WHENEVER discussions are had about the perfect one car garage it doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn to unobtainable cars. Lately though, the humble utility has entered the fray, with pickups like the 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X front and centre.
The ute was born from necessity, with farmers needing to carry around hay and livestock for example. It meant original utility vehicles were extremely basic and agricultural by nature. Hardly something that sits in the perfect one car garage.
Fast forward to the first time you lay eyes on the Nissan Navara PRO-4X and the words ‘basic’ and ‘agricultural’ are immediately removed from your mind. Nissan has gone all out to make sure it looks sporty and capable.
Flared wheel arches, black accents, Stealth Grey paint, and lashings of red in the logo and around the body ensure you know you are dealing with some serious metal.
The black sports bar matched with the black 17-inch wheels, shod in Yokohama Geolandar All Terrain tyres, gives you the sense that the PRO-4X is not just a show pony, it’s happy to get dirty too.
As you climb into the cabin of the Nissan, it’s immediately obvious how well equipped this ute is. Leather seats, complete with bold PRO-4X logos, are comfortable to sit in even over longer distances, though the lack of seat heating is noticed.
Rear legroom is reasonable, especially if you are going to ferry children or teenagers around, and thanks to two ISOFIX points, the whole family is catered for. The gauge cluster is well laid out with all the important information, easy to read.
An 8.0-inch infotainment screen fills the centre of the dash perfectly. It is bright, vivid, and extremely easy to navigate. The front USB port provides support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The screen remains responsive to touch inputs while moving, which makes scrolling through podcasts or phone functions a breeze. We did notice the screen could become laggy at times, but it was quite random, so we’re not sure of the cause.
The speakers in the PRO-4X are not an audiophile’s dream though, but do an adequate job of filling the cabin, without feeling as though you have to crank the volume all the way up just to hear your tunes. Phone calls come through crystal clear as well.
The steering wheel is upholstered beautifully and could be at home in a much higher priced car. Navigating through cruise control or radio controls is simple and intuitive, meaning you don’t need to take your eyes off the road.
There is a noticeable lack of adjustment though as you cannot move the steering wheel closer to you, only up and down. Interior storage is covered off by a deep storage bin between the front seats, complete with 12v socket, USB-A and USB-C ports.
Generously sized door bins all round will hold a larger water bottle with space to spare, plus there is a sizeable glove box up front. The rear seats can be folded up and attach via a loop to open up slightly more floor space. The rear occupants have their own USB port.
If you’re still reading, so far the Navara PRO-4X has ticked the space, comfort, and style boxes while parked up, but whether it can continue to impress out on the open road is the question begging to be answered.
Powered by a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder twin turbo diesel engine, mated to your choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox, the 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque is put to the ground via the rear wheels.
There’s the option to engage four-wheel drive in high and low range modes as well, and the rear diff can also be locked for more adventurous situations. Moving off the line and pottering around inner-city streets is somewhat disappointing.
The available torque struggles to overcome the PRO-4X’s heft, which results in the driver needing to apply much more throttle than expected. Once in motion though, the PRO-4X moves along comfortably.
The seven-speed automatic gearbox, as tested, never feels out of place and does a fantastic job of swapping gears in the background, smoothly and without fuss. There is a drive mode switch to access Standard, Sport and Off-Road drive modes.
We found putting the PRO-4X into Sport mode just unnecessarily held gears for longer, rather than providing a performance improvement. One aspect that impressed us though is how well the PRO-4X deals with road noise.
There is no noticeable tyre roar present in the cabin, despite being fitted with All Terrain tyres. Wind noise is at a bare minimum and overall the cabin is surprisingly quiet, especially out on the highway.
Granted you do hear the engine working away more noticeably when going uphill but it’s not bad or intrusive. During testing, we saw fuel economy as low as 6.0-litres/100km on the open road, with 8.4-litres our best in the city.
The Navara PRO-4X rides superbly out on the highway, with the vast majority of road imperfections being ironed out nicely. Even on more coarse, and uneven, surfaces the suspension does a fantastic job of keeping everything in check.
Unfortunately, the steering cannot be spoken of so fondly. While the steering wheel may be nice to hold, it really has no noticeable connection to the front wheels.
Steering is light, which is useful for moving around town and in car parks, but at no stage will you ever know exactly what is going on up front. Showing the PRO-4X a sweeping bend at swift pace truly highlights the disconnect between your hands and the road.
Visibility is a real strength of the PRO-4X though. It feels like everywhere you look there is a window for you to see out of. Couple that with the large wing mirrors and you have a great sense of your surroundings.
The Navara comes equipped with reversing sensors, a 360-degree camera and blind spot monitoring for added ease of mind. Speaking of tech, in addition to what we’ve already mentioned, there’s autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning.
You’ll also find lane keep assist, trailer sway control, auto wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, hill descent control, and LED headlights.
Putting the 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X forward as a one car garage vehicle may be stretching the friendship a little, however, there’s no denying that it’s a fantastic option for those wanting to be comfortable on road and have the option to venture off it.
The PRO-4X has the tough stuff covered with its towing and carrying capabilities, its four-wheel drive mode, All Terrain tyres, and hill descent control. It has the family stuff covered with its ample storage, respectable room, safety features and tech on board.
And it has the driving stuff covered with a compliant ride and road manners that make driving the 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X a pleasure.
Our 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X was provided by Nissan Australia. To find out more information, contact your local Nissan dealer.