One of the most accomplished all-round pickups on sale
- Car-like rear suspension
- Class-leading fuel economy
- 3.5-tonne towing capacity
- Long service intervals
- Five-year warranty
- Still not car-level comfort
- Uninspiring interior
- No basic single-cab variant
- Original manual gearbox not great
- Some visibility concerns
This 2021 Nissan Navara review covers one of the most popular pickups in the UK, bridging the gap between working vehicle and lifestyle vehicle better than most rivals. This version was first launched in 2016, then thoroughly updated in 2019, with a facelift that brought a number of key improvements. It's expected to remain on sale in this guise until at least late 2021.
This pickup - also sometime known as the Nissan NP300 Navara - features unusually car-like rear suspension, powerful engines with class-leading fuel economy, and 3.5-tonne towing capability. All versions are well equipped and come with a five-year warranty.
We even awarded it the inaugural Parkers Pickup of the Year Award back in 2018. The Navara also forms the basis of the posh Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the Renault Alaskan (which we don't get in the UK).
Trim levels and bodystyles
The Navara is available in two bodystyles: King Cab with short rear doors, occasional rear seats and a longer load bed, and Double Cab with four full-size doors, proper rear seats and a shorter load bed. The Double Cab models are by far the better sellers, and this is reflected in the wider range of trim levels that are available to Navara Double Cab buyers.
Nissan also offers a chassis cab version of the Navara King Cab, suitable for specialist conversions. But a straightforward single cab pickup (two doors, two seats, longer load bed) is not available.
As with most pickup makers, Nissan is fond of regular special editions, so if you're looking for something out of the ordinary keep an eye on our news and advice section for all the latest models.
In 2018, Nissan launched a Navara Off-Roader AT32 variant designed for particularly taxing off-road work, followed by a top-of-the-range Navara N-Guard model, bringing the total number of trim choices up to seven.
Engines and gearboxes
The Navara is powered by a 2.3-litre four-cylinder dCi turbodiesel engine, developed specifically for commercial vehicles.
The result is not only a choice of two power outputs – 163hp (confusingly, Nissan sometimes labels this 160hp in its technical details) and 190hp, making it one of the most potent pickups on sale in the UK – but also the most fuel-efficient pickup range on the market.
There are six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearbox choices, and while most Navaras are four-wheel drive there was originally a two-wheel drive entry-level King Cab for those who simply need a basic workhorse. This has been discontinued, however, meaning that all new Navaras now have a 4x4 system.
Is the Navara really car-like to drive?
Instead of the simple and conventional leaf springs used by most pickups, Nissan has chosen to fit a complex multi-link arrangement that uses coil springs instead. Coil springs are exactly what you’ll find under your car – hence the promise that the Navara delivers a similar driving experience.
But while it is more car-like than most pickups, especially in terms of steering sharpness, grip and handling corners, you shouldn't expect it to be as comfortable as your family hatchback - the load bed is still rated to carry over 1,000kg, so those fancy rear springs still need to be pretty firm.
This hasn't stopped some operators raising concerns about the coil spring suspension's ability to withstand heavy loading and towing. Which may explain some of the updates for 2019.
Nissan Navara 2019 facelift update
On sale from 1 July 2019, there's not much of a visual difference between this updated Navara (pictured below) and the pre-facelift model, but Nissan has changed a number of less obvious parts in order to keep its pickup competitive against increasingly premium opposition.
As a result, it now has rear disc brakes (and larger, more powerful front brakes), a new six-speed manual gearbox that's more pleasant to use, and new 'dual rate' rear springs.
Proving Nissan's commitment to the multi-link rear suspension design, this is now fitted to the King Cab model as well for the first time; prior to this Navara King Cabs used leaf springs at the back.
The changes increase the Navara payload ratings and improve safety. There's a smarter infotainment system, too.
No 2021 Navara facelift for the UK and Europe
In 2020 yet another facellift (below) for this Navara was launched in some global markets, bringing much more dramatic front-end styling. Some thought that this would also be introduced for the UK and Europe in 2021.
