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It’s the newest Nissan Navara. We’ve already driven it, but this is our first go on British soil.
Learn anything new?
A bit. You’ll have read that Nissan has tried to infuse its ‘one-tonne’ truck - not how much it weighs, but how much it can carry - with crossover DNA, thus making it less agricultural to drive, more refined and therefore more appealing to folks who buy regular cars.
But while the changes it has made - adding more sophisticated rear suspension, bling-ing up the interior, stuffing it full of all the active safety/parking/connectivity tech you’d expect of a Qashqai - have indeed made it more refined, it’s still some way short of a conventional SUV. A crossover-pick-up, this is not.
Take the ride quality. While the more workman-like single-cab ones get normal leaf springs (like horse-drawn carriages), expensive double-cab versions like this get multi-link rear suspension.
The benefit is a much more comfortable ride, with a marginal weight-saving and, says Nissan, less road noise. As a consequence, the Navara is maybe the best-riding pick-up there is, but that’s a bit like saying Take Me Out is the best ITV show.
Yeah. So best ignore Nissan’s claims of a “crossover-style” driving experience and take the Navara for what it is - a very good pick-up. We tried the 2.3-litre diesel in its most powerful guise, with 187bhp and 332b ft of torque. Yes, it’s a bit rattly, but pop it into sixth gear and it settles down into a reasonably smooth cruise.
The gearbox is very agricultural but petty precise with it, while the control weights are heavy enough to remind you you’re in something that can haul around more than twice its own weight in stuff. It’s also maybe five per cent too long for a normal British parking space.
How about inside?
It’s actually quite nice. Most of the buttons are big, and obviously for the glove-wearing workman, while all the infotainment is familiar enough. The plastics are decent and, like the Navara as a whole, feel as though they’ll last well into the next century.
If you’re a private buyer, and therefore paying VAT, yes. A top-of-the-range Tekna, with the big engine and a manual ‘box, is pushing £30k. But you get a load of kit, plus that go-anywhere, carry anything ability. Were we in the market, we might be tempted. Just not in orange.