Nissan used the Navara marque for the D22, D40, and D23 series of 2-door and 4-door pickup trucks built by Nissan from 1997 to the present. The Navara name derives from the Navarre region of Northern Spain.
Interestingly, the Australian market has started using the Navara nameplate ten years before the official production run of Nissan Navara. It turns out that Australia branded the D21 series of the Datsun Truck (Nissan Datsun), produced from 1985 to 1997, as the Nissan Navara. Elsewhere, the D21 is a different model from Navara and considered as its predecessor.
All four generations are called the Nissan Navara in Australia, but in many markets, they arrive as the Nissan Frontier, Nissan NP300, Nissan Datsun, Nissan Fiera, Nissan Hardbody, and Nissan PickUp, and among its many names.
D21 Series (1985-1997)
The D21 is a compact pickup truck that succeeded the Nissan 720 (last series of the Datsun Truck). It was available in both FR and F4 layout. There were two body styles in this generation – the Japan-designed “A” body and the US-designed “S” body King Cab or Hardbody. The Hardbody would become the basis for the first-generation Nissan Pathfinder.
The A and S versions slightly differed in the exterior; the S type was styled with a different hood and wider front guards. The 'Hardbody’ monicker in the US refers to its double-wall bed and overall look. Trims varied from market to market. In Australia, for instance, the D21 utes were introduced in 1986 in three different engines, RWD and 4WD options, and the following trim levels:
- Base model – 2 doors/3 seats; 2.5-litre TD25 I4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Base model – 2 doors/3 seats; 2.0-litre NA20 I4 petrol engine (66 kW, 147 Nm), 4-speed manual gearbox
- DX, RWD – 4 doors/5 seats; 2.5-litre TD25 I4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- DX, 4WD – 2 doors/3 seats; 2.5-litre TD25 I4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- DX, 4WD – 4 doors/5 seats; 2.5-litre TD25 I4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Sports, RWD – 2 doors/2 seats; 2.4-litre Z24i I4 petrol engine (74kW, 177 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox; standard equipment includes power steering
- Sports, 4WD – 2 doors/2 seats; 2.4-litre Z24i I4 petrol engine (74kW, 177 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox; standard equipment includes power steering
- ST, RWD – 4 doors/5 seats; 2.4-litre Z24i I4 petrol engine (74kW, 177 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox; standard equipment includes power steering
- ST, 4WD – 4 doors/5 seats; 2.4-litre Z24i I4 petrol engine (74kW, 177 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox; standard equipment includes power steering
In 1988, the D21 gained a 4-speed automatic transmission option for most of the trim levels. The range also welcomed a new engine for the DX 4WD trims, a 2.7-litre TD27 I4 diesel unit (58 kW, 173 Nm) available in both manual and automatic transmission.
The trims were offered with basic standard equipment, but value packages could be optioned, including air conditioning, airbags, alloy wheels, power mirrors, power windows, and many more. Later into the generation, a limited-slip differential, and power steering were added as standard for the base model.
The range-topping Ti trim was introduced in 1992, powered by a 3.0-litre VG30E V6 petrol engine (113 kW, 248 Nm), available in 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual gearbox. It featured four doors and five seats, central locking, power windows, radio cassette, and a sunroof as standard equipment.
D22 Series (1997-2004)
Nissan produced the D22 compact pickup truck from 1997 to 2004. In Australia, it was released as Series 1 (1997-2001) and Series 2 (2001-2004). Three engines were available for the D22 series, offered in these trim levels:
- STD, base model – 2 doors/3 seats; 2.4-litre KA24E inline-4 petrol (93 kW, 198 Nm), 5-speed manual
- STD, 4WD – 2 doors/3 seats; 3.2-litre QD323 inline-4 diesel (76 kW, 220 Nm), 5-speed manual; featured power steering
- DX, base model – 2 doors/3 seats; 2.7-litre inline-4 diesel (64 kW, 180 Nm), 5-speed manual; featured power steering as standard
- DX, 4WD - 2 doors/3 seats; 3.2-litre QD323 inline-4 diesel (76 kW, 220 Nm), 5-speed manual; featured power steering and a limited-slip differential as standard
- ST – 4 doors/5 seats; 2.4-litre KA24E inline-4 petrol (93 kW, 198 Nm), 5-speed manual; featured power steering, central locking, power windows, and radio cassette with two speakers
- ST, 4WD – 4 doors/5 seats; 3.2-litre QD323 inline-4 diesel (76 kW, 220 Nm), 5-speed manual; featured power steering, central locking, power windows, radio cassette with two speakers, and a limited-slip differential
The STD or Standard model had black plastic bumpers, hood scoop, grille, 14-inch steel wheels, and manual windows. The DX is similar to the STD in appearance but has a taller roofline and narrower load bed.
In 1999, the 2.4-litre KA24E was replaced by a 2.4-litre KA24DE (110 kW, 208 Nm) petrol engine for the STD and ST rear-wheel-drive trims.