However, Nissan UK has confirmed that there will be no new Navara facelift here or in Europe, and that the pickup will continue as is until production stops at the Barcelona factory - which is set to happen in late 2021.
As yet there is no word on a replacement Navara, which has prompted some rumours that it's being discontinued completely. Nissan UK remains tight-lipped, but we'll update this page with more info as soon as we have it.
Key Navara rivals are traditionally the Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200, though these days the bestselling Ford Ranger (winner of the 2020 and 2021 Parkers pickup of the year award) will have a place on most shopping lists.
Looking for more of a working truck rather than a lifestyle model? Then try the Isuzu D-Max and the SsangYong Musso for value and capability, though the Navara is usually very competitive on price when you're finally negotiating for a deal.
As mentioned above, the Navara also formed the basis of the Mercedes X-Class, and although the German brand made a lot of changes you will still find Nissan parts inside, not least the key and the 2.3-litre engines under the bonnet.
The X-Class was enormously expensive by comparison, but also distinctly better to drive - and available with a 258hp Mercedes V6 at the top of the range. However, the market didn't take to it, so it was discontinued in 2020.
Nissan Navara verdict
The Navara is a solid all-rounder. It's sharper than your average pickup to drive, well-finished inside, offers class-leading fuel economy and 3.5-tonne towing capacity.
Add an extensive model range with lots of standard equipment, a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty and lengthy servicing intervals, and you can easily understand why it’s a popular choice. Just don't go expecting it be as comfortable as a family car.
Keep reading for the full review Nissan Navara on Parkers Vans and Pickups - or for full details of load capacity and payload see our dedicated Nissan Navara dimensions page.
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- Powerful engines and good steering
- Capable off-road, especially in AT32 guise
- Some concerns about rear suspension when loaded or towing
From its sharp steering to its powerful engines, the Nissan Navara is one of the better pickups to drive - but still falls some way short of being as comfortable and easy going as a car.
What are the Nissan Navara's engines like?
From launch until the update on sale 1 July 2019, the Navara has used two slightly different 2.3-litre engines to produce its choice of 163hp and 190hp power outputs.
Simply put, the 163hp engine has only a single turbo and produces 403Nm of torque, while the 190hp engine has two turbos and produces 450Nm of torque. Torque is the stuff that gets heavy loads moving, so it's always desirable to have as much of this as possible in a pickup.
Initially these engines were Euro 5 emissions compliant, but they were updated to initial Euro 6 requirements in September 2016; we mention this just so that used buyers in need of a Euro 6 Navara don't get caught out by accidentally buying a very early example.
After the 2019 update, however, the 163hp engine is also a twin-turbo motor. As a result it gets a boost to 425Nm. Both 2019 engines meet the latest Euro 6D Temp (also known as Euro 6.2) emissions regulations.
Regardless of power output, these are muscular motors - even the original 163hp engine would happily haul 400kg up a slippery 25% gradient climb.
But these engines also feel quite rough and ready. Accelerate hard and you'll be treated to a bold roaring noise that puts more in mind of agricultural machinery than most passegner vehicles. They are quiet enough at speed, though, and performance on the motorway is certainly strong, just as you'd expect of a vehicle rated to tow 3.5 tonnes.
An X-Class that uses the same engines is quieter by comparison, thanks to Mercedes fitting additional sound isolation. But the Navara is faster, thanks to its lighter weight.
What about the gearboxes?
The standard six-speed manual gearbox fitted until the 2019 update is notchy and has a very lengthy action - so no surprise that many owners prefer the seven-speed automatic, which is available as an option on all but the entry-level Visia and Acenta trim levels.
While this is certainly smoother - not to mention considerably less combatative to use - it can still be slightly hesitant, and doesn't quite match the best auto transmissions available in some rivals, notably the eight-speed auto in the Amarok and the new 10-speed auto in the latest Ranger models.
We'd still go for the Navara auto over the original manual version, though. It's lighter (increasing payload) and will prevent clumsy drivers from causing premature clutch wear.
