On the eve of a new Navara Ian Lamming assesses Nissan’s current all-conquering pick-up.
STRANGE times indeed, even more so if you live the nomadic existence of a journalist.
No office just a laptop, a mobile phone and a notebook and, at the moment, whichever test car there is to sit in.
Yes, I’m one of those annoying folk who normally takes up the tables in popular cafes to hijack the WIFI, drink mocha and use their loos, but these are not normal times, they are the strangest of times which have put an end to all that. Now, the only place to shelter is the car – at least until the boy comes out of school and I can return home.
Partial lockdowns pose a problem as school drop off is at 8.30am and he doesn’t emerge again until 5pm. Ordinarily this is when I head for the cafes but COVID has cut me adrift. This means I must loiter and that is how it feels, sitting all day in the test car working on the MacBook until the battery runs flat and periodically going walkabout to find a toilet.
In many cars it feels strange, abnormal, bordering on inappropriate. I keep expecting to see blue flashing lights as the constabulary descends to check out my intentions. But not this week, oh no, thanks to Nissan’s ubiquitous Navara.
Somehow the big Nav feels at home wherever you choose to park it. You can leave it in town or in the countryside with complete impunity. People just think you are a workman or farmer, a forester or tradesman and you blend into the background nicely.
You also have the added benefit of go-anywhere ability, and I mean go anywhere. Your average verge or muddy field is nothing to this machine; you barely need to get out of rear wheel drive.
Rocky tracks? It eats them for breakfast. Mud, snow and sand? It laughs in the face of each medium. This is a proper off roader as I remember well at its launch when the test track was more akin to a mule trail than a queen’s highway.
It’s also hard to believe that it is almost time for a new model because the existing remains so good on and off the road.
Navara is an exceptional example of the breed. This one – the Tekna Double Cab – looked very cool with its black 18in alloys, behemoth size and appendages.
A leviathan it may be but the big Nissan is instantly easy to drive and manageable to manoeuvre. It’s just like driving any other SUV and equally comfortable and well equipped.
A well designed interior features touch screen infotainment, heated leather seats, satnav, an excellent stereo and cruise control. There’s the huge load bay on the back but the parking sensors and clever reversing camera make light of the extra length.
It’s the same to drive. The 2.3 litre twin turbo diesel charges on in a quiet and fuss-free way delivering masses of power and 40mpg economy. The six speed manual slots well between ratios, the clutch is light enough and brakes powerful.
If you have to venture off road there’s a proper all-wheel-drive system and electronic limited slip differential for maximum traction. Off piste Navara is truly incredible even on road tyres.
On asphalt it is impressive too. There’s only a hint of the pogo that afflicts pick-ups and certainly not enough to bother you. Otherwise Navara drives car-like in the way it performs and handles, in town and on the open road. At night the LED lights are fab.
The list of accolades is endless – great on and off-road dynamics, excellent build, high specification, muscular sea-parting looks, decent economy and price – it’s a leisure vehicle, workhorse and mobile office all in one, just the thing for these strangest of times.
Nissan Navara Tekna
Engine: 2.3 twin turbo diesel
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 10.8 secs
Combined miles per gallon: 41
Transmission: six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 183
Price: £34,545.00 |sA��