Test Drive: The New Nissan Navara
The new Nissan Navara has arrived and Ian Lamming gets to drive it
THE ford looks deep, swollen by days of incessant rain, as I edge the new Navara to its fast flowing edge.
Two things pass through my mind; the first that I nearly drowned a Lamborghini Urus in the same ford when it wasn’t quite as deep and, secondly, the image of a big Mercedes SUV disappearing far too fast under floodwater on the national news only to be unceremoniously towed backwards by an old Landy.
But the final straw is when a passing Discovery Sport stops and reverses to watch the doomed spectacle – at which point I ask my boy to jump out to take a picture and the aborted ford crossing becomes a photoshoot. “Thought I was going to have to pull you out there,” says the friendly observer. “No, I know better than to try – it’s just a photoshoot,” I reply, looking a bit sheepish.
Had I been on a launch, surrounded by Nissan’s press team and off-road experts, I’m sure they would have said go for it. But I’m not, COVID has put paid to that, so I’m on my own and erring on the side of caution.
It would have been such a shame to drown the brand new Navara, especially the top of the range N-Guard, even in the name of testing, because it is such a lovely car; yes car. That’s how it drives.
New five link rear suspension and uprated shockers improve even more what has always been a peerless pick-up ride, to the point where it drives just like any SUV, and a great one to boot. There’s not so much of a hint of pogoing that afflicts many pick-ups, just a serenely smooth ride, excellent grip and handling.
The new sprayed on protective liner in the load bay helps even more because it mitigates the traditional inserted plastic tray which could rattle about and exacerbate noise, harshness and vibration. Instead it dampens it even further.
New looks freshen and modernise Navara’s looks and with black detailing for grille and doors handles the N-Guard looks sultry and appealing; it’s a fine looking vehicle with bags of road presence.
Inside, N-Guard comes with eye-catching blue stitching for the leather seats, footwell illumination that highlights the floor mat colour accents and decals on the outside panels.
Navara has always been impressive on and off the road making it the perfect vehicle for work and leisure. The new model is better still offering exceptionally levels of refinement whether you are working or having fun – or doing both.
There is 190PS of power and 450Nm of torque from the twin scroll turbocharged 2.3 litre diesel. That translates to 3,500kg of towing ability, with a payload of over 1,100kg of cargo, across a wide variety of terrain. The seven-speed auto is a beauty shifting seamlessly between ratios to keep the engine in its powerband. There’s a six-speed manual if you prefer.
Go anywhere ability is aided by its tremendously capable and proven part-time four-wheel-drive system, which comes complete with a crawler low-ratio.
A host of advanced Nissan intelligent mobility technologies are also standard, including intelligent emergency braking, intelligent around view monitor and hill start assist.
There is also trailer sway assist, vehicle dynamic control, electronic limited-slip differential, and hill descent control. That’s quite an array for a commercial vehicle.
It’s the same with Navara’s connectivity. It comes with NissanConnect infotainment system, an improved user-friendly eight-inch screen and NissanConnect Services, with advanced navigation, over-the-air software updates and smartphone integration courtesy of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
New Navara is a cracking vehicle whose talents run deep – as deep as the raging ford I’m too scared to cross, in fact.
Nissan Navara N-Guard
Engine: 2.3 twin turbo diesel
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 11.2 secs
Combined miles per gallon: 40.4
Transmission: seven-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 184