This sturdy and spacious 4x4 is a beast of a pickup that can swallow 20-plus feed bags but it needs to be snapped up soon, says Ed Coles
While waiting for the latest incarnation of the Nissan Navara to turn up, I couldn’t help thinking it’s a shame that it may well be the last. Apparently, we will be losing the Navara from the 4×4 menu, so let’s crack on and see if it’s worth snapping one up a bit sharpish or paying close attention the second hand market in due course.
Putting the Nissan Navara N-Guard through its paces
It has a slightly higher spec flavour to it and, on first impressions, it looks like a proper workhorse with a hint of style. For a pickup truck, it’s relatively easy on the eye. The Navara’s original silhouette has been beefed up and the edges softened and sculpted a little.
The grey paintwork and black 18in wheels look quite smart and the decals aren’t too over the top. The proportions look good, the double cab is reasonably spacious and the load bed is more than adequate for a full feed run — 20-plus full bags of wheat or a full tonne pallet would squeeze in with a bit of room to spare. The maximum payload is 1,115kg.
The sides do look high so we’ll see how this vertically challenged tester gets on loading up.
From the back, we can see the good old-fashioned ladder chassis and a befitting rear diff. Ground clearance is good at 223mm and, looking at the wheel arches, there’s plenty of room for the five-point rear suspension to do its work. Likewise for the front double wishbones. It is all very industry standard underneath — confidently sturdy and capable.
Under the bonnet
Moving around to the front and taking in the large bumper and grille, the Navara is an elegant beast. You’ll definitely notice it in the rear-view mirror, pulling up behind you. Popping the bonnet, we’re greeted by a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine.
The turbo diesel produces 190bhp and 450Nm of torque, more than enough to haul the three-tonne-plus Navara up to a top speed of 111mph, and it’s capable of towing 3.5 tonnes. This one has a six-speed automatic gearbox and selectable two- or four-wheel drive high and low settings, plus hill descent. All looks promising, but the spanner in the works could be the overly road-friendly tyres.
A look inside
Climbing aboard the N-Guard and adjusting the rather smart heated, part-leather seats, the spaniel owner in me thought: we’re going to need some seat covers or a canopy for the back.
The interior feels slightly indulgent, with leather steering wheel and seats and contrasting chrome trims, but there’s also a pleasing minimalist feel about it. One centre console controls pretty much everything and I’m pleased to say the Nissan Navara doesn’t overwhelm you with gadgets.
There’s enough of exactly what you need: DAB radio, phone connectivity, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android, satnav, camera and sensors to stop you reversing into things. All the usual safety features are on board — airbags, traction control and trailer sway control.
It’s comfortable inside. That said, as a modern gamekeeper, the first task is to see how much of a faff it is to put a child seat in the back. The answer is quite a bit. The Isofix points are hidden behind two zips, making it a hassle.
Child seat fitted, the first test would be reversing out of my ridiculously potholed driveway. Backing out steadily still produced a fair bit of bouncing and clunking from the suspension, which wasn’t 100% comfortable. Pulling out on to the main road, the Navara soon got into its stride. There is that characteristic pickup truck wobble from the front end but, once on a decent bit of road, cruising is rather enjoyable.
The engine is quite responsive and it’s not overly boaty around the roundabouts. On the country roads, it handles well, but bumps are noticeable.
Selecting four-high, I opted on taking a shortcut through a wood to fill up with wheat. The Navara handled the soggy ruts well, with minimal slipping and sliding. It negotiated the tight, twisty bits well too and got me back to the yard in time to load up some feed.
Loading over the sides was relatively easy, albeit on tiptoes. Unloading was trickier but I am afflicted in the height department. The tailgate sits slightly higher, as I noticed when I attempted to climb in.
Loaded up, it was time to check the feeders. The next task for the Navara was some muddy tracks, freshly churned up by tractors. It all started off well, but there was a moment when I thought the standard tyres were going to let us down. Fortunately, after a brief panic and a lot of wheel spinning, the Navara pulled itself together and forward motion was resumed.
The suspension handled the situation reasonably but utilitarian is probably the word.
The Nissan Navara is a good truck. I didn’t entirely like some elements of the ride, but it’s a pretty good all-rounder. It would benefit from some proper tyres and perhaps a rear canopy. It is comfortable on a long journey, relatively nimble around town and more than capable off-road, with the ability to carry quite a lot of stuff. The interior has an almost high-end feel to it, with a good amount of kit. It’s a solid 7.5 out of 10 for me. The ultimate question is how many shekels. Well, being a slightly higher spec, the N-Guard comes out at an on-the-road price of £37,250. If you fancy one, get it sooner rather than later.’
Need to know
- Manufacturer Nissan
- Model Navara N-Guard
- Top speed 111mph
- 0-62mph 11.2 seconds
- Power 190bhp, 450Nm of torque
- Emissions Urban 216g/km Extra urban 165g/km
- Fuel consumption Combined 40.4mpg
- Ground clearance 223mm
- Wading depth 600mm
- Payload 1,115kg
- Towing weight, braked 3,500kg
- Gross vehicle weight 3,250kg
Good off-road, bags of space, excellent spc
Slightly bumpy ride from the suspension