Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 81%

The Nissan Navara has been one of the leading lifestyle pick up trucks since its introduction in 2001.

Completely revised with a butch new look in 2005, the second-generation Navara raises the bar again.

1. Looks 8/10

Big and butch is the best way to describe the Navara’s looks. And it has a hint of SUV about it, especially when parked next to Nissan’s full sized Pathfinder. There’s plenty of chrome too, especially on the bumpers and grille surround on most models, and there’s lots of other shiny bits to be had from the options list. And given its size, it comes as little surprise that the Double Cab (with four conventional doors) and the King Cab (which has two reverse-opening ‘half’ doors in the rear) both lead their respective classes for the size of their load bays.

2. Looks inside 7/10

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the cabin in this light commercial vehicle places toughness before styling. But even so, it has one of the most handsome interiors in this class. The square-spoked steering wheel is standard Nissan fare, while the instrumentation is all clearly labelled – and most important solidly built.

3. Practicality 10/10

The Double Cab and King Cab versions of the Nissan Navara both offer best-in-class load space among their respective rivals. The Double Cab boasts 2.36 square metres of space, while the King Cab offers up 2.9 square metres thanks to minimal wheelarch intrusion. Nissan says the King Cab can carry an average sized quad bike. The Double Cab, with its extra interior space is slightly shorter. One criticism is the heavy tailgate.

Nissan has offered its C-Channel system, which is unique in this class. C-Channel employs five rails into which self-locking cleats can be placed, providing an infinite number of securing points to tether loads.

There are also plenty of storage space in the cabin, including a pair of gloveboxes in front of the passenger, offering 6.4-litres of space, and an additional six litres within the centre console. That’s in addition to the usual array of door pockets, cupholders and cubbyholes for sunglasses.

4. Ride and Handling 7/10

The Nissan Navara is remarkably good fun to drive. It can be thrown into corners with kind of verve usually reserved for much smaller vehicles. But the lack of weight over the rear wheels means it’s easy to get the Navara into a powerslide. It has Nissan’s proven part-time four-wheel drive system which drives the rear wheels only in two-wheel drive, and splits power equally when four-wheel drive is engaged. There’s also a low-range facility to improve traction on slippery surfaces.

5. Performance 7/10

Despite tipping the scales at more than two tonnes, the 2.5-litre diesel engine can power the Nissan Navara to 62mph in between 11.2 and 11.8 seconds depending on the model. That’s more than sufficient to keep up with most traffic, and will sit at motorway speeds without fuss or excessive noise. The engine develops an impressive 168bhp and a colossal 297bhp of pulling power at just 2,000rpm. Towing figures are equally striking, with the King Cab capable of towing a braked trailer up to 2.7 tonnes, and the Double Cab up to 2.6 tonnes.

View more pictures of the Nissan Navara

6. Running Costs 8/10

Considering the Navara’s performance and weight, it can cover a surprising 28.8mpg on average. And its group 11 insurance rating is pretty competitive. And it’ll only need a service every 18,000 miles too.

7. Reliability 8/10

The Nissan Navara feels little short of bombproof. It’s built to take all the abuse a team of navvies can throw at it. And the number of Navara’s on the road indicates it’s a tough old boy.

8. Safety 8/10

The level of safety equipment is fairly consistent throughout the range. All models come with ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and airbags for the driver and passenger. Only the entry-level Trek does without whiplash reducing active front headrests, but just the top spec Aventura features side and curtain airbags as standard. They are, however available with the Hi-Tech or Premium packs on the Outlaw model.

9. Equipment 9/10

There are four trim levels in the Navara range – Trek, Sport, Outlaw and Aventura. All models from the Sport upwards have an impressive spec sheet.

The entry-level Trek features a chrome grille, a lockable, one-handed tailgate release; remote central locking, electric front and rear windows, power steering, CD player and a voice activated Bluetooth hands-free kit. The Sport model adds climate control, a body coloured front and rear step bumper, side steps, front fog lamps, C-Channel tie-down points, a metallic dashboard finish, leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake and electric heated door mirrors.

The Outlaw also features headlamp washers and tinted rear windows, automatic headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, trip computer and an in-dash CD autochanger.

Nissan boasts the Aventura has an equipment list to shame a £40,000 SUV, and comes with leather upholstery, sat-nav and a ‘Premium’ audio system.

10. X-Factor 9/10

Well equipped, good looking and fun to drive; there’s little more you could wish for than the Navara. And a shelf-full of trophies in various van awards over the last few years would indicate we’re not alone in thinking it the best pick up currently available.

Key facts

Model tested: Nissan Navara 2.5 dCi Sport Double Cab
On the road price: £20,905
Price range: £17,615- £26,545
Date tested: April 2008
Road tester: Stuart Milne