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First Drive: Nissan Navara

SECTOR Pick-up   PRICE £18,376–£24,293   FUEL 40.3–44.9mpg   CO2 169–183g/km

Nissan’s NP300 Navara pick-up boasts cleaner, more efficient engines, five-link rear coil suspension, a host of car technologies and the firm’s recently announced five-year/100,000 mile warranty.

The truck will be offered in King Cab and Double Cab models, with the lower specification King Cab available in both two and four-wheel drive. Two-wheel drive models look just like the 4WD variants, but with no drive to the front axle.

For the first time, Navara will also be offered as a chassis cab, in both King and Double variants, allowing customers to fit a range of specialist bodies and conversions.

Nissan has replaced the previous 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre engines with two versions of the Nissan Renault Alliance 2.3-litre dCi. King Cab models use a single turbo version delivering 160hp and 403Nm of torque. Double Cabs are powered by either the 160hp engine or a twin turbo version, pushing out 190hp and a hefty 450Nm of torque.

That’s enough pulling power to replace the previous 3.0-litre V6 engine, while the 190hp motor is said to be up to 24% more economical than the previous 2.5-litre model. Combined fuel figures across the range are 40.3-44.4mpg, while CO2 emissions take a similar drop, to 167-189g/km.

Both engines drive through a six-speed manual gearbox, while a seven-speed automatic transmission remains a £1,417 option on the higher-powered motor. It has to be said, that the combination of the 190hp engine and auto box make for the more relaxing drive if you can stretch to it, with little additional running cost at the fuel pump.

The relaxing ride is helped by the adoption of a five-link coil spring rear suspension on all Double Cab models, the King Cabs retain leaf springs, though like the coil set-up they are lighter than before. There is no downside in terms of load hauling ability, as Navara continues to offer more than 1-tonne of payload for VAT recovery. More importantly, the truck can now tow up to 3.5 tonnes, equalling market leaders Ford and Isuzu.

Navara gets Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist and Cruise Control, plus Forward Emergency Braking as standard on Double Cab models. Higher trim levels can also be had with Around View Monitor, which delivers a 360 degree view of the truck on the touchscreen monitor in the dash. As well as making it easier to park the truck in congested urban roads, AVW can also be used in tricky off-road situations, to avoid rocks and tree routes.

There are five trim levels for the UK, though only the lower two can be ordered with the King Cab, which is expected to account for just 5% of UK sales. All Double Cabs get seven airbags, an electronic limited slip differential, air conditioning, Bluetooth, daytime running lights and powered windows. Higher trim levels borrow heavily from Nissan’s rapidly expanding crossover range, with a host of technologies in the cab, such as the NissanConnect seven-inch touchscreen navigation system, DAB, a colour reversing camera and LED headlights.

What we think

Distinctive styling, improved engines and five-link rear suspension transform Navara, putting it at the forefront of the sector.

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