Nissan Navara SUV
Price: £21,545 - £37,035
- Impressive load carrying
- Strong performance from diesel engines
- High specs equate to good value for money
- Noisy cabins
- Vague steering and poor cornering ability
- Thirsty and expensive servicing
"Tough, strong, and built to last, the Navara is the perfect working vehicle, and although it's huge size and agricultural diesels won't suit everyone, it's still one of the best pick-ups in its class"
Developed alongside the seven-seater NIssan Pathfinder SUV the recently facelifted Nissan Navara is a tough vehicle that has a large load bay, four seats plus serious off road capability, allowing it to be used as a large family car or trusty workhorse. Strong diesel engines suit the big Navara both in 2.5-litre, 190bhp and 3.0-litre, 230bhp variants, providing lusty performance and plenty of low down grunt. The performance comes at a price however, as even the most efficient model struggles to return more than 30mpg and are quite noisy. Offered in Acenta King Cab spec with small rear-hinged doors and a rear bench or Tekna and Outlaw Double Cab format with full-size, foor-door, four-seat layout, the Navara is very practical and is well made. The four-wheel-drive system includes a low-range set of gear ratios for serious mud-plugging and when more economical progress is prefered the Navara can also run in two-wheel-drive mode.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Low purchase costs could be cancelled out by expensive servicing
Due to it's intended commercial use private buyers will be faced with a tax disc costing £210 per year. The 2.5-litre diesel fitted with a manual gearbox offers combined economy figures of 33.2mpg and 224g/km of C02. The larger engined, range-topping 3.0-litre Outlaw V6 model actually has slightly better fuel consumption partly due to its seven speed automatic gearbox. Servicing costs are higher than for Volkswagen's Amarok, with prices of over £1,300 quoted for the first three years.
Interior & comfort
Ample leg and head room but noisy on the motorway
Built to carry heavy loads and drive through fields or building sites the Navara isn't as comfortable or as sophisticated as many similarly priced SUVs. The front seats have lots of leg room but a limited level of adjustment results in some drivers experiencing a far from ideal driving position. At motorway speeds there is a noticeable level of road and mechanical noise entering the cabin which can become tiring on longer journeys. Leather interior is fitted as standard on Tekna models which helps improve comfort levels considerably.
Practicality & boot space
Lots of carrying capacity and large cabins in Double Cab models
Inside the Navara Double Cab the cabin is relatively spacious and well made following the recent update although some of the lower down plastics still feel quite agricultural. The rear load bay measures 1,560mm wide and 1,511mm in length which is slightly smaller than the flat-bed found in the Volkswagen Amarok, but still makes carrying bulky equipment and heavy luggage a breeze. An optional hard top is available to protect contents from the elements. Plenty of cubbies, storage areas and door bins feature in and around the cabin, but some of the controls and switches are poorly located. On the Acenta King Cab model the rear opening doors can prove tricky to use and small rear seats are best used only for short distances.
Reliability & safety
Reliable and dependable, this Nissan is built to last
Nissan has a good record for reliability which is important in the Navara's case as most models will almost certainly lead a hard life. Tested in 2008, the Navara scored a three star rating for adults and a four star rating for children in the the Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
Engines, drive & performance
Easy to drive but handling exposes commercial underpinnings
On an open straight road the Navara is quick to impress. Capable of covering the 0-60mph sprint in 11 seconds is no mean feat for a pick-up this size. The light controls and torquey, strong engines make all models easy to drive and the high driving position provides a great view of the road. Sharp twisty roads however highlight the Navara's weaknesses. Vague, fidgety steering requires large inputs from the driver and the mushy long-through gearchange doesn't inspire spirited driving. Power and performance from the 3.0-litre diesel is impressive and is well suited to the clever seven-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard on Outlaw V6 models.
Price, value for money & options
Beats rivals but hardly good value
The four-cylinder Acenta and Tekna models represent good value as true multi-purpose vehicles, easily undercutting premium rival, the Volkswagen Amarok. Tekna models come with leather upholstery, electric heated front seats, headlight washers, electric sunroof all fitted as standard. The optional £1,650 Nissan Connect Premium package adds an uprated stereo, a reversing camera and sat nav to the already impressive list of extra kit. Well spec'd Acenta and Tekna models will depreciate less come re-sale time.
What the others say
Nissan's new Navara has been developed alongside the Pathfinder SUV and as such shares many of the features of a quality off-roader. It is a more sophisticated proposition than a pure utility vehicle. It's offered as a King Cab with small 'suicide' rear doors that are hinged at the rear and reveal a pillarless opening to the cab area with occasional rear seating for two.
On top of its tax benefits as a pick-up, the Navara's large load bay and composed handling are key attributes. The Double Cab can seat five in comfort, too.
To mark out the latest Navara, there's a new front bumper, bonnet and grille which extends the length of the nose by 8cm. Despite not being radical changes to the Tonka-toy looks, the rounded bumper is more aerodynamic, benefiting fuel consumption.
Last updated: 5 Mar 2014