The Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-MAX got notable upgrades this year. Respectively, the Navara had a mild refresh while the D-MAX already transitioned to an all-new model. Both midsize pickups have become stronger contenders in their segment, but if we are to compare the two, then which model will stack up? That said, we shall be comparing them in their range-topping forms, specifically the Nissan Navara PRO-4X AT 4x4 and the Isuzu D-MAX 3.0 4x4 LS-E AT. By the end of this head-to-head battle, we shall see which midsize pickup will come on top.
Both exteriors look rugged and are ready to take on any obstacle ahead. Upfront, both the Navara PRO-4X and D-MAX 4x4 LS-E feature LED lighting for both headlights and fog lamps. As for the grille, the Isuzu features a large design accentuated with black and gray details. The PRO-4X, on the other hand, gets a blacked-out grille along with a special Nissan emblem designed with some orange details.
Both have body cladding, with the D-MAX having a shinier material while the Navara sports matte black plastic with orange accents. Step boards and blinkers on each side mirror are also standard. As for the shoes, the Navara PRO-4X comes with a set of gloss black 17-inch alloys wrapped in 255/65 tires. The D-MAX 4x4 LS-E, on the other hand, features a set of dark gray 18-inch wheels wrapped in 265/60 tires.
As for the rear, both midsize pickups feature a new set of taillights and bumpers. In terms of payload capacity, the Nissan Navara has 1,100 kg which is quite impressive for a pickup truck that comes with rear multi-link coil springs. The Isuzu D-MAX, on the other hand, is slightly lower at 1,065 kg.
In terms of exterior dimensions, the D-MAX is longer and wider than the Navara PRO-4X, while the Nissan is slightly taller and has a longer wheelbase than the Isuzu. For reference, the Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 LS-E is 5,277 mm long, 1,880 mm wide, 1,810 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 3,125 mm. As for the Navara PRO-4X, it’s 5,260 mm long, 1,875 mm wide, 1,855 tall, and it has a wheelbase of 3,150 mm. Both models also ride high on the road, with the D-MAX LS-E having 240 mm of ground clearance while the Navara PRO-4X sits a bit lower at 220 mm.
We did find the Navara PRO-4X to be the better-looking pickup plus, it even has a greater payload capacity. The D-MAX, on the other hand, has a higher ground clearance and comes standard with a truck bed liner, something that’s not initially available on the Navara from the dealership. It’s a very close battle between the two, so given the equal lapses between both pickup trucks, we shall end this round with a tie mark.
Interior and technology
Both interiors feel durable and well put together, though we’d have to give props to Isuzu for giving the D-MAX a better dashboard, as the found one found the Navara seems a bit plain jane. Space is also good on both vehicles, plus, there are a good amount of storage spaces and cup holders inside. The leather on the D-MAX is admirable given its plushness while the Nissan’s greatest asset is its NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats that allow great comfort, be it on short distances or longer journeys.
In terms of features, the two midsize pickups come with infotainment systems, namely a 10.1-inch screen for the Isuzu and an 8-inch display for the Nissan. Both head units support various multimedia functions such as AM/FM, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The D-MAX 4x4 LS-E comes with an 8-speaker audio system while the Navara PRO-4X has 6 speakers.
Other standard convenience features on both midsize pickups include dual-zone climate control, a multi-information display at the center of the gauges, push-start button along with smart keyless entry, power-adjustable seats, steering wheel mounted audio controls, rear air vents, USB charging ports, and many more. Also, the two range-topping trims feature a suite of advanced driver-assist features. While the D-MAX only features a standard reversing camera with parking sensors, the Navara PRO-4X is equipped with a 360-degree camera for easier maneuvering.
Both pickups have well-equipped cabins. While, the Nissan gets a bit more clever all thanks to its 360-degree camera which is very useful when parking and even going through tight spaces, plus, those Zero Gravity seats that do sweeten the deal, we still can’t help but appreciate the Isuzu D-MAX’s plusher and better appointed cabin. The overall ambiance is just better when compared to the Nissan given the use of better materials. With that, the overall winner of this round is the D-MAX.
WINNER: Isuzu D-MAX
Ride and comfort
Compared to its predecessor, the all-new Isuzu D-MAX does have better ride quality, however, NVH is just about average, given that road and engine noise would sometimes creep into the cabin. The Nissan Navara, on the other hand, is still hailed for having the best ride and comfort in its class all thanks to its rear multi-link coil spring suspension. In terms of NVH, wind noise and road noise were kept to a minimum. It can get noisy sometimes but it's easily penetrated with some music. Moreover, tire noise is also prevalent given that it comes with a terrain set. Given its more comfortable ride and better-insulated cabin, the Nissan Navara once again wins this round.
WINNER: Nissan Navara
Both pickups feature a 4x4 drivetrain, the Nissan Navara PRO-4X is powered by a tried and tested 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine that’s also shared with the Terra. Its power mill churns out 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque mated to a 7-speed automatic. The Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 LS-E, on the other hand, is powered by the brand’s 3.0-liter Blue Power turbo diesel engine. Like the Navara’s motor, this larger motor also produces 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque. However, the Nissan’s transmission has more gears to shift on when compared to the Isuzu’s 6-speed automatic gearbox. With that said, the Navara claims the crown for this round, but just by a gear.
WINNER: Nissan Navara
Standard safety and security equipment on both vehicles include Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), stability control, traction hill-start assist, hill-descent control, and ISOFIX child seat anchors. The Navara gets 6 airbags while the D-MAX gets 7. As mentioned, both models also feature a range of advanced driver-assist features, with the two midsize pickups having forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring system, lane departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alert.
There are some exclusive features found on each vehicle, like for instance, the 360-degree camera system and off-road monitor is only available on the Navara, while front and rear parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking is only available on the D-MAX LS-E. Both are rich in terms of safety, and it’s another close battle between the two models in this round. But the D-MAX stands stronger in this category, with it having an extra set of airbags to having an autonomous emergency braking at a more affordable price point.
WINNER: Isuzu D-MAX
Now, in terms of pricing, the Isuzu D-MAX LS-E is slightly priced more than the Nissan Navara, with it retailing at P1,825,000, while the Navara PRO-4X sits below at P1,746,000. Both midsize pickups are well-equipped, though the lower SRP of the Navara PRO-4X could attract more prospective buyers.
WINNER: Nissan Navara
This was indeed a tough battle between the two pickups given that the Navara and D-MAX are cleverly packaged. Without a doubt, you really can’t go wrong with any of these Japanese contenders, aside from the brands’ strong reputation for reliability, each model was also built with a range of convenience and tech features for a more engaging driving experience.
After thoroughly assessing both midsize pickups, the battle has ended with the Nissan Navara winning the majority of the categories listed above. The more affordable midsize pickup shall remain a winning choice in its segment, aside from its superb ride and comfort, it is also capable of conquering terrains and other unexpected obstacles all thanks to its rugged approach, the inclusion of a 4x4 drivetrain, and its tried and tested 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine. Don't get us wrong the Isuzu D-MAX is still worthy of your hard-earned cash despite being placed at second. Truly, it has set a benchmark for its wide range of safety features along with a more pleasing cabin layout making this all-new model a competitive player in this comparison.