- Functional interior
- Comfortable ride
- Moveable tiedown points
- Poor visibility out the rear
- Optional hard top leaked
The Nissan Navara has been around since 1997 in a segment that has rivals such as the Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 but with increasing competition in this market is the latest version now as stylish as it is practical, and can it really be used as an everyday car?
On the Road
The Nissan Navara test car came with a 2.3-litre diesel turbo engine producing 190PS with 450Nm of torque, which it really needs to get all the weight of the model moving. All other King Cab models and the Double Car in the lower spec Visia and Acenta come with a 160PS version.
This one came with a 7-speed automatic transmission which although smooth was slightly hesitant as it went down the gears, almost making it lurch as it went in search of the right gear.
It’s still a fair lump of a car to get going and it just feels sluggish as you get it up to speed. Once it’s cruising along it’s fine and you forget you’re driving such a large vehicle at higher speeds.
The ride is surprisingly comfortable as it eats up pot holes thanks to a five-link suspension instead of the old-fashioned leaf springs and it’s just that that changes how good it is.
Steering though feels quite numb, it lacks reaction to any input the driver is making and going into corners it is slow to react meaning you have to overcorrect it.
Also, at motorway speeds it almost feels like it’s on ice - it lacks any confidence and feels a bit lairy, which is exactly what a previous Navara owner told me about their experience of owning one.
The 2.3-litre diesel engine is very gruff as it pulls away, it’s very noisy and this really filters back to you as does some road noise from the tyres.
With leather throughout in the Tekna trim, seats are really comfortable with the fronts heated and the driver’s seat being adjustable in eight different ways and the front passenger just the four.
In the car
Once you’ve hauled yourself into the cabin it looks less than stylish but Nissan have produced an interior that is very functional, it’s well laid out for the driver with a trip computer and a 7-inch touchscreen which features DAB radio, Bluetooth, navigation, a colour reversing camera and their clever Around View Monitor. This is useful on a car of this size as parking isn’t the easiest of options but it does give you a bird’s eye view of what your about to hit....and avoid.
Extras on the Tekna trim on the test car included roof rails, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and pop up headlight washers.
Visibility isn’t great out the rear plus there’s a gap between the car and hard top so when it’s raining you have two glass panes covered in rain so you can’t see anything.
The double cab is spacious enough with plenty of head and legroom for all passengers. There are ISOFIX points for child seats and because of the height, even toddlers can see out of the rear windows. One thing to consider if you want it as an everyday car is where you put items like shopping and luggage. There might be an enormous rear loading area at over a metre and half long but unless you buy the optional cover then you need to put it all in the car. Also we found the cover wasn’t sealed properly so rain water kept leaking in.
The load space does benefit from practical, moveable tiedown points and there is the option of a protective bed liner-kinda-armadillo base.
The Nissan Navara is priced from £23,635 for the King Cab in the entry level Visia trim, the car we had on test cost £30,463 as the optional hard top was a whopping £3,300. Rivals such as the Toyota Hilux start from £22,995 and the Mitsubishi L200 at £21,598.
It comes with a 5-year/100,000 miles warranty which can be transferred across to the next owner.
The 2.3-litre has a combined 40.3 mpg and emits 183g/km of CO2 so will fall into road tax band I and cost £355 for the first year, then £230 annually.
The robustness look of the exterior make its way into the cabin with durable plastics and leather as it needs to be strong if it’s going to be used by the stereotypical builders!
There have been some issues with the clutch and gearbox in previous generations but a lot has been done since during development to make sure they’re tested thoroughly and really put through their paces to tackle these problems. They’ll have to do a lot though to beat Toyota’s outstanding reliability but they have already got one over their Japanese rival taking the International Pick Up Award for 2016.
The Nissan Navara scored four stars in the EuroNCAP ratings with 79% for adult occupant protection and 78% for a child.
It comes with airbags, ISOFIX points and driving aids such as Forward Emergency Braking, vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist, hill descent control and an anti-lock braking system.
It also has an alarm and immobiliser to keep out those with light fingers.
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