little chatter at idle but could be hardly heard at all when under way. Diesel engines have indeed come a long way in the last few years. With its 80L fuel tank the Navara should have an excellent cruising range given that a mix of city and country driving returned around 10.3L per 100km.

Overall, the ride remained quite compliant over less than brilliant surfaces. On corrugated gravel surfaces the rear of the vehicle had a very slight tendency to rebound a little, as we might expect given its one tonne carrying capacity, but at no time did I encounter bump steering or other nasty traits.

As the rear wheels normally drive the Navara ST-X King Cab, 4WD and the more serious low range 4WD is engaged via a dash mounted rotary switch, which can have all four wheels working in the blink of an eye.

At the back

The test vehicle came equipped with a well made and very heavy duty tray liner, and this is an option that people who regularly carry big loads of trade gear, tools and similar will likely order. The big fat roll bar in the back is standard.

In all, the Navara ST-X diesel King Cab was a likeable utility, well suited to work through the week and plenty of play on the weekends. Warranty is 3 years or 100,000km. Roadside assist also covers 3 years of use.

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