No longer able to claim the coveted ‘most powerful in class’ tag for the Navara, Nissan has instead grabbed best-in-class fuel efficiency and power-to-weight ratio for its new NP300 Navara ute.
Its abilities on and off road impressed and, thanks in large part to its tough looks and generous size, it went on to be a sales success for Nissan NZ, selling 11,676 units between November 2005 and March 2015, second only to the Toyota Hilux in the ute segment for most of that time.
The D40 is in its ‘run-out’ phase now – the new Navara is due here in June – so that tally will no doubt increase as buyers take advantage of sharp deals on D40s (for example, the ST 4WD double cab is down from $52,790 to $35,990).
So will such buyers be getting a truck that remains competitive in a ute market much more crowded than it was in 2005?
Rural News spent a week with a 2WD D40 to have one last look. It still looks great, there’s no denying – proof that strong and simple design stands up over time.
The 2.5L turbo diesel engine in the 4WD was the most powerful engine in its class in 2005, and until the ST-X 550 V6 Navara is dropped in June (Nissan is discontinuing the fantastic Renault-sourced V6) Nissan still has the bragging rights. However, the 2.5L engine’s 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque have been eclipsed recently by other brands.
It is more than enough though, even in 2WD guise where you get 120kW and 403Nm.
Carrying capacity of 943kg (2WD) and 873kg (4WD) and towing capacity of two tonnes (2WD) and three tonnes (4WD) are still competitive, the tray and double cab were always generous, and Rural News saw respectable fuel efficiency of about 9.0L/100km. On paper then, the old D40 can still cut it.
On the road, it is comfortable and handles well, although a side-by-side comparison with a new Ranger or Amarok (or the new Navara) would reveal slower steering and a bit more shudder and shake over rough bits of road or track. Given the age difference between the D40 and those trucks though, the difference is not huge; the D40 really did advance the ute category in 2005.
And equipment levels, at least in the ST-X we drove, include most of the kit a buyer in 2015 would expect. Nissan has upgraded the truck a couple of times since 2005.
Nissan is doing the usual juggling act of running out the current model to make room for the new. Finance terms of 1.9% for 48 months and hefty discounts off normal retail pricing make the outgoing D40 Navara a great buy.