However, after the 2019 update the manual gearbox has been substantially improved, feeling more precise and benefitting from a shorter action. It's still not as slick and easy to use as the best manual rivals - again the Ranger scores highly here - but as something suitable for a tough commercial vehicle it's certainly acceptable.
What is the Nissan Navara like to drive?
All Double Cab Navaras and 2019-update onwards King Cab models are fitted with multi-link rear suspension - which features coil springs like a regular car. This helps with steering precision and road holding, reducing roll in the corners and making the Nissan less susceptible to being upset by sudden bumps.
Most pickups still use a traditional leaf springs at the back (and by traditional we mean dating back to the horse and cart), which are typically strong but jittery, and less capable of dealing with variable road surfaces, especially at higher speeds.
As a result, the Navara is a comparatively confidence-inspiring truck when you want to drive quickly. But - particularly after the 2019 update, which has seen Nissan strengthen the rear springs and raise the rear a little to help it cope better with higher payloads - the ride at low speeds around town can be quite uncomfortably firm for passengers.
And even on brand new motorway tarmac there's a constant high frequency vibration. Not enough to be unbearble - and certainly less than you get in many rivals - but still distinctly noticable.
So if you're looking for a pickup with a comfortable ride there are better alternatives. Following its own revision in 2019, the Ford Ranger is now very good in this regard, as is the Volkswagen Amarok.
In older Navara King Cabs that use leaf springs at the back, bumps and potholes are a lot more noticeable, and the truck is bouncier when unladen. They still don't roll around in the corners too much, though, and the steering remains light and accurate.
One other area where the 2019 update has definitely brought major gains is the brakes. With bigger front brakes and discs on the rear instead of old-school drums, the Navara now hauls itself to a stop with much greater conviction. Good news when you're dealing with such a large, heavy vehicle.
Can the Navara cope with hard work?
Plenty of Navaras are still bought as working trucks, where the latest creature comforts remain appreciated of course.
But there have been concerns raised about the ability of the rear coil springs to cope with heavy loading and towing. Certainly, they seem to struggle more than traditional leaf springs in this area, with some drivers complaining about the way the Navara seems to sink right down at the back, making the steering feel light and the ride uncomfortable.
In an effort to compensate for this, Nissan has fitted new dual-rate springs as part of the 2019 update, allowing the truck to become much stiffer at the back when loaded up and less prone to sagging. Even so, leaf springs remain the tried and tested method of regularly handling the highest payloads.
Electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system
Four-wheel drive is standard-fit on all but the entry-level Visia King Cab model.
This electronically controlled system has three settings labelled 2Hi, 4Hi, and 4Lo. The 2Hi system is for normal road conditions, 4Hi is for wet road, gravel tracks and other moderately slippery surfaces, while 4Lo is for more extreme and muddy conditions.
A mechanical centre differential lock is also available should your needs require one. An electronic limited slip differential is standard at the rear.
We’ve tested the Navara in locations as exotic as the Sahara Desert (see below), and can confirm it copes very well with off-road challenges.
Anyone looking for particuarly good off-road performance should seriously consider the AT32 version, which increases ground clearance and wading capability, but isn't as bulked up as rivals' AT35 models, which can feel too large for some British roads. The Navara Off-Roader AT32 has received its own set of updates for 2020, too.
- Car-like interior design with plenty of room
- Comfortable seats but no steering wheel reach adjustment
- High-tech solution to visibility limitations
The Nissan Navara has one of the more car-like cabs in the current pickup truck sector, with design themes familiar from the firm’s passenger SUV range.
It’s still not the most inspiring interior to look at, but it has sensibly laid-out buttons and a relatively user-friendly infotainment system - although even the updated 2019 version feels a bit clunky compared with the best alternatives.
Build quality could be better, and practicality isn't as good as hard-working rivals like the D-Max when it comes to in-cab storage.
There’s plenty of passenger space front and rear in the Double Cab models, though rear space is compressed in the King Cab, as you’d expect given the additional load area behind.
