Nissan Navara ute hit hardest by five-star safety expiry

The Nissan Navara ute is expected to be the vehicle most affected by the expiry of a five-star safety rating at the end of this year – because it will remain on sale for at least two years ‘unrated’ until a new model arrives.

The Nissan Navara ute will likely need to soldier-on for at least two years without a safety rating once its current five-star score expires at the end of this year.

While the Nissan Navara is one of about a dozen vehicles due to have their safety ratings expire at the end of 2022, most affected vehicles are being replaced by all-new models within six to 12 months of passing the deadline.

The Volkswagen Amarok ute – which has a five-star safety score from 2011 – is due to be replaced by the new Ford Ranger-based model in early 2023.

The Toyota Prado four-wheel-drive wagon – which has a five-star score from 2011 after going on sale in 2009 – is expected to be replaced by an all-new model in the second half of 2023.

And the Mitsubishi Triton ute – which has a five-star score from 2015 (the same year as the current Nissan Navara rating) – is estimated to be replaced by an all-new model in the second half of next year.

However, given the “leader/follower” strategy in the new partnership between Mitsubishi and Nissan, an all-new Nissan Navara is likely not due until 2024 or 2025.

It means the Nissan Navara will be the vehicle most impacted by the introduction of six-year expiry dates on safety ratings issued by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

As with other affected vehicles, the five-star safety rating awarded to the Nissan Navara in 2015 will not be stripped, rather the score will appear under the “previous models” section of the ANCAP website from the end of this year.

Confusingly, however, a Nissan Navara with a 2022 build date will likely have the same safety aids and crash protection as a Nissan Navara with a 2023 build date – but the policies of some government and fleet departments may preclude 2023 Nissan Navara utes from being purchased, or allowed on certain work sites.

Most cars on sale in Australia are not affected by the expiry of safety ratings because, on average, each vehicle is replaced by an all-new model every six years or so.

However, utes and vans typically have longer lifecycles of up to 10 years or more – and the Nissan Navara has just passed the middle of its model cycle.

This means it is not financially viable for Nissan to make significant engineering changes – and retest the current generation Navara – when such costs cannot be recouped over a relatively short period of time.

Although ANCAP does not have the authority to ban or approve vehicles for sale in Australia, the not-for-profit program – funded by state and territory governments – has become the default car safety benchmark.

As Drive has previously reported, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) will introduce six-year expiry dates from the end of this year, in response to criticism that outdated car safety ratings were being compared to more recent scores – tested against much tougher criteria.

A statement from Nissan Australia to Drive said: “Nissan Australia has no current plans to re-test the Navara.

“The Nissan Navara provides a wide range of safety as standard, and is currently rated five-stars for safety by ANCAP.

“With seven airbags, fatigue-focussed driver (monitoring), forward collision warning – in addition to an intelligent emergency braking system – the Navara is equipped with features and aids that prioritise the safety of all occupants.

“Whilst ANCAP is choosing to change the safety rating for Navara to ‘unrated’ in January 2023, this current suite of safety will remain for Navara buyers.”

Nissan Australia declined to comment on future model plans – or when the next-generation Nissan Navara is due in local showrooms.

However, Drive understands the new Nissan Navara will follow 12 to 18 months after the next-generation Mitsubishi Triton – which is due in the second half of 2022, according to initial estimates based on recent spy photos showing early-build prototypes.

MORE: Mitsubishi Triton to remain on sale after safety rating expiry
MORE: Toyota Prado to remain on sale after safety rating expiry
MORE: VW Passat to remain on sale after safety rating expiry
MORE: Spy photos of next Mitsubishi Triton

MORE: Six-year expiry on safety ratings explained

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