The 4×4 pick up market has seen a quite a bit of change over recent years, with many offerings steering away from utilitarian build quality, instead becoming car like not only with the styling, but the optional extras available and driving manners.
One of the big players in the 4×4 pick-up market is Nissan with the NP300 Navara. Nissan has over 80 years of experience in this segment, and while its made huge strides in the crossover and 4×4 market, you can tell straight off, that the Navara is more refined and stylish than ever before, while still retaining the tough, rugged nature of a workman’s tool.
There are two versions of the Navara available, there’s this double cab, which has a traditional four door, two rows of seats layout or there’s the king cab, which has a bigger load bay, but suicide rear doors, and occasional seats that fold down in the back, cinema style.
You have to really climb into the Navara, no real difference to the competition though, fortunately this foot-plate helps. Once behind the wheel, the driving position is really high meaning you lord it over most other cars on the road. There’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel, so getting the right driving position is easy, and all the controls and dials are logically placed and easy to use. In fact, the interior is a marked improvement on Navara’s of old. The build quality is solid, and materials more upmarket. Anyone familiar with the X-Trail would get to grips with the multimedia system with little issue.
As much as this is a work mate for the job, it’s practical for the family too. There’s lots of storage spaces for drinks and snacks, and there’s space in the back for three to sit comfortably, two in the king cab.  What makes a pick-up so useful is the flat bed at the back, particularly handy for trips to the tip, or carrying large heavy items. Space isn’t too dissimilar from its competition, but note that if space is a factor, then the King Cab does off slightly more, while sacrificing rear cabin space. It can carry over a tonne in the load bay, and it’s able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes so horseboxes or caravans are a doddle to hitch and pull.
There’s not much choice when it comes to engines, there’s one, a 2.3-litre diesel with either 158bhp or a twin turbo model with 187bhp. If fuel economy is important then the King Cab is available as a two wheel drive model, which will return 44.9 miles per gallon, the 4 wheel drive double cab is slightly less, returning 44.1 mpg and 169 g/km of CO2.
As for how it drives, well this depends on how you spec your Navara. The King Cab uses leaf springs which are a bit dated and match much of the competition, which means the ride is firm, unless the load bay is full with heavy items, the steering is numb and the body control is very roly poly. If you opt for the double cab though, it comes with a multi link independent suspension, which smooth’s out bumps in the road, and keeps body control impressively composed.
The only other factor to bear in mind is the gearbox. As standard the Navara comes with a six speed manual, which is a bit notchy, so we’d be more inclined to opt for the seven speed automatic, which is a nice alternative.  While it’s not the most responsive of boxs’ the gear changes are smooth. You just have to factor in whether the additional running costs justify having an auto.
The Navara is a vastly improved 4×4 pick up. It’s comfortable, handles well – if you go for the multi link suspension, the interior quality is a huge step up, and of course it gets an impressive five year warranty.