Nissan Navara - An accomplished pickup

The Nissan Navara is an accomplished pickup truck which can be used as a daily driver or has a heavy-duty workhorse. The Navara is a versatile pickup which is equally as good on the road going to the supermarket or carrying and towing heavy loads.

The Nissan Navara features a multi-link coil spring rear suspension set-up, found in cars rather than the standard leaf springs more commonly used on rival pickup's. This allows the Navara to drive and handle more like a car than a big, heavy pickup, which given that many spend most of their time on roads and being used as daily drivers is a big plus.

The pickup market is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their blend of rugged capabilities and sporty looks; it makes them a great alternative to the growing demand of SUVs. Yes, the Navara doesn't drive and handle quite as well as a modern SUV. Nevertheless, it's still primarily built to be a commercial vehicle, ready to do hard work day in day out. However, Nissan has worked hard to try to find a happy medium to widen their potential sales range, and in this respect, it's a job well done.

Nissan-Navara-sideview

There are two basic body styles to choose from when selecting a Navara; King Cab and Double Cab. The Double Cab model has four full-sized doors and can seat five, whereas the King Cab a couple of smaller doors and a shorter cab to allow for a longer load bed. The double cab is the most popular body style, and therefore it has more trim levels available. The trim levels are; Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna and N-Guard, but only the Visia and Acenta are available if you opt for the King Cab model.

Nissan also offers the Navara as a King Cab or Double Cab but without the load bed, allowing you to fit your custom creation to suit your requirements. This is a great option for those who need specific dimensions or set-up of their load bay.

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Engines, Power and Performance

The Nissan Navara is powered by a 2.3-litre dCi turbodiesel engine, but it has a choice of two power outputs, 163hp and 190hp. The lower-powered (dCi163) 163hp unit develops 425Nm of torque and can hit 0-62 in 12.5secs and achieve a top speed of 106mph and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This is the only engine available if you choose the King Cab body style and is the engine you get if you choose the Double Cab up to Acenta trim level.

The more powerful (dCi190) 190hp unit generates 450Nm of torque and is capable of getting from 0-62 in 11.2secs. You can select this version mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic. The dCi190 engine is only available with the Double Cab body styling and the top three trim levels, N-Connecta, Tekna and N-Guard.

Nissan-Navara-frontview

Both engines provide more than enough pulling power, thanks to their large torque figures, whilst maintaining relatively good fuel efficiency of around 40mpg. Pretty good for a vehicle weighing close to two-tonnes. Each Nissan Navara is now fitted with a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system as standard, to give extra grip and traction when using if wet and muddy conditions.

The Navara handles driving on the road pretty good for a heavy pickup truck and is probably only outperformed by the new Ford Ranger. The steering is heavy but not overly so, and the ride comfort is again pretty decent, if not quite as pleasing as the Volkswagen Amarok.

Interior Quality and Technology

The interior of the Navara is very crisp, clean and logically laid out with all button, levers and dials in easy reach of the driver. Build quality feels good and sturdy, and there is a pleasing texture and feel to the plastics used throughout the cabin. The cabin of the Navara certainly edges more towards a car/SUV in appearance rather than your standard pickup, which again works well for those who will buy the Navara as a daily driver and not just for work.

Nissan-Navara-interior

The bottom couple of trim levels, Visia and Acenta, do not get the most amount of standard equipment. Still, you do get DAB Radio, Bluetooth telephone integration, a 5-inch colour HD TFT combi-meter screen and a multifunctional steering wheel.

However, step up to the N-Connecta or above, and the equipment list grows quite significantly with the addition of various features. Some of these include the Nissan Connect infotainment system with an eight-inch colour touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, traffic updates and a colour rear view parking camera.

Nissan-Navara-infotainment

Given that Nissan believes that the vast majority of Navara's to be sold to be double cabs, it's no surprise that they have increased the list of standard equipment in the N-Connecta trim level and above. You also get the more powerful version of the diesel engine if you select the N-Connecta trim or above, so it would make sense to opt for one of those, especially given there is only a small cost difference between each trim level.

Space, Practicality and Safety

Whether you choose the King Cab or Double Cab, you will find copious amounts of legroom and headroom to accommodate even the largest of drivers and passengers. The seats have a good range of adjustment and the steering wheel and pedal line up nicely to allow you to find a great driving position.

In the rear of the Double Cab, a couple of large adults will have no reason to complain, with the amount of legroom and headroom on offer. The King Cab does sacrifice some of the rear space, especially legroom for the added load bay length (215mm).

Nissan-Navara-rear-seats

The Navara is capable of towing up to 3.5 tonnes, which puts it right up there with best in class, and has a load bed capable of carrying a little over a tonne (actual max payload 1165kg), which is more than one of its main rivals the Ford Ranger can carry.

The Nissan Navara scored an impressive 4-star rating at the Euro NCAP 2015 safety tests, which is pretty good for a pickup truck as they don't usually score very high. Some of the standard safety features include; hill descent assist, vehicle dynamic control (VDC) ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, multiple airbags and Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (eLSD) with cut-off.

The Nissan Navara is a great pickup truck offering excellent value for money, a comfortable ride and an impressive list of equipment and features as standard across various trim levels. If you need a pickup for work or just fancy something different from a car or SUV, then the Navara could be the one for you.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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