IF YOU want a ute to carry anything near maximum payload, you can do better than the Navara. While we didn’t test the Series II with a 3500kg trailer-load, we don’t expect it to perform notably better than before, given the strong correlation between the way all of the utes performed at either maximum payload or maximum tow capacity. Away from hauling or towing heavy loads the Navara offers spritely performance thanks to its punchy 2.3-litre bi-turbo, as well as being slightly smaller and lighter than most competitors. Its seven-speed auto helps, too, given six speeds is the default in this class, as does the short final-drive gearing. The only powertrain negative is that the Renault-sourced engine is on the noisy side when worked hard. The Navara’s unladen ride and handling is well-sorted and would no doubt cope with moderate loads and tow weights without much fuss. Sharp pricing is also a Navara positive.