Nissan claims the seats were designed by NASA, and the lower-end fabric versions are particularly comfortable. But it is a big shame Nissan hasn't included reach-adjustment for the steering wheel, which means you may not be able to find your ideal driving position.
Access to the back of the King Cab is via a pair of stubby, backwards-opening doors and there's a set of fold-down seats that are very much for occasional use only.
The Double Cab has four full doors and proper rear seats complete with Isofix mountings for child seats.
We have seen some complaints about forward visibility – and indeed the seats are mounted quite low while the dashboard and bonnet are quite high.
The available 360-degree camera system is amazingly helpful for this, and still an unusually high-tech feature for a pickup that few rivals are able to match.
- Excellent fuel economy for a pickup
- Long service intervals and five-year warranty
- Plenty of standard kit right across the range
Nissan claims the Navara is the least expensive pickup to run, and with best-in-class fuel economy and lengthy service intervals, it's hard to argue that it's wrong.
Nissan Navara mpg
There have been changes to the way fuel economy is tested, which means that Navaras sold after the 2019 update seem to be less fuel efficient than those that came before. This is not the case. Instead, the quoted figures should be closer to what you get in the real world - though we are still waiting on true WLTP figures for the Navara, which should prove even more accurate still.
Anyway, with the disappearance of the two-wheel drive King Cab, all four-wheel drive Navaras with the manual gearbox have claimed fuel economy of 40.4mpg. The autos are rated at 38.2mpg.
Before the 2019 update, the most fuel-efficient Navara of all was the two-wheel drive King Cab, which only came in Visia specification and returned a claimed 46.3mpg.
All four-wheel drive models of the same era claim 44.9mpg with the manual gearbox, while automatics claim 41.0mpg.
Regardless of age, few rivals get anywhere near such official figures, and though fuel economy in the real world is more likely to start with a three than a four, the Navara should be as frugal as you can get from a pickup.
What are the service intervals for a Nissan Navara?
Officially, the Navara needs a service every 25,000 miles or two years, whichever comes sooner.
In theory, this means it goes twice as far between dealer visits as most rivals, which should make a significant difference to your running costs.
How the long is warranty on a Nissan Navara?
The Navara has a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard - exactly matching the Toyota Hilux.
This is one of the better pickup warranties in the UK, though the Isuzu D-Max is covered for five years or 125,000 miles, and the SsangYong Musso seven years or 150,000 miles.
Nissan Navara trim levels and standard equipment
Initally there were five standard Nissan Navara trim levels: Visia, Acenta, Acenta+, N-Connecta and Tekna.
However, in 2018 Nissan added some even more premium options at the top of the range labelled the N-Guard and the Off-Roader AT32, both based on the Tekna grade but with added items of kit.
Visia and Acenta trims are offered as both the King Cab and Double Cab but with the 163hp engine only, and are aimed more at working operators and fleets. The posher rest are only available as 190hp Double Cab models.
Here’s what you get as standard:
Nissan Navara Visia standard equipment highlights:
- Multifunction steering wheel
- Bluetooth, USB and aux-in connectivity
- Cruise control and speed limiter
- Three 12v sockets
- Electrically adjustable door mirrors
- Automatic headlight
- Hill descent control (4WD only) and hill start assist
- Rear electronic limited slip differential (eLSD)
Nissan Navara Acenta standard equipment highlights (in addition to Visia):
- Keyless entry and ignition
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- C-Channel load lashing rails
- Chrome step rear bumper
- Body-coloured front bumper
Nissan Navara Acenta+ standard equipment highlights (in addition to Acenta):
- 18-inch alloys wheels
- Dual-zone climate control
- Heated and electrically folding door mirrors
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Reversing camera
- Side steps
Nissan Navara N-Connecta standard equipment highlights (in addition to Acenta+):
- NissanConnect infotainment system with 7.0-inch touchscreen
- DAB radio
- Smartphone App integration
Nissan Navara Tekna standard equipment highlights (in addition to N-Connecta):
- Intelligent Around View Monitor 360-degree camera system (makes manoeuvring easier by providing a bird’s-eye view of surrounding objects - very clever)
- Leather upholstery
- Heated front seats
- Rear parking sensors
- LED headlights
- Roof rails
Nissan Navara N-Guard standard equipment highlights (in addition to Tekna):
- Black 18-inch alloys
- Black front grille
- Black roof rails
- Black rear bumper
- Black side steps
- Black LED headlight inlays
- Black foglight surrounds
- Black door mirrors
- Black door handles
- Choice of Storm White, Metallic Black or Twilight Grey paint
- N-Guard side graphics
- Headlamp washers
- Part leather seats with yellow stitching
- N-Guard floor mats
The N-Guard began life as a special edition, but will continue on into the 2019 updated model as the top of the regular range.
Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 standard equipment highlights (in addition to Tekna):
- 17-inch black alloy wheels with 32-inch off-road tyres
- Arctic Trucks suspension with 20mm increase in ground clearance
- Steel underbody protection
- Rear differential lock
- Arctic Trucks wheel arch extensions
- Arctic Trucks mud flaps
- AT32 exterior badging
This version of the Navara is, as the modifications suggest, designed to tackle more extreme off-road challenges. As such, optional extras for the AT32 include a snorkel air intake and a front differential lock.
In 2017, Nissan also launched a limited run of Trek-1° models. Based on the range-topping Navara Tekna, just 400 were offered to UK buyers in a choice of black or white paint. Unique features included black alloy wheels, LED spotlights mounted on a sport styling bar, and an unusual hard load cover.
- Engine specially developed for commercial vehicles
- Some issues with past models
The Navara uses a 2.3-litre engine developed specifically for commercial vehicles, and one that's been in service with the Nissan NV400 van since 2010.
So, in this respect you should expect the Navara to be well up to the challenge of a tough working environment. Issues aren't unheard of, but they aren't common either, so as long as you keep the pickup well maintained it should prove a reliable partner.
Some scepticism about the ability of the coil spring rear suspension to cope with heavy loads and towing does remain, however.
The 2019 model update sees Nissan move more of the range over to this set-up, though, so clearly it remains confident in the product - albeit with a change to dual-rate springs and a 25mm increase in height at the rear introduced at the same time.
Nissan Navara reliability historically
Previous-generation 'D40' Navara models suffered from a number of issues, including the engine block, which has been known to fail under strenuous conditions.
Most notorious of all, however, is the so-called 'snapped chassis' problem which afflicts those older Navaras. Hopefully Nissan has cured this for the 2016-onwards model.
- Seven airbags and an alarm as standard
- All Double Cab models come with AEB
While pickup truck safety has traditionally not quite been on a par with regular passenger cars, the Navara is one of an increasing number that is offered with at least some modern active safety aids.
Nissan Navara safety
The Nissan Navara has no less than seven airbags as standard (driver, passenger, side, knee and curtain), in addition to electronic stability control on all models.
What's more, all Double Cab models are fitted with autonomous emergency braking (what Nissan calls Forward Emergency Braking) as standard - something that you can't get at all on VW Amarok, for example.
Nissan Navara security
All versions of the Navara come with an alarm system and immobiliser, remote locking, locking wheelnuts and a lock for the spare wheel.
Which Nissan NP300 Navara is best for me?
The Nissan Navara is an good all-rounder, and we've had the opportunity to drive a number of versions over the years, occasionally in some rather special locations - such as when we went off-roading in the Sahara Desert.
Both of the engine outputs deliver impressive capability, but though you won't exactly be going wrong with a less powerful model, the full 190hp and 450Nm of torque will make the most of the Navara's talents on and off the road. And since the engines are largely linked to trim levels, you'll be getting more equipment as well as more power if you go for the stronger model.
That said, this pickup is well-equipped right across the range, so if your budget is limited you won't find yourself missing out on too many luxuries.
