Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) recently threw the covers off the updated Nissan Navara pick-up truck in Sabah. However, only two double-cab variants were deemed popular enough to receive the upgrades, and the chosen ones are the Navara 4WD A/T LE and the 4WD M/T SE versions. This leaves the 4WD M/T Standard, 2WD A/T Calibre and the Navara King Cab 4WD M/T Standard to be updated in the future.

The front bumper kicks things off with a more angular design, especially where the fog lamps are housed. The lower intake also looks to have been cleaned up a little, now looking more at home around town than in the jungle. And it does pair well with the new grille – now with chromed vertical slats instead of the old mesh-like design. No longer running with five-spoke wheels, the new alloys features multiple spokes with a two-tone finish wrapped with 255/70 R16 tyres.

Hop inside and you’ll definitely notice the six-inch infotainment touch-screen navigator unit. It plays DVD, and supports Bluetooth and USB. The screen also doubles up as a display for the reverse camera. As its name suggest, there is GPS built into the unit that works well in the city but not so much in the dense jungle. It’s not so much of the lack of signal reception – the arrow on screen points to the direction the truck’s heading – but the lack of a proper mapped-out jungle route.

Nissan Navara 12

The above updates are applied to both variants, but there are diffrences. The LE has the JPJ-compliant xenon with manual levelling headlamps versus halogens in the SE. The automatic LE also gets leather seats, an auto dimming rear view mirror, six speakers, silver-finished centre console and door switch panel, glove box lock and chrome door mirrors. The SE gets fabric seats, four speakers and body coloured door mirrors.

The rest of the truck remains the same, right down to its double-layered high-tensile steel frame. There are no changes to the 2.5 litre YD25DDTi diesel, it still produces 174 PS at 4,000 rpm and 403 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The automatic is a five-speed unit, while the manual is a six-speeder. The Navara’s ‘Shift-on-the-Fly’ 4WD gives you more control of the power that gets sent to the wheels as well as the number of wheels that move the truck. You have the choice of 2H, 4H and 4LO.

It isn’t the most complicated off-roading system, but it has proven to be just as effective now, as it was then, when I took it for a short crash through the jungle region that fringed Kota Kinabalu. The truck’s tyres did slip on a few occasions, especially when the terrain got slippery, but quickly regained traction when the right drive mode was summoned. With that said, the tyres were not bona fide off-road rubber, hence the low grip.

Nissan Navara 02

In other cases, where the terrain offered more traction, the Navara can get around with surprising quickness. So, power and torque of the 2.5 litre diesel isn’t something to bemoan. My leg of the convoy did not include driving on tarmac, although our pixman Sherman, who drove most on the road, said that it took more steering to turn the Navara and its suspension is set on the softer side compared to the Ford Ranger.

Still, this isn’t a test drive report; far from it. We hope to test the refreshed Navara over a longer period to be sure of its capabilities.

The updated Nissan Navara is available in four colours – Tungsten Silver, Brilliant White, Twilight Grey and Diamond Black. Now available for booking, the on-the-road price for the 4WD M/T SE is RM94,834, while the higher-spec 4WD A/T LE will cost you RM105,834.