Nissan Navara SUV
Price £21,995 - £37,140
- Impressive load capacity
- High-power diesel engines
- Well equipped
- Noisy interior
- Vague steering
- Expensive servicing
At a glance
"Tough, strong and built to last, the Nissan Navara is the perfect working vehicle."
Developed alongside the seven-seater Nissan Pathfinder SUV, the Nissan Navara is a tough pick-up that has a large load bay, five seats and serious off-road capability, allowing it to be used as a large family car or a trusty workhorse.
The range of strong diesel engines suits the big Navara, with 2.5-litre (144bhp and 190bhp) and 3.0-litre (230bhp) versions available. All provide impressive performance and plenty of low-speed grunt. That performance comes at a price, however – even the most efficient model struggles to return more than 30mpg and all are quite noisy.
There are two body styles: King Cab has small rear-hinged doors and a rear bench, while Double Cab has four full-size doors and five seats. The Navara is very practical and well built, while its four-wheel-drive system includes special low-range gears for making progress on steep hills or difficult terrain. On the road, the Navara can run in two-wheel-drive mode for more fuel-efficient progress.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Relatively cheap to buy, but expensive to service
As the Nissan Navara is classed as a light goods vehicle, road tax costs £225 per year. The 190bhp 2.5-litre diesel fitted with a manual gearbox should return 33.2mpg and emit 224g/km of CO2. A 144bhp version was added in 2014. Although it has lower CO2 emissions of 215g/km, fuel economy is actually slightly worse, at 33.6mpg, so the financial savings are minimal.
The larger-engined, range-topping 3.0-litre V6 model is even thirstier, struggling to hit 30mpg in everyday motoring. But it will do 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds, making this pick-up genuinely quick in a straight line.
Servicing costs are higher than for the Volkswagen Amarok, with prices of over £1,300 quoted for the first three years.
Engines, drive & performance
The Nissan Navara is easy to drive, yet handling reveals its commerical-vehicle origins
On a straight road, the Nissan Navara is quick to impress. The 190bhp model (our pick of the range) is capable of going from 0-60mph in 11 seconds, and on to a top speed of 112mph. The light controls and strong engines make all models easy to drive and the high driving position provides a great view of the road.
However, sharp twisty roads highlight the Navara's weaknesses. The vague, fidgety steering requires large inputs from the driver and the inaccurate, loose-feeling gearchange doesn't inspire spirited driving. The range-topping 3.0-litre diesel is certainly powerful, and works well with the clever seven-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard on V6 models.
Interior & comfort
There's plenty of leg and headroom inside the Navara, but it's noisy on the motorway
Built to carry heavy loads and drive through fields or building sites, the Nissan Navara isn't as comfortable or as sophisticated as many similarly priced SUVs. The front seats have lots of legroom, however the limited amount of adjustment can make it difficult for some drivers to find a comfortable seating position.
At motorway speeds, there's a noticeable level of road and mechanical noise in the cabin, which can become tiring on longer journeys. Leather trim is fitted as standard on special-edition V6 models, which makes things feel more luxurious.
Practicality & boot space
There's a huge amount of storage space, but rear passengers are cramped in King Cab model
Inside, the Nissan Navara Double Cab is relatively spacious, while feeling durable and well made. Some plastics low down in the cabin feel quite harsh and cheap, but you almost expect that in a car like this.
The rear load bay is 1,560mm wide and 1,511mm long, which is slightly smaller than equivalent area in the Volkswagen Amarok, but it still makes carrying bulky equipment and heavy luggage a breeze. An optional hard top is available to protect contents from the elements, and we'd recommend it if your budget allows.
Plenty of cubbyholes, storage areas and door bins feature in the cabin, but some of the controls and switches are poorly located. On the King Cab model, the rear-opening doors can be tricky to use and small rear seats are best suited to carrying children – or adults for short distances only.
Reliability & safety
Reliable and dependable, the Nissan Navara has been built to last
As a brand, Nissan finished a disappointing 22nd in the 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – though it did come 14th out of 33 for reliability. This is an important quality – and one many owners will take comfort in – as no doubt many Nissan Navaras will lead a pretty hard life.
When tested in 2008, the Nissan Navara scored three stars for adult protection and four stars for child protection in the the Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
Price, value for money & options
It's competitively priced, but the Nissan Navara is still expensive to buy
The four-cylinder Nissan Navara XE and SE models represent good value as true multi-purpose vehicles, easily undercutting the Volkswagen Amarok, which is arguably the Nissan's main rival.
All models get 17-inch alloy wheels and stability control as standard, while the mid-spec Nissan Navara SE has side airbags and cruise control as well as a CD player and a Bluetooth phone connection.
Top-of-the-range LE versions come with a more powerful 190bhp engine and a host of luxurious features to make the Navara easier to live with every day. These include a reversing camera, sat nav, heated seats, tinted rear windows and rain-sensing wipers. A special-edition version adds leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome trim for added style.
The well equipped SE and LE models should hold on to more of their value in the long run than the entry-level cars.