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The 2021 Nissan Navara facelift has been spotted in Malaysia. These pics were snapped on the Kesas Highway and sent in by reader Maurice Chew – they show a transporter filled with Nissan’s refreshed one-tonne pick-up truck rival to the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu D-Max.

Unveiled in November 2020, this is actually the first major overhaul in six years since the outgoing D23 Navara was introduced back in 2014. Although the pics aren’t very sharp, we know that this is the facelift thanks to the Navara script on the tailgate, plus tail lights with a C-shaped graphic. The beefier rear bumper comes with built-in steps to make getting into the bed easier.

While the silver unit on the upper deck wears a regular chrome Nissan badge, the black unit on the lower deck has a black badge with the Nissan script in red. This is a sign that it’s the new Pro-4X grade, which has a host of aesthetic upgrades including wheel arch extensions; blacked-out badging, trim and parts with red accents; and black wheels with all-terrain tyres, among other things. Think of this more macho top trim as the Hilux Rogue or Ranger Wildtrak.

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We can’t see the front here, but this facelift is inspired by the latest full-size Nissan Titan, and it has a big “interlock” grille with Navara spelled out at the top. There are also new cube-like, quad-projector LED headlights and C-shaped daytime running lights. The front bumper has a cross-shaped design, and there’s a large skid plate with prominent tow hook covers, which are in red on the Pro-4X. The bonnet is taller and has a centre bulge.

Under that bulge is the more advanced 2.3 litre turbodiesel engine that can be found in the Terra SUV, which is Nissan’s version of the Toyota Fortuner. Thailand gets this YS23 unit, which replaces the YD25DDTi 2.5 litre in the outgoing truck. In single-turbo YS23DDT form, the 2.3L with a six-speed manual does 163 PS and 403 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm.

A seven-speed automatic is paired to the twin-turbo YS23DDTT with 190 PS and 450 Nm of twist. As comparison, the Hilux’s 2.8L makes 204 PS/500 Nm, while the Ranger Wildtrak’s 2.0L Bi-Turbo is good for 213 PS and 500 Nm. The old YS25 is also available in Thai King Cab variants. Which engine will Malaysia get?

There’s less change inside, with improvements limited to kit updates. In other markets, there’s a new NissanConnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and either a seven- or eight-inch touchscreen, as well more USB ports (including a USB-C one in front) and added sound insulation.

Available equipment include a larger seven-inch multi-info display, acoustic windscreen and front side windows, rain-sensing wipers, auto-folding door mirrors, speed-sensing door locks and a 360-degree camera. The double-cab gets reshaped rear seats with a centre armrest hiding cupholders.

Safety has also been improved, with the Navara now having autonomous emergency braking and driver attention alert as available kit. In Thailand, the Pro-4X throws in additional features such as lane departure warning with braking intervention and blind spot monitoring. Suspension-wise, Thai Navaras come with rear leaf springs to comply with requirements for commercial vehicle taxes, but other markets should continue with coil springs for better comfort.

What do you think of the Navara facelift’s bold new fascia and the Pro-4X variant?

GALLERY: 2021 Nissan Navara facelift