This is the latest Nissan Navara – or Nissan NP300 Navara to give it its full name. It’s the latest in a flurry of new pickups, designed to appeal as a family runaround without losing any of its credibility as a serious workhorse.
What are its rivals?
Rivals are aplenty: there’s the recently-replaced Mitsubishi L200, its Italian brethren the Fiat Fullback, Toyota’s iconic Hilux, Ford’s affordable Ranger and the soon-to-come, Navara-based, Renault Alaskan.
What’s it like to drive?
If you’re more used to SUVs than proper trucks, you might find the Navara disappointing. Even with interior features that aren’t that far off the Qashqai, there’s no escaping the fact that this is a commercial vehicle.
The 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine is noisy, the automatic gearbox in our test car is a little clumsy and parking it would be nigh-on impossible without the wonderful Around View Monitor.
But that’s compared to SUVs. The ride, although a bit wobbly when unladen if you’re expecting it to be car like – is virtually a revelation compared to pickups of old, thanks to the five-link coil-sprung suspension fitted as standard to the double cab model.
Compared to trucks of the past, you could drive the new Navara every day without it feeling too much of a compromise. It’s quiet at motorway speeds, and visibility around town makes negotiating traffic easier than you might expect.
Fuel economy and running costs
We tested the more powerful 190hp diesel. Key stats are a combined 40.3mpg and 183g/km CO2. That’s from a commercial vehicle. Not bad, eh?
Is it practical?
Hell yeah. Or should we say, truck yeah? Boasting a 1,578mm load bed, the double cab’s load area is longer than that of the Mitsubishi L200 and offers plenty of room for lugging building supplies, lifestyle accessories or whatever you might wish to chuck in it.
What about safety?
The latest Nissan Navara scored four stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP last year. It was let down by its lack of technology such as a lane departure warning, and pedestrian-friendly active bonnet. Not a huge concern, really.
Which version should I go for?
It depends what you want. While the top-spec Tekna we had on test was lovely, and would be ideal for those looking to use the Navara as a family car, you might find it hard to stomach spending more than £30,000 on something as workhorse-like as this. For those wanting the practical abilities of the Navara more than luxuries such as heated leather seats, the entry or mid-range models might make more sense.
Should I buy one?
If you’re prepared to accept the compromises offered by a pickup, the Navara is certainly one of the best in its class.
World rally champion Colin McRae drove a Nissan Navara in the Dakar Rally Raid in 2004 and 2005 – crashing out in his second year. The firm launched a special edition Navara Rally Raid in 2004, limited to just 300 units.