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We drive Nissan’s latest Navara pick-up on UK roads. Does it make more sense than a VW Amarok or Mitsubishi L200?

What is it?

A facelifted Navara, which faces stiff competition from the revamped Mitsubishi L200, and the refreshed Ford Ranger. The battle lines are being drawn to see which can stake its claim as class leader.

Nissan has been thorough with its revised pick-up. Its chassis and four-wheel drive system have been modified, and the Navara is fitted with a downsized 2.3-litre diesel engine to improve fuel economy and emissions.

The engine is available in two power outputs: a single-turbocharged version producing 158bhp and a twin-turbo with 187bhp. There are also three body options to choose from: Double Cab, Super Cab and the new Chassis Cab option.

As for the Navara's carrying capacity, its load bed can hold a one-tonne payload, and it also has the ability to tow 3.5 tonnes; this puts it on par with the Ford Ranger and the Isuzu D-Max on both counts.

Nissan believes the Double Cab Navara will attract 90% of buyers and has endeavoured to give it better on-road characteristics with five-link rear suspension. Its rear seats have been adjusted to increase comfort too.

Each of the five trim levels comes with a wealth of standard equipment, starting with functional Visia trim, which includes 16in steel wheels, manual air conditioning, cruise control and forward emergency braking.

Range-topping Tekna comes with a sat-nav, 360-degree camera, LED headlights, leather seats, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. To match this move towards making the Navara more a passenger-orientated vehicle Nissan has increased its warranty to five years too.

What's it like?

It is easy to get comfortable in the Navara NP300 because its seats are supportive and widely adjustable, while our model's leather steering wheel, handbrake and glossy black dashboard trim gave the interior a sense of quality and familiarity to that of Nissan's smaller Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-Trail.

However, while soft-touch plastics do feature within the Navara’s cabin, hard plastics dominate. At least, it feels well put together and robust enough to deal with a tough working life. The rear seats are comfortable, although the high floor makes it difficult for tall adults to get fully comfortable.

Starting the Navara brings a gruff rumble from its engine, and on the move there's a distinct diesel rattle - it gets thrashier the more the engine is pushed. Under acceleration the noise of the 2.3-litre unit is replaced by plenty of turbo whoosh. 

The 187bhp car's performance feels muscular from low revs thanks to its twin-turbo set-up that gets it up to speed fairly swiftly. Our test car was fitted with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which in the large part is smooth, but does have a tendency to hold on to gears for too long, which can be irritating as well as harmful to the NP300’s economy. Still it's preferable to the manual 'box, which has a long, vague throw.

As for the handling, Nissan has clearly spent a lot of time developing its five-link rear suspension set-up for the Navara, and it certainly helps the ride. That is not to say the pick-up judder has been completely eradicated, but it is certainly suppressed far better than before. Shallow potholes and road imperfections are rarely noticed in the cabin, although bigger protrusions at speed still cause the unloaded rear axle to become unsettled.

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On the motorways the Navara NP300 could easily be mistaken for a large SUV, such is the suppression of noise in the cabin and the ride, which is smooth and balanced. The steering, however, is weighty but extremely vague, and rather unsatisfying as a result.

Should I buy one?

Those in the market for a pick-up should have the Nissan Navara NP300 firmly on their shopping lists. The focus to make the Double Cab a comfier prospect has certainly worked, with the Navara now blurring the lines between a commercial vehicle and a large SUV.

There's also much to like about the new Navara's sharp detailing, and its crossover styled interior doesn’t detract from it practicality, which makes it a more complete package than many of its rivals. 

Nissan Navara NP300 Tekna Double Cab

Where Yorkshire Dales; On sale Now; Price £35,049; Engine 4 cyls in line, 2298cc, twin-turbo, diesel; Power 187bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Kerbweight 1958kg; 0-62mph 10.8sec; Top speed 112mph Economy 40.3mpg (combined); CO2/BIK 183g/km, 34%

Join the debate

Add a comment…
bowsersheepdog 9 March 2016

Lack of thoroughness

But is it fireproof? Will it start after a few hours under sea-water? How will it survive the tumble on top of a building as it is demolished? Too many questions left unanswered.
DBtechnician 2 March 2016

Yes we know all about the plastics !

289 1 March 2016

Navara NP300

your review asked the question in the header ". Does it make more sense than a VW Amarok or Mitsubishi L200?" .....but failed to answer its own it make more sense than the Amorak or L200???....or don't you know?
All we know comparison wise is that it can tow 3.5 tonnes like the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D Max.
I would suggest if the report is t be meaningful you should test the vehicle loaded and also with 3.5 tonnes on the towbar to compare how well it performs the task.
We do know from this report that 'the sharp detailing makes this a better package all round than the others'....what is this rubbish, is this really supposed to make a pick-up buyer purchase decision clearer?
On the other hand, probably better all-round to leave reporting on vehicles such as this to specialist magazines who will make a proper comparison...don't you think?