What is it?
The halo of the updated Nissan Navara line-up. Sitting atop the regular range of Navara models (aside from the locally-developed Warrior), the PRO-4X has been designed to add some style and excitement to its now seven-year-old ute.
The PRO-4X gets a raft of styling upgrades, both to make it look tougher on the outside but also more comfortable on the inside, as well as all-terrain tyres.
It’s designed not to challenge the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor and Volkswagen Amarok W580X (that’s a job for the Warrior), but instead this is a premium ute targeting the likes of the Ranger Wildtrak, Toyota HiLux SR5 and Mazda BT-50 GT.
Does it have any racing pedigree?
While the package is primarily cosmetic, the PRO-4X name comes from Nissan’s US operations where it’s applied to the likes of the Titan and Frontier to cash-in on the brand’s off-road racing heritage.
Nissan was an active participant in desert and short-course off-road racing in the US in the 1980s, which played a major role in establishing its utes as rivals to the likes of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.
What’s under the bonnet?
The PRO-4X is powered by the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel as the majority of the Navara range. It makes a solid 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
The engine is paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission; we tested the auto. The PRO-4X comes standard with four-wheel drive, with selectable high- and low-range modes as the twist of a dial.
While it’s not a class-leader in terms of performance, the Navara’s twin-turbo diesel does an admirable job. Peak torque is available between 1500-2500rpm, so after some initial lag it gets to its sweet spot quite low in the rev range.
Nissan claims the PRO-4X has a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg, so while it may look flash it’s no show pony.
How does it handle?
Once again the Navara proves competitive without being class-leading, in what has become a key battleground market for so many brands. That’s not to be unexpected given this D23-generation Navara first launched back in 2015, so it’s getting old even by the extended life of utes.
It’s still a perfectly fine ute to live with though, but if you’re expecting the kind of SUV-like ride and handling the best-in-segment provide, you’ll be disappointed. The steering is relatively direct but is heavy and lacks feeling.
Despite Nissan’s decision to put car-like coil springs on the rear suspension instead of the typical heavy-duty leaf springs of most rivals, the ride is still quite firm and choppy. Especially when unladen, the back end tends to bounce around on any uneven surface.
Where would you most like to drive it?
I’d love to see how the Navara PRO-4X handles itself off-road, as unfortunately our test drive was limited to the urban jungle (as that’s where most high-end dual-cab utes tend to spend the majority of their time these days).
Getting it dirty driving through mud and rivers seems like the kind of environment the PRO-4X was designed to thrive in.
What’s the interior like?
To be blunt, despite the PRO-4X-specific upgrades, the Navara is starting to show its age. Even putting aside the impending arrival of the very modern new-generation Ford Ranger, the Navara’s cabin is dominated by hard plastics and minimal technology.
The infotainment system runs through an 8.0-inch screen and while it’s very user-friendly (with large buttons along each side) the graphics are rudimentary, which only adds to the feeling of it being dated.
One the plus side the PRO-4X gets unique leather-accented seats which look sharp and are embroidered with ‘PRO-4X’ logos.
Space is another positive, with a relatively roomy back seat which means the Navara can play the role of family transport if needed.
How much does it cost?
The Navara PRO-4X starts at $58,130 (plus on-road costs) for the manual, with the automatic adding $1500.
That lines up against the Ranger Wildtrak ($62,390), HiLux SR5 (from $58,680) and BT-50 GT (from $56,990).
Would I buy one?
While the Navara may be starting to show its age, Nissan’s introduction of the PRO-4X is a savvy move that freshens its appeal.
It’s a tough-looking ute and that will appeal to those who want something rugged but practical and stylish. Personally, I’m more excited by the prospect of the PRO-4X Warrior – which has similar style but adds more capability to the mix.
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X price and specifications
|From $69,990 plus on-road costs
|2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
|140kW at 3750rpm
|450Nm at 1500-2500rpm
|Seven-speed manual, four-wheel drive