New Nissan Navara 2021 to skip electrification but Mitsubishi Triton-based replacement due in 2024 to include hybrid tech to rival Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux

Will electrification play a part in the Nissan Navara over the next five years?

The answer is no and yes.

No initially, because by the end of this year, the existing D23-series mid-sized pick-up truck is set to undergo a substantial visual makeover for the 2021 model year, though the platform and powertrain will most likely remain the same as it has been since the fourth-generation version touched down in 2014. This probably means 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo and twin-turbo diesel engines.

According to widespread speculation, the MY21 Navara will involve fresh sheet metal forward of the windscreen, with the aim being to toughen up the styling against larger rivals such as the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max. A preview was teased back in May after Nissan announced its NEXT 2023 business plan.

However, this facelift will be a stop-gap only exercise, since a properly all-new Navara is currently under development by the Mitsubishi Motor Corporation (MMC) under the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, with electrification said to play a big part.

So, that’s a yes… but eventually.

As we’ve outlined in other reports recently, MMC has taken lead development of the next-generation mid-sized truck that will replace the current Triton/L200 and Navara, and that is believed to include a petrol-electric powertrain.

We also understand that there will be very little visual differentiation between the two branded trucks, as the Alliance strives to save billions of dollars over the next few years.

Still on styling, the since-retired vice-president of MMC design Tsunehiro Kunimoto told CarsGuide at last year’s Tokyo Show that the next-gen pick-up has been created with a look that will appeal to Australian consumers, and thus will beef up and grow in size considerably compared to the current version.

“Mitsubishi’s truck is very important for our business in Australia, and Australia is overall a very important market for all our products,” he said. “We very much care about Australia, and had much research – extremely deep research in fact – for us to understand what is the truck customer in Australia.”

Though it does not specifically point to the final look of the next Triton, the nose of the wild Mi-Tech Concept from MMC’s 2019 Tokyo show stand might reveal where the company is heading with its future styling themes.

Meanwhile, back to this year’s coming 2021 Navara facelift, with Nissan in late May announcing the closure of the Barcelona, Spain manufacturing facility that assembles the D23 Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class, it has been suggested that at least some versions of the facelift produced in Thailand may pick up the latter’s wholesale chassis upgrades implemented by Daimler to improve the refinement, steering, handling and ride attributes.

Much going on in the ute world then, so stay tuned as more information comes to hand.