If you've seen the all-new Nissan Frontier, you know we expect it to be a really capable adventurer. With decent specs, excellent towing capacity, and lovable price, the 2022 Nissan Frontier attracts many people who seek utility and comfort for their off-road adventures. But do you know how the Frontier came to be in the first place?

Those not well familiar with this prominent Japanese brand may have skipped the fact that Frontier is another name for Navara. The former is used in North, Central, and South America, while the latter is more common in Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Asia, Europe, and South Africa.

The Nissan Navara is an old nameplate that represents a line of pickup trucks produced from 1985. Over the years, the Navara saw three generations and is still under development. The current models are more modern and tech-oriented than their predecessors, but something of the unique Navara styling remains.

Today, we take a closer look at the rich history of the Nissan Navara pickup trucks. We'll explore the birth and the three generations that complemented the market over the years. Stay with us to learn more about this famous Japanese pickup truck lineup.

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How The Nissan Navara Was Born

The very first Nissan Navara in front of a mechanic shop.
Via: Flickr

The early beginnings of the Nissan Navara can be traced back to 1985 when the Japanese car manufacturer introduced the D21 pickup truck. The Navara D21 aimed to replace the capable but somewhat outdated Datsun 720, known also solely as Datsun.

The Nissan Navara D21 was sold in two body styles: the A (a single or dual-cab variant) and the S (king-cab variant). These two models featured different styling and were launched in diverse markets. The American D21 was wider than the others.

Essentially, the D21 was a more car-like pickup truck that had four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and made around 85 horsepower, respectively. The first formal generation of the Nissan Navara later received more power and some design updates we'll discuss in more detail.

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The Nissan Navara Evolution Over The Years

The 2021 Nissan Navara side view.
Via: Nissan News

Now, on the photo above, you'll recognize the brand-new Nissan Navara or the Frontier. But how did this pickup truck evolve over the years into such an attractive ride? That story extends to three generations we'll explore below.

First Generation: D22 Navara

The Nissan Navara D22 first generation facelift.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

The Nissan Navara D22 was an updated version of the D21 pickup truck produced between 1997 and 2004. The new model received a refreshed nose and cabin, but the biggest news was a revised engine lineup. There were still four-cylinder options available for purchase, only this time with more power, ranging between 100 and 170 horsepower in total output.

Much to customer delight at the time, Nissan soon also introduced two V6 engines that could deliver 170 or 210 horsepower. In terms of design, the Japanese car manufacturer tried to introduce a bolder styling to spark interest in younger drivers, gradually updating its precious Navara.

In 1999, the Nissan D22 received small aesthetical updates, such as a revised front bumper and instrumental panel. The new front grille and headlights came in 2000, and the redesigned door handles arrived in 2008.

Second Generation: D40 Navara

The second generation of the Nissan Navara.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

The second generation of the already recognized Nissan Navara gained the D40 nameplate. It was introduced in 2004. This new Navara model had more noticeable design changes, featuring the new platform and larger-body styling. It also sported more power with a V6 engine as a standard option that could output around 261 horsepower. Still, it's worth mentioning the engine and styling options were quite different depending on the country of introduction.

Essentially, the Nissan Navara D40 started to look like a more robust and off-road-ready pickup truck. In 2010, the model received another facelift. Then, the new generation came in 2014.

Third Generation: D23 Navara

The 2021 Nissan Navara parked off-road.
Via: Nissan News

In 2014, Nissan revealed the third generation Navara named the D23. Sadly, the new pickup truck is unavailable in the US or Canada. It was mostly designed for Australia and the European market.

The Nissan Navara D23 offers only four-cylinder engines, but it comes equipped with many modern tech solutions and off-road features. The number of these updates increased over 2018 and 2020 when the Pro-4X trim level reached the market. Nissan ensured to enrich the Navara D23 with top-notch technology and safety features. Unfortunately, this model didn't come to the US either.

The new Frontier, though, can be perceived as the next generation Navara for the US market, as these two nameplates have the same origin. According to the latest research we've done on the topic, the Nissan Frontier is a lovable off-road adventurer many would like to own. So, the evolution of the Nissan Navara probably won't end with the third generation.

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