In 2000, yet another engine was added to the range, a 3.0-litre VG30E V6 petrol unit (120 kW, 248 Nm), and a 4-speed automatic transmission also became available for some trims.
The Series 2 in 2001 introduced the exceptionally-reliable ZD30 turbocharged diesel engine and brought along changes to the front-end. The 3.0-litre ZD30DDT inline-4 turbocharged diesel engine (110 kW, 314 Nm) powered the DX 4WD and a new trim level, the ST-R.
During this time, the base model was already equipped with engine immobiliser and power steering. The high-spec ST-R 4WD double cab added air-conditioning, tilt/telescopic-adjustable steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, central locking, cloth trim, limited-slip differential, power windows, radio CD with two speakers, and side steps.
In 2003, the ST-R trim welcomed a larger petrol engine, the 3.3-litre VG33E V6 engine (125 kW, 260 Nm), while the 3.0-litre diesel variant continued to be offered. The DX and ST-R trims (4WD with 3.0-litre turbo diesel) were sold alongside the D40 until 2015.
D40 Series (2004-present)
This generation grew in size and is now classed as a mid-size pickup. Its wheelbase increased from 2,950mm to 3,200mm and the overall length from 4,975m to 5,220mm. In 2004, it had its debut at the North American International Auto Show, featuring its redesigned body and F-Alpha-platform-based architecture. Its exterior strongly resembled Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup at the time.
In North America, the D40 is known as the Frontier, while in Europe and Australia, it is called the Navara. Other markets badged it as Nissan Equator, Navara Brute, and a couple more nameplates. The following engines and trim levels were made available in the country:
- RX, 4WD – 2.5-litre YD25DDTi Hi Power turbocharged diesel engine (128 kW, 403 Nm), mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- ST-X, 4WD – 2.5-litre YD25DDTi turbocharged diesel engine (128 kW, 403 Nm), mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- ST-X, RWD – 40-litre VQ40DE V6 petrol engine (198 kW, 385 Nm), mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- ST-X, 4WD – 40-litre VQ40DE V6 petrol engine (198 kW, 385 Nm), mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
The D40 continued to be in production after the launching of the D23 series. However, it dropped all other engines, except the V6 paired with automatic transmission. The D23 series, on the other hand, were offered solely in 4-cylinder versions.
A facelift in 2010 brought in a new V6 engine, the 3.0-litre V9X V6 turbocharged diesel unit (170 kW, 550 Nm), which was what powered a new trim model, the 4WD ST-X 550. During this time, the base model was already fully equipped with the following:
Dual front airbags, ABS, air-conditioning, central locking, engine immobiliser, limited-slip diff, power steering, power windows, radio CD with two speakers, and seatbelt pretensioners for the front seats
To this, the ST-X 550 added:
Alloy sports bar, 17-inch alloy wheels, brake assist, cruise control, CD with 6-CD stacker, central locking remote control, EBD, front fog lights, head and side front airbags, hard tonneau cover, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power mirrors, radio CD with six speakers, side steps, a trip computer, and vehicle stability control
D23 Series (2014-present)
The D23 series ran alongside the D40 from 2014 to the present. It remains as the Nissan Navara in Australia, while other markets call it the NP300, NP 300 Navara, and Mercedes-Benz X-Class (jointly-built with MB in Argentina and Spain).
This I4-only series replaced the D22 generation in 2014 while selling concurrently with the D40's V6 variants. The D23 was powered by a 2.3-litre YS23DDT inline-4 turbocharged diesel, thus the D23 designation. In Australia, the models retained the 2.5-litre YD25DDTi I4 engine, but now used the Mid-Power Common-rail version (106 kW, 356 Nm) instead of the High Power version (128 kW, 403 Nm). It powered the RX trim, both RWD and 4WD variants, all available with either 5-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual.
In 2015, the Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.3-litre YS23DDT inline-4 turbocharged diesel engine (120 kW, 403 Nm) was introduced, replacing the 2.5-litre in some of the trims (not all). The YS23DDT is coded as OM699 DE23 LA R when used in Mercedes-Benz models. It teamed up with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed automatic.
This new engine came along with new trim models, including ST N-Tec, SL, and N-Trek Warrior.
The D23 generation featured several special editions, including the RX Silverline, ST Titanium, ST-X Blackline Edition, ST N-Sport, and N-Trek (all 4WDs). The 3.0-litre V9X V6 engine continued to power up the ST-X 550 and some of the special editions until 2015. From 2016 up to the present, the D23 series has been served exclusively by the Merc-sourced 2.3-litre engine.
The Nissan Navara is one of the toughest pickup trucks out there. If you have one, it's fair to expect this smart and versatile ute to see many years ahead. With that, of course, comes proper maintenance and repair. If you need replacement parts or car professionals to ensure your Navara’s longevity and top performance, please don’t hesitate to refer to us. You can look us up at Carpart.com.au!