Nissan maintains interest in Navara with N-Guard special, says Dan Gilkes.
Special editions can be a way to extend the life of an ageing car model, but the pickup market has always offered customers a wide range of models and trim levels. For Nissan, the recently announced N-Guard keeps Navara fresh, building upon the range-topping Tekna truck, with a new front grille, fog lamp surrounds, mirror covers, door handles and rear bumper, all finished in black.
Matching side steps and roof rails have been added, along with black 18” alloys and a set of N-Guard decals. The truck also comes with headlamp washers as standard, while Twilight Grey, Metallic Black and Storm White are the only colour options.
Under the bonnet the truck is powered by Nissan’s twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine, delivering 190bhp and 450Nm of torque. You can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed automatic that we have here, for an additional £1,450.
In the cab, there are restyled leather and cloth seats, door trims and floor mats. You also get the standard Tekna’s NissanConnect 2.0 sat-nav and entertainment system, which has a rather dated looking 7” touchscreen, DAB and a colour reversing camera.
Though fairly small, the screen also provides a monitor for Nissan’s Around View Monitor, which shows a bird’s eye view of the truck at speeds of up to 10km/h, making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces or off-road.
Nissan’s Navara has been a favourite of this magazine for some years, regularly taking home our best pickup award. Four years after its introduction, despite many changes in the market, it remains our number one all-round choice.
There are less expensive trucks around, more powerful engines on offer and the Nissan itself forms the basis for pickups from a couple of other manufacturers. But, as a fleet proposition, Navara still takes some beating.
We had the N-Guard on test while pulling together the finalists for this year’s Fleet World Great British Fleet Awards, to make sure that we weren’t seeing the Nissan thorough rose-tinted glasses. It only took a few miles to reinforce the opinion that the Navara remains at the top of its game.
The truck offers a comfortable, refined ride, particularly with that smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. There are no flappy paddles for manual changes, but you don’t miss them. Likewise, with pickup engines now producing well in excess of 200-250bhp, the Nissan’s 190bhp proved more than enough to cover rapid motorway use and relaxed cross-country travel with ease.
I was also glad to have easily selectable four-wheel drive available during the test, having woken to an ice-covered hotel car park near Barnsley that was impossible to walk on, never mind drive up a slope to exit.
Aimed more at the owner-driver than fleets, but it tops a range that offers one of the best all-round truck solutions.