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June 25, 2021

Review: 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X 4x4 AT

By far, the pickup truck segment is the one that’s leveled up a lot since 2015. It seems there’s no end to the one-upmanship between car makers be it on price, mechanical improvements, updated features, or a combination of all three. Now, the year 2015 isn’t random—it was the year the current Navara, known as the D23 was launched. It sparked, to coin their ever-quotable term, “the pickup wars.” It led to Nissan’s resurgence, catapulting their truck, and the entire brand to second and third spot in the market, respectively.

In the years since, its rivals all launched either heavily-revised or all-new models. Truth be told, the six years since haven’t been too kind on the Navara; it was feeling its age. It was time…for a facelift. Yeah, okay. Admittedly it’s a bummer if you’ve been expecting a full model change, but fact of the matter is commercial vehicles like pickup trucks have long product cycles. And you know what, it doesn’t matter. The 2021 version may just be a heavy refresh, but what a refresh it is. When the buck stops, it’s a fine truck.

Let’s start with the way it looks. Understanding that looks are everything when it comes to pickup trucks, Nissan opted to dig deep to refresh the entire front-end. The result is a pickup that looks completely different than before. It looked pedestrian before, but now, it’s a stunner. The new grille is larger, while the hood is taller. In a unique twist, the front fenders are carried over, but the lights now carry quad projector LEDs with the bottom two being the low beams, and the top two serving as high beams. Towards the back, the pickup bed is taller, and the tailgate is now made of a single-stamped piece with the words, “NAVARA” spelt out. The rear lamps are also new.

As the top-of-the-line PRO-4X, Nissan has dropped the chrome in favor of high-gloss black trim. It also gets roof rails, red lettering in the badges, and slightly more aggressive Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires. Without a doubt, it’ll help boost its off-road credentials, but it’s odd they opted to fit in the same size as the mid-trim Navara VE—255/65R17s. Still, it’s hard to fault what Nissan’s done here except perhaps for the lack of a standard bedliner. They’ve equipped a work-friendly Utili-Track system onto the bed, but given how Filipinos use their pickup trucks more as leisure than work vehicles, adding standard protective covering is a missed opportunity.

Getting in and out of the driver’s seat requires a good set of legs because there’s no grab handle there (all other doors do). Once aboard, you’ll notice that the interior remains unchanged. However, the sportier three-spoke steering and the 7-inch colored multi-info display sandwiched by the traditional gauges are welcome additions. Overall, the cabin is very car-like when it comes to ergonomics and driving position. The steering wheel only adjusts for tilt, and the seats forego any electronic adjustment, but it’s easy to get a comfy driving position. There aren’t any soft plastics in here, but fit and finish are commendable.

At the center of the dashboard is an 8-inch touchscreen display audio system. Powered by Nissan Connect, the interface doesn’t look cutting-edge, but at least it’s easy-to-use and master thanks to a plethora of physical knobs and buttons. The no-name 6-speaker system is also surprisingly good, easily beating the D-MAX’s 8-speaker system for both bass and clarity. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, but weirdly, they still seem to be stuck in right-hand configuration with the vertical Apple CarPlay menu found on the right side.

While the Navara looks new for 2021, it drives close to the way it was before. With 190 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque, it doesn’t have the biggest outputs in its class, but in practice, all this power is delivered in a linear and predictable manner. The new acoustic glass and extra sound deadening also make it feel more refined from the inside, even if the engine sounds very agricultural outside. In full attack mode, it pulls strongly with the broad torque curve its biggest asset.

Connected to the engine is a 7-speed automatic, which seems to be the optimal number of gears in the local setting. It’s smart and smooth that offers responsiveness and flexibility in equal measure. It comes with a manual shift override, but it’s so good, you won’t ever need it. The shift quality is also quick and almost imperceptible. Of note, seventh gear works as an overdrive, boosting highway mileage and cruising comfort. Stuck mostly in the city though it does a respectable 8.26 km/L at average speed of 20 km/h.

Nissan likes harping about the unique five-link coil spring suspension, and for good reason: it works. The ride quality is actually better than some mid-sized SUVs (yes, we’re looking at you, Toyota Fortuner). There’s still some shake coming from the cargo bed, but the frame itself feels sturdy, absorbing everything the road throws at it. Road bumps, cuts, ruts and even the more notorious speed ribs are reduced to nothing more than a slight nuisance.

When it comes to low-speed maneuverability, the Navara manages well. Slight lines are good all around, making this 5.2-meter pickup truck feel smaller. The steering is a bit weighty, but not overly heavy, while the turning radius remains manageable. Tackling parking jobs is also a cinch even when just using the ends of the cargo bed as basis. But for those who want a bit more security, it does have a 360-degree camera too.

Speaking about safety, the Navara, in the PRO-4X variant comes with the entire gamut. Aside from having 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, and vehicle stability control, it also has forward collision warning with automatic braking, driver attention alert, blind spot indicators, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning. They all work great, save the last three which constantly fills the cabin with bleeps and blares. Honestly, it gets tiring. Thankfully, it can be shut off completely in just two steps via the steering wheel-based menu.

Six years after it first appeared in the Philippine market, the Nissan Navara is back with a vengeance. In the eyes of pragmatic Filipino buyers, bang-for-the-buck is king, and the refreshed Navara manages to deliver it in strides. It may not be all-new from the ground up, but it doesn’t matter. The underpinnings, particularly the coil spring rear suspension still works. Top that off with a myriad of new features, a tougher new look, and a price that tops out at P 1.849 million, and you get the segment’s best all-rounder.

2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X

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Ownership 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2021)
Vehicle Classification Pickup Truck
Warranty 5 years / 150,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Pickup Truck
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Low, Locking
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 190 @ 3,600
Nm @ rpm 450 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 7AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.26 km/L @ 20 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,260
Width (mm) 1,875
Height (mm) 1,855
Wheelbase (mm) 3,150
Curb Weight (kg) 2,011
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension 5-Link, Coil Spring w/ Dual Rate Shock Absorber
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Parking Brake Manual
Tires Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 255/65 R 17 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Braking
Blindspot Warning
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Trailer Stability Assist
Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather/Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone w/ Rear Vent
Audio System Stereo
USB Type-A
USB Type-C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. I think the Navara PRO4X is gonna be selling like hotcakes because it's cheaper than it's chief rival which is the Ranger Raptor.

  2. For mass sales they should introduced an afordable automatic el, jaz lyk d previous nvra

  3. The previous model is better and the price is good for pick up.New model new price and higher.instead i buy nissan i buy fx4.


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