Nissan Navara Black Edition muscles up for the family
WESLEY Snipes once delivered the line: "Do you ever play roulette? Well, let me give you a word of advice: always bet on black.”
Passenger 57 may not go down as one of the greatest movies every produced, but the Nissan Navara N-Sport Black Edition has the hallmarks of a blockbuster.
The limited edition dual cab ute features a selection of slick additions which delivers tougher looks and greater presence from $54,490 plus on-roads.
Four-door utes are firing in Australia and the Black Edition is designed to bolster the Navara's appeal when compared to stiff opposition in the Toyota Hi-Lux, Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu Ute D-Max.
The HiLux was the nation's biggest selling vehicle last year, and it's on track to achieve the feat again.
Close behind is the Ranger, while V6 power added to the Amarok has also put the Volkswagen into the frame.
But it's not only tradies driving the interest. Dealerships report an increasing spread of families ditching SUVs, sedans and smaller cars in favour of the five-seaters with a mighty big boot.
The Navara has some fancy credentials too...Mercedes-Benz is sharing its platform for the upcoming X-Class. Consider this the bargain Benz.
So, can a family really live with a ute? We've taken delivery of the Navara for a long-term loan to give it a real-world evaluation with the beautiful bride and two burly boys.
Our test machine starts from $56,990 plus on roads as it's partnered to a seven-speed automatic. Manuals are $2500 less expensive.
Spotting the Black Edition is simple courtesy of the side decals, along with the black sports bar and a black nudge bar, along with a LED light bar, as well as the black fender flares that arch around the 18-inch black alloy wheels.
Burgeoning on brash but with a tasteful edge, there is also a black gloss honeycomb grille and smoky chrome fog lamp finishers, black soft tonneau cover and N-Sport badges.
That is added to the usual range-topping gear, including a seven-inch colour touch screen, satellite navigation with 3D mapping, reverse camera and rear sensors, leather trim, dual zone air con and it even has a full-size alloy spare.
It does miss out on smartphone mirroring apps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you still have full bluetooth audio and phone streaming.
Capped price servicing is $1864 over three years/60,000km, with the intervals 12 months or 20,000km, inclusions are the annual check, lubricants, filters, plugs and labour.
Once the most powerful in its class, the Navara downsized from a V6 diesel during 2015 in favour of a 2.3-litre intercooled twin-turbo diesel engine that generates 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
You can shift between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive modes (with high and low range) on-the-fly via a console button.
Despite being slightly down on grunt compared to the rivals, the Navara still has 3500kg braked towing capacity (gross combined mass of 5910kg), and a payload of 941kg.
Where it excels is fuel consumption, with an official average of 7.0 litres for every 100km. Our initial driving has seen it achieve slightly above eight with a mixture of highway and around-town duties.
Five-link rear suspension means the ride is vastly improved on the pre-2015 models and it certainly performs more car-like. On the highway it feels smooth and quiet...although the diesel can be noisy when running cold.
This is also a Series 2 which gets stiffer springs with heavier duty dampers and revised bump stops. The initial models tended to sag under heavy load.
We'll put its towing ability to the test in coming weeks.
ANCAP testing shows the Navara scored 35.01 out of 37, which outranks Holden Colorado (34.89), Volkswagen Amarok (32.99), Isuzu D-Max (33.58) and Toyota HiLux (34.45), but behind the Mazda BT-50 (35.72), Mitsubishi Triton (36.22), Ford Ranger (36.72) and the new Chinese LDV T60 (35.46).
It comes with airbags for the driver and passenger along with the driver's knees, while those in the back are looked after with a front to rear curtain airbag, along with aids including vehicle dynamic control with brake limited slip differential, active brake limited slip, brake assist, hill start assist and hill descent control.
Within the tray is a two-channel track system for moveable tie-down points.
After a few days the Navara has survived the initial phases of family life.
Both boys are loving the ride height and rugged looks, although it has proven a challenge on occasions with three-point turns requiring plenty of arm twirling instead of U-bolts, while it could also be a battle to park it at the bride's undercover work carpark which is tight at the best of times.
Already there are plans for extended weekend activities and we're sure to find the trade-offs between the dual cab over a standard SUV or hatch.
AT A GLANCE
Nissan Navara N-Sport Black Edition
PRICE $56,990 + on roads (expensive but lots of kit)
WARRANTY AND SERVICING 3yr 100,000km warranty, $1864 servicing 3yrs (good)
ENGINE 2.3-litre 4cyl twin turbo 7sp auto 4WD (honest)
SAFETY 5-star, 7 airbags, vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist, brake limited slip differential (high safety rating)
THIRST 7.0L/100km (excellent)
SPARE Full size alloy (perfect)
PAYLOAD of 941kg towing 3500kg (good)