Published on May 12th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Nissan Navara PRO-4X Inner City Test Drive Review
Nissan has delivered an aggressive looking urban vehicle with this PRO-4X.
Nissan used to be called Datsun and if you are old enough (like us) you will remember the many Datsun single cab pickup trucks that used to run around Malaysia. Used by farmers, plumbers, wet market merchants, electricians and more, it was a true workhorse.
The most popular model which still can be spotted in some small Malaysian towns is the Datsun 620 which might still be powered by the hardy J15 engine that was good for 77 horsepower. Today it might be ‘bent’ out of shape but still running and working hard for its owner.
Sometime in 1997, Nissan launched a fresh new pickup truck. It had two and also four-wheel drive options and it was known as the Nissan Frontier. The next model was called the Navara which came some time in February 2004 to replace the Frontier and it evolved over the years and today we are test driving the latest 2021 Navara. The Nissan Navara pickup truck has been a familiar sight on Malaysian roads since its launch.
Now we have an all-new Navara and it is still a pickup truck and looks the part of what the rest of the world call a ‘truck’, however the macho image of driving a pickup has superseded its real working need.
Make no mistake here as there is no doubt that this new Navara which was launched in March this year is able to do the work as well as anything from the brand, but it also has the capacity to act as a surprisingly comfortable family vehicle for anyone wanting to carry the family rather than the construction work crew to the job site.
Drivers of various sizes and shapes seem to be happy behind the tilt-adjustable steering wheel, with enough room to stretch out without crushing the legs of rear-seat passengers.
The driving position is natural and relaxed, ensuring an enduringly comfortable position that doesn’t lead to back-ache on long drives, with good forward visibility and decent sized mirrors to tell you what is going on behind.
Rear seat passengers are reasonably well catered for, with a USB charging point, air-conditioning vents and better rear back incline. This Navara’s occupants now have a more comfortable seating. Lets not forget the central infotainment touchscreen with integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to ensure the driver is well entertained on long journeys.
Plus, this Navara continues to provide an ASEAN NCAP 5-Star safety rating which it has maintained from its earlier version from 2016.
This new Navara has had all its shiny chrome replaced with black finish (we love it) giving it a tough urban look with a bolder and bigger grille in front, wide side-steps, roof-rails, LED fitted side view mirrors and the multi-LED headlamps. All this ‘extras’ do make a difference to those attracted by the same macho thing that has attracted many urban cowboys to pickup trucks in the past few years. Inside there’s also a distinctly a car like feel, though in a finish and fit better than previous versions.
The driving position is good with great view out front and side and this Navara sits high because of all the 4WD engineering under the cabin floor. A quick turn knob in front of the gear lever selects all drive options 2WD, 4WD-H and 4WD-L, which is a neat and easy system, which makes the hassle of 4×4 driving so very convenient. Brakes are disc in front and drum rears, while the suspension is shared from a SUV which means better passenger comfort.
Under the bonnet sits a frugal 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel, which has come a long way in technology from equivalent units. On the road, this Navara is easy to drive and even more reassuring it offers a solid presence, reasonably refined impressive power, a well-cushioned ride and surprising agility. The engine delivers a surplus grunt or top-end power that is not always associated to most other 2.5-liter diesel engines while still being tuned for extreme frugal usage of fuel even when pushed. Shifts from the seven-speed automatic are slick and timely.
Driving experience of the PRO-4X is a considerable leap, compared to the older 2.5 model where overtaking slower traffic in this truck is a cinch, with surprisingly minimal effort required to accrue and maintain high speeds.
The engine, as a whole, is impressively refined; it is smooth and measured with its power delivery, with noise levels generally low. It is a very civilized engine, and Nissan also took care to spread its torque over a wide range of revs, ensuring almost instantaneous throttle response. There were very few occasions which the 7-speed auto was caught in the wrong gear and it makes driving the PRO-4X a pleasingly effortless affair.
Matching the powertrain’s excellence is a well-calibrated chassis that is impressively composed at high speeds and surprisingly reassuring around corners. Nissan evidently paid far greater attention to ride comfort and their signature five-link, rear coil suspension is maintained compared to more conventional leaf springs for its immediate rivals. The system soaks up bumps and road patches with great aplomb. It is effective with smaller obstacles such as Petaling Jaya’s many small pot holes, yellow road stripes and bridge joints.
For a family man who is a city dweller or a company accountant looking to purchase a fleet of workhorses that will deliver usage with minimal cost incurred, this new Navara should be taken into account with a Nissan showroom visit and a test drive.
Nissan Navara PRO-4X Diesel Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, DOHC Commonrail Diesel
Transmission: 7-speed auto with Manual Mode
Max Power: 190PS @ 3,600rpm
Max Torque: 450Nm @ 2,000rpm