Truck with top tech

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Max­ine Ash­ford

DE­SIGN­ING and de­vel­op­ing a pick-up truck should be pretty straight­for­ward – it needs to be tough, rugged, prac­ti­cal, hard-work­ing, re­li­able and able to cope with any phys­i­cal de­mands thrown in its path.

But nowa­days there are ad­di­tional pres­sures placed upon man­u­fac­tur­ers be­cause we also re­quire com­fort, bags of on-board tech­nol­ogy, good econ­omy and de­cent run­ning costs.

Nis­san has been build­ing pick-up trucks for 80 years and has drawn on all that ex­pe­ri­ence to de­velop the lat­est Navara NP300 which looks awe­some and has all the work­horse ca­pa­bil­i­ties nec­es­sary.

The ve­hi­cle looks good from any an­gle thanks to 18-inch al­loys, roof rails, LED day­time run­ning lights, front fog lights with chrome sur­round, LED head­lights with pop-up wash­ers, LED rear lights, rear pri­vacy glass, a tail­gate spoiler, side steps and plenty of chrome trim.

Step in­side the four-door cab and the Navara is de­cep­tively spa­cious and very el­e­gantly laid out.

There are leather seats that can be elec­tri­cally-ad­justed and heated, a six-speaker sound sys­tem, seven-inch touch­screen with sat nav, DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio, a re­vers­ing cam­era, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, dual zone air con­di­tion­ing and plenty more be­sides.

This model in range-top­ping Tekna for­mat was priced at £24,792 (£25,796 with op­tions fit­ted). It could reach 62mph from a stand­ing start in 10.8 sec­onds, maxes out at 114mph, de­liv­ers com­bined fuel econ­omy of 44.1mpg and has car­bon emis­sions of 169g/km.

It fea­tured a 2.3-litre 190ps diesel en­gine mated to a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion and proved great fun dur­ing the week-long loan.

Out on quicker roads and mo­tor­ways the Navara moved along ef­fort­lessly and the ac­cel­er­a­tion was both smooth and re­spon­sive. The gear­box can be a lit­tle clunky, but it’s cer­tainly bet­ter than I ex­pected.

In town cen­tres, the ve­hi­cle proved sur­pris­ingly ag­ile and the park­ing sen­sors and around view mon­i­tor make squeezing into a tight park­ing space much sim­pler than an­tic­i­pated.

The pow­ered steer­ing is good, although it still feels a lit­tle heavy at times and if lots of tight ma­noeu­vring was re­quired on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, you could end up with bi­ceps like Pop­eye.

That said, the all-round driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is im­pres­sive for a ve­hi­cle that fea­tures such pow­er­ful work­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The ride qual­ity has been im­proved vastly thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of an all-new five link, light­weight sus­pen­sion sys­tem and this cer­tainly helps give the im­pres­sion you are driv­ing a cross­over model rather than a truck.

Five oc­cu­pants have plenty of space within the cabin and com­fort lev­els are good, plus the high-seated driv­ing po­si­tion re­sults in ex­cel­lent all-round vis­i­bil­ity.

The Navara has a whole range of safety spec­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing hill start as­sist, hill de­scent con­trol, anti-lock brakes with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, nu­mer­ous airbags and a se­lectable all-wheeldrive sys­tem with a low range mode and elec­tronic slip dif­fer­en­tial which will make very light work of any off-road du­ties.

The pick-up sec­tor is re­ally hot­ting up at the mo­ment with Mit­subishi, Ford, VW and Toy­ota all de­vel­op­ing ex­cel­lent ve­hi­cles and there will be more to come from other man­u­fac­tur­ers in the near fu­ture.

But one thing is guar­an­teed, the Nis­san Navara will be able to hold its head high against any com­pe­ti­tion.

TEST DRIVE NIS­SAN NP300 NAVARA

Nis­san NP300 Navara Tekna Dou­ble Cab PRICE: £24,792 Me­chan­i­cal: 190ps, 2,298cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing four wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box MAX SPEED: 114mph 0-62MPH: 10.8 sec­onds COM­BINED MPG: 44.1 IN­SUR­ANCE GROUP: 9 CO2 EMIS­SIONS: 169g/km BIK RAT­ING: 31% WAR­RANTY: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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