Weekend Courier - - Driveway - Robert Buys

ON the way home, I spot­ted a brutish load of much needed con­crete slabs.

With my lit­tle hatch winc­ing at me, I sized up the mis­sion.

Then, as luck may fol­low a uni­corn to town, along came the op­por­tu­nity to use a new Nis­san Navara dual cab.

With the mis­sion aboard the Navara's tray, the torquey twin­turbo-diesel mo­tor had the half tonne of con­crete sud­denly feel­ing like a suit­case of Isla Fisher's un­der­gar­ments as it blasted up the hill.

The 2.3litre diesel is im­pres­sive. Eas­ily keep­ing up with the horde of Texas Ranger show-offs, the Navara makes no fuss and re­wards good driv­ing with econ­omy of around 9 litres per 100km.

Also im­pres­sive is the ride from the link-and-coil sprung rear sus­pen­sion.

The in­te­rior is civilised, al­beit slightly dated, cruise con­trol is a breeze to work, like­wise the rest of the steer­ing wheel func­tions.

The seat­ing is com­fort­able, even for a longer jour­ney.

The new Navara is im­pres­sive in both looks and per­for­mance.

The test ve­hi­cle was a 4x4 ST dual cab, the sec­ond from top in Nis­san's ex­ten­sive of­fer­ing of Navaras: there are 26 to choose from, $37,899 to $59,995 drive­away. Ours was $53,742.

The ST comes with LED run­ning lights and head­lights, smart 16-inch al­loys with bigfoot tyres, a touch­screen mul­ti­me­dia in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with sat nav, a re­vers­ing cam­era, and Blue­tooth stream­ing.

It also has an al­loy sports bar with in­te­grated high-mounted brake light and front fog­lights, and al­loy side­steps for eas­ier cabin en­try and exit. Ours had a sun­roof too.

Spec­wise, the Navara has a mass of 1960kg and a 3500kg braked tow­ing ca­pac­ity.

The mo­tor makes 140kW/ 450Nm and drives through a seven-speed au­to­matic which can be switched to man­ual, but why would you?

A ro­tary dial on the dash lets you se­lect from 2WD and 4WD high and low range and the steer­ing has an im­pres­sively tight turn­ing cir­cle.

In the safety sec­tor, the Navara has driver and front pas­sen­ger front and side airbags, driver's knee airbag and side-cur­tain airbags, and has a five-star safety rat­ing. A bute-ute, well worth dis­cov­er­ing, for this is the fu­ture of small truck­ol­ogy, no doubt.

Nis­san's hand­some new Navara ST. Ver­dict:

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