Utes are no longer the domain of just the farmer or tradie.

The rough and tough ute image may have been forged in the Aussie bush, the urban grind and on work sites everywhere. But you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and features to take advantage of what a modern ute has to offer.

Well-equipped premium utes are abound, offering the plushness of a passenger car combined with the practicality of a commercial vehicle, yet the bulk of them will be four-wheel-drive.

There are plenty of 4x2 utes on the Australian market yet in the image stakes they are often overshadowed by their 4x4 siblings.

In the case of the Nissan, there are 29 different Navara variants, and only a few of these are the typical 4x4 dual cab that we currently see dominating the sales charts. 

And best of all, you don’t have to buy a 4x4 to get the advantages of a dual cab ute.

Benefits of a 4x2 ute

Like most utes on the Aussie market, the Nissan Navara is available as a 2wd as well as a 4x4, and there are some compelling reasons for having a closer look at the 2-wheel drive version. 

For a start, you could save thousands buying a 4x2 variant compared to its 4x4 counterpart, and that’s without sacrificing anything in the way of performance and creature comforts. With some other brands the price gap can be even more.

From behind the wheel there’s little to differentiate the 2-wheel drive Navara from its off-roader stable mates.

In the case of the top spec Navara ST-X model, the 4x2 uses the same twin-turbo power plant as the 4x4 and puts out 140Kw of power and 450Nm of torque from just 1500rpm. Which is just as well because the 4x2 maintains the 3,500kg braked towing capacity of its 4x4 sibling.

With a lighter transmission, the 4x2 comes with the benefit of a greater payload, a tick over 80kg for that extra passenger or gear. In addition, fuel consumption for the 2-wheel drive is slightly improved by 0.2 l/100km (combined). Clearly there are savings to be had.

Benefits of a 4x4 ute

A 4x4 is more expensive for a reason, and logically, where a 4x4 shines is in an off-road setting.

The 4x4 ST-X features a rear electronic differential lock, Hill Start Assist (HSA) and a handy feature in Hill Descent Control (HDC). 

HDC keeps the ute under control on steep off-road descents by braking individual wheels when needed. This frees up the driver to focus on steering alone, offering the maximum level of control.

So which ute is best?

On the road and from behind the wheel you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.

The Nissan Navara ST-X 4x2 is a versatile machine and a smooth performer with excellent road manners both loaded and empty.

Power, ride and comfort are identical and you can roll along safe in the knowledge that you’ve saved a significant amount of money without compromising on versatility, comfort and features.

Utes are increasing becoming a second family car for those that want the practicality of a ute along with the comfort, accommodation and handling of a passenger vehicle. If versatile transport for work and play is on your shopping list then a 4x2 ute like the Nissan Navara is a worthy option.