Update (November 2015): Read the full Nissan NP300 Navara review.
Nissan has taken the wraps of the 2015 Nissan Navara pickup in Asia. The current generation Nissan Navara is currently the oldest pickup on the market, with no major facelifts or restyling since its launch in 2005.
The next two years will witness six new pickup launches, with facelifts of the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, next generation Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200, and all-new pickups from Fiat Professional and Renault (based on the 2016 Nissan Navara) due to be launched.
Nissan’s new re-entry to the market is long overdue. The new styling replicates the ‘smiley’ grille and front lights seen on other Nissan models, like the Qashqai and Pathfinder. It’s also a lot more aerodynamic, which Nissan says helps to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.
Renault has announced that their pickup will take longer to develop, as they want to style it in their own way.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine as the Renault Master, Nissan NV400 and Vauxhall Movano. This engine was designed and built specifically for commercial vehicles and features a lot of low end torque.
For Australian homologation purposes, which are thought not to be much different to here in the UK, there is around an 11 percent fuel saving compared to the outgoing 2.5-litre thanks to an electrical variable oil pump and a thermo-management system. There is a choice of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes.
Unlike the new Mitsubishi L200, the Navara hasn’t made any significant size gains. While the overall length has grown (up 30mm to 5,255mm), the width remains the same (1,850mm) and the height and wheelbase (down 50mm to 3,150mm) have been reduced. It also boasts an impressive ground clearance of 220mm for 4x4 variants.
Interestingly, it seems the traditional leaf spring rear suspension, which all pickups except the Ssangyong Korando Sports use, will be replaced a five-link suspension with coil springs, which they say results in much better ride and handling.
The downside of the multilink suspension is that it’s not able to carry the same loads as the traditional leaf spring, although payloads remain the same thanks to Nissan shedding 70kg off the kerbweight of the new model. With payloads expected to be a touch over one tonne, towing capacities have been increased to up to 3.5 tonnes.
While dimensions of the load area haven’t been released yet, Nissan has stated the new load bed is larger than the already accommodating current model.
The official release date of the 2016 Nissan Navara is yet to be announced, but it’s expected a bit later than the Mitsubishi L200 in around Q1 of 2016, with production starting in Barcelona late next year. Pricing and exact specifications will be announced nearer the launch date, so make sure to keep checking back on Parkers Vans for further updates.