Nissan Navara review
The Nissan Navara ticks the right boxes for the latest breed of image-conscious pick-up buyers
The Navara is Nissan’s double cab pick-up version of its Pathfinder seven-seat SUV, and many of the qualities of that vehicle remain in place. It competes within an increasingly popular sector in the UK, and along with rivals such as the Mitsubishi L200, Ford Ranger and our favourite - the Volkswagen Amarok. All of which have have carved a popular niche for those seeking a practical working machine that’s tough and able to trek deep off-road for the price of a mid-range Mondeo. Nissan sells the stylish, upmarket-looking Navara with a 190bhp 2.5-litre dCi turbodiesel in Acenta and Tekna trims, or there's the Outlaw, which comes with a 3.0-litre V6 dCi diesel and auto gearbox. The latter is loaded with luxuries, although it's quite expensive to run.
Our choice: Navara 2.5 dCi Tekna manual
The Nissan Navara looks identical to the Pathfinder from the nose all the way back to the trailing edge of the rear doors. Then, instead of more bodywork, there's a large pick-up bed. It's a chunky looking machine, and certainly doesn't do anything to hide its sheer size. All models get 17-inch alloy wheels and side steps, while Tekna models gain roof bars and chrime mirrors. Inside, the dash looks good, but is made from hard-wearing plastics - Tekna cars get full, heated leather.
It’s far removed from the utilitarian, unrefined pick-ups of old, not least thanks to a very powerful 190bhp 2.5-litre turbodiesel. This takes it from 0-60mph in 11.3 seconds, and has loads of pulling power thanks to a torque figure of 450Nm. It’s smooth running and relatively refined as well. The six-speed gearbox is easy and there’s also a five-speed auto. If you need more power, there's a 231bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel in top-spec Outlaw trim, which has 550Nm of torque at its disposal. As for ride and handling, the underpinnings include selectable four-wheel-drive which gives this Nissan Land Rover-like ability off road. This inevitably leads to compromises on the tarmac, but double wishbone suspension means it’s still surprisingly competent. The worst aspect is a fidgety ride, while handling isn’t bad once you’ve mastered the low-geared steering.
The Nissan Navara has been on sale for a while now, and as it's designed to deal with the rough and tumble of a work life, you can be sure that any problems would've highlighted themselves by now. Safety is a slight negative for the Navara, though - scoring just three stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests which is off the pace compared to newer models like the four-star VW Amarok and and five-star Ford Ranger. However, all models get electronic stability control as well as whole host of airbags as standard.
Navara owners benefit from the widest and deepest load bed in the sector, and the largest load area. There’s no doubting the Nissan’s practicality here, though naturally, as it’s uncovered, those seeking added security will do well to invest in an optional hard top for the rear bay. Plenty can be carried there, and up to 2.7 tonnes can be towed. Four doors provide ample room for five passengers, and the car-like driving position and excellent quality are welcome, too.
Competitive prices make the Nissan Navara a good-value choice, and retained values are strong, too. The 2.5-litre diesel engine officially averages around 29mpg, and service intervals are stretched to an impressive 18,000 miles. What’s more, equipment levels are really impressive, with all models getting Bluetooth and the top-spec Outlaw coming with DVD sat-nav and heated leather seats, although it only comes with the thirsty 3.0-litre V6 diesel and an auto gearbox.