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Nissan Navara pickup (2004-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

The Nissan Navara is easy to drive, yet its handling reveals its commercial-vehicle origins

Carbuyer Rating

1.8 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

1.8 out of 5

Let’s get this out of the way first. Buyers expecting the Nissan Navara – or any other big pickup truck, for that matter – to drive like a regular SUV should look elsewhere. It has been designed to carry a huge weight in the back and its suspension is designed as such.

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That means when you’re on the move, the suspension fidgets around over bumps, especially when you’re not carrying anything in the back. As in most commercial vehicles, filling the load bed settles it down. It’s still not up to the standards of a family SUV, but it’s not too bad.

The Navara’s steering is light and vague and requires a lot of turning to make a relatively small change in direction – this is because the car has also been designed to be competent off-road, where slow steering is useful.

Backing this up is a low-range gearbox, which provides good control when driving off-road or towing heavy loads. There’s also a part-time four-wheel-drive system, which allows you to select two-wheel drive to save fuel or four-wheel drive to improve grip.

However, those light controls make all models easy to drive and the high driving position provides a great view of the road.

Nissan Navara diesel engines

On a straight road, the Nissan Navara is quick to impress. The 190bhp model (our pick of the range) is capable of going from 0-62mph in around 11 seconds and on to a top speed of over 100mph. Unusually, the automatic model is the fastest 2.5-litre on offer, although not by much.

The 3.0-litre Outlaw V6 is the fastest of the bunch, as you’d expect. It provides a 9.3-second 0-62mph time – which is fast by the standards of this type of vehicle. It’ll manage a top speed of 121mph, too.

The engines are loud, though, with a whooshing roar under acceleration, and there’s a lot of noise at speed as the wind rushes over the bluff front end, large door mirrors and load bed.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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