You can compare new and use deals right here on Parkers:
For more detailed impressions of the specific versions we've driven click the links below:
- Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 review - tested September 2018 (opens in new window)
- Nissan Navara Trek-1° special edition review - tested August 2017
- Nissan Navara Tekna in the Sahara Desert - tested November 2016
Tested August 2017 by CJ Hubbard
- Top-end limited edition of popular pickup
- Lots of bespoke extras including hard load cover
- We test seven-speed automatic, priced from £31k
Just 400 examples of the new Nissan Navara Trek-1° special edition are available to UK buyers.
Prices start at £29,220 (ex. VAT but on-the-road) for the standard six-speed manual gearbox, increasing to £31,054 with the optional seven-speed automatic – which is what we’ve got on test here.*
The name is inspired by the longitudinal location of the Navarre desert in Spain, and it takes the range-topping Navara Tekna as its starting point.
So not only do you get the full-fat twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine with 190hp and 450Nm, it’s also absolutely loaded with standard equipment.
However, it comes in choice of just two colours: exclusive Storm White or Black Metallic.
What’s different about the Nissan Navara Trek-1°?
It’s the visual upgrades that really make this truck stand out – and we aren’t talking about the Trek-1° decals on the rear flanks.
First thing even casual observers will notice is the sport styling bar, which is not only resplendent in black but also topped by a pair of bright LED spotlights. There’s more black for the side styling bars – and those chunky six-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels.
But what really gives the Trek-1° a distinctive appearance is the unusual plastic load cover. This is effectively a hard tonneau, hinged near the cab and supported on twin gas struts when open.
With its swoopy, streamlined look, sticking out beyond the trailing edge of the tailgate almost like a ducktail spoiler, the cover gives the Navara a particularly sporty look, and should help the load area stay dry, too.
Any other interesting items of standard equipment?
Beneath the load cover the Trek-1° is fitted with a standard bed liner and a bed divider – which attaches to the Navara’s C-Channel load restraining side rails, making it easy enough to move back and forth depending on what you want to put in the back.
There’s quite a bit of kit on the inside, too, with all of the following included in the basic asking price:
- NissanConnect infotainment system with sat-nav
- DAB digital radio
- 360-degree Around View Monitor camera system
- Rear parking sensors
- Heated front seats
- Leather upholstery
- Cruise control
Optional extras include a tow hook and a locking rear differential for more serious off-road work. Nissan’s selectable four-wheel drive system with low-range setting is fitted as standard.
The infotainment system feels rather old compared to some rivals, but the traffic jam avoidance works well.
What’s the Trek-1° like to drive?
The driving experience is much the same any other high-spec Navara – which is to say very impressive, for a pickup.
Grip levels and cornering are particular highlights, helped by Nissan’s oft-noted rear suspension design, which uses car-like coil springs in place of the truck-traditional leaf springs most rivals continue to favour.
We always expect this to deliver better ride quality than it really does, however, so the unladen bounciness is particularly jarring. But after a few miles behind the wheel you come to realise that really it’s not bad at all, and certainly endurable over lengthy distances.
The optional seven-speed automatic is a very worthy addition for this sort of duty, too, being generally smooth and responsive. As is typical for a pickup – the Mitsubishi L200 being a rare exception – there are no paddleshifters for taking manual control, but we can’t say we particularly missed them.
Do the modifications cause any problems?
Hard to say whether the load cover reduces wind noise versus an open bed, as frankly Nissan’s pickup was already excellent for refinement. But the style bars and spot lamps certainly don’t make it any worse.
We did find the load bed cover slightly tricky to unlatch, though – seemingly requiring you to release the tailgate first. And although the opening angle is reasonably generous, it inevitably cuts down on the ultimate practicality of the Navara’s load area.
Still, the LED light fixed to the underside is a useful addition, and the included load divider is very sturdy and secure.
What are the load area dimensions for the Nissan Navara Trek-1°?
Height restriction due to the load cover aside, the Trek-1° offers a similar amount of space to any regular Navara double cab model.
We use the word ‘similar’ above, because the included bed liner and bed divider will have a modest impact on the amount of room in the back. Just as the extra kit will eat into that quoted double cab legal payload.
Should I buy a Nissan Navara Trek-1°?
It’s hardly a shocker that the Trek-1° limited edition is great pickup, given how well regular versions of the Navara perform. The only question is whether you want to spend the extra £3k it costs for the bespoke kit and the exclusivity of owning one of just 400 examples.
Compared with premium rivals such as the Amarok – let alone the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class (which is based on the Navara platform) – the Trek-1° is still great value, either way.
But if you do miss out, don’t despair, the regular range-topping Navara Tekna comes with just as many creature comforts, and a wider choice of paint finishes...
*All prices correct at time of writing
Tested November 2016 by Tom Goodlad
- Euro 6-compliant Nissan pickup tested
- Impressive both on- and off-road
- Lots of equipment, but costs nearly £32k
This is our first test of a Nissan NP300 Navara with the Euro 6 engine upgrade, and to celebrate its introduction, Nissan's brought us to the Sahara Desert to give it a proper work out.
What makes it Euro 6 friendly? In short, a 17-litre AdBlue tank. By equipping the Navara with AdBlue technology, the amount of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions coming out of the exhaust is reduced.
Impressive on-road refinement
On the road, the Navara impresses thanks to its remarkably car-like driving manners. That doesn’t mean you’ll be attacking corners like you would in a hot hatchback, but it’s much more like a regular SUV than you might think. It has a comfortable ride and impressive refinement, and this is largely due to the five-link rear suspension set-up which soaks up the worst bumps in the road better than most comparable commercial vehicles, such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
Performance is car-like, too. The engine produces 190hp and 450Nm of torque, meaning the Navara will sprint from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds.
It doesn’t feel that fast in ordinary driving, but put your foot down for an overtaking manoeuvre and the smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox responds quickly and ensures the Navara overtakes safely. This is where Nissan’s commercial-only diesel makes itself heard, but it’s not too overbearing and settles down again when you’re back to cruising speeds.
There’s little road feel in the steering, but it’s well-weighted. It means the Navara is very easy to drive around town and on faster roads. Operating in rear-wheel drive mode means running costs are kept in check, with improved economy.
Solid and dependable off-road
We're sampling the Navara off-road, and not just on rutted, muddy tracks. No, no: we're in the wilds of the Sahara Desert in Morocco to see how capable the Navara really is.
It's seriously capable. On a mixture of dried river beds, an unpredictable mix of rutted gravel and sand and full-on Saharan dunes, the Navara doesn't miss a beat.
It copes admirably with high-speed sections on loose gravel and sand, remaining planted and secure. The switchable four-wheel drive system also allows for an impressive scrabble along tight and twisting rocky mountain tracks, while the hill-descent control and 360-degree cameras ensure you make it back down with minimal fuss.
In the sand dunes, the Navara really comes into its own. All that's required is a drop in tyre pressures and a degree of driving skill to maintain momentum – driving on this kind of surface really isn’t like anything else. It all combines to give a real sense of invincibility which counts for a lot when you can go for hundreds of miles and not come across anything else, apart from the odd camel or two.
Car-like interior with lots of equipment
Step up into the Navara and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re inside one of Nissan's road cars, namely the Qashqai and X-Trail. It looks very familiar inside thanks to similar design and the same 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The plastics all feel more hard-wearing than the cars, which is only a good thing when it’s designed as a workhorse.
Should I buy a Nissan Navara Tekna?
This top-spec version of the Navara may well be expensive at £26,585 before VAT, but its breadth of abilities is seriously convincing.*
On the road it’s well-mannered and refined, while the well-equipped, car-like interior means you can use it as an everyday family vehicle, although at over 5m long it isn't going to be the easiest thing to park.
Add in strong towing abilities, a large load bed and impressive off-road ability and you’ve got a great all-rounder. And one that costs just a little bit less to run than before, too.
*All prices correct at time of writing