Nissan Navara King Cab Outlaw
Styling makes the Navara one of the best-looking pick-ups
- Attractive exterior and interior styling
- Flexible and powerful engine
- Excellent utility and robust feeling
- High specification
- Slow steering can be a handful in town
- Ride is sometimes a little bouncy
- Rear space in King Cab is quite limited
- Only one engine option
The market in the UK for pick-up vehicles has increased dramatically over recent years, helped by the popularity in SUV-style vehicles and their ability to be classified as commercial vehicles for tax purposes. Nissan's previous generation Pick-Up was a big success, and the Navara pick-up is looking to follow in its tyre tracks.
Developed alongside the Pathfinder SUV, the Navara benefits from features normally found only on regular road cars whilst still providing the level of utility demanded by buyers in this sector. The Navara is available in King Cab or Double Cab forms, with the King Cab using short rear doors to access occasional rear seats, while the Double Cab offers seating for six.
The Navara fits the traditional template for a pick-up, with a tall and long bodyshape, short front overhang and a long rear load bed. The rear of the load bed has a tailgate which folds to a horizontal position, allowing longer loads and also offering a stable platform.
Mechanically the Navara has a number of features designed to maximise its versatility. All models come with selectable four-wheel drive, which allows the driver to switch between two and four-wheel drive. There is also a high/low range gearbox for heavy duty off-roading or towing, and a lockable differential for difficult conditions. The Navara also uses leaf-spring rear suspension which is perfect for maximum load carrying capacity and excellent wheel articulation.
Despite the hardcore nature of the Navara's mechanicals, the cabin is much more akin to a passenger car than a pick-up. The dashboard layout is simple and attractive, and would not confuse a normal car driver. The Outlaw model is also highly specified - as standard it features rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, cruise control and climate control, a host of features not commonly associated with pick-ups.
Our verdict on the Nissan Navara King Cab Outlaw
The Navara manages to successfully bridge the gap between a working vehicle and an SUV, with sufficient levels of comfort and luxury to satisfy most ordinary buyers, yet the level of utility gives it the capability to deal with a wide range of conditions.
Running costs for the Navara will be quite good for a vehicle of this size, thanks to the efficient diesel engine, relatively low insurance group and decent servicing costs.
Space and practicality
In one respect the Navara is very spacious: the load bay is huge, allowing a large quantity of cargo to be carried with ease. For more security, a hard of soft load cover is available. Inside the front seat passengers also have plenty of space, with good head and legroom. In the rear, occasional seats are fitted which perhaps explains why there is insufficient space.
Controls and display
The layout in the Navara is very good indeed, with a clear and attractive set of controls. The column stalks are chunky, the steering wheel buttons conveniently located and the instruments clear and easy to read. The controls for the satellite navigation can be a little fiddly, but the steering wheel controls or voice activation can be used instead.
The Navara provides a good level of comfort mostly from the supportive seats. The ride quality is generally good, and although the engine is noisy than some diesels in regular passenger cars, noise levels are generally well contained.
An engine immobiliser and alarm system are fitted to all models as standard, as well as deadlocks on all doors. Remote central locking also adds another level of convenience.
All Navara models are fitted with ABS, EBD and twin front airbags as standard, while higher specification versions also benefit from side and curtain airbags. Although ESP is not fitted, the selectable four-wheel drive system does offer an extra layer of security and grip.
Despite its dimensions and off-road ability, the Navara is little more difficult to drive than a regular car. The gearchange is chunky and firm but accurate, the pedals are easy to operate and all round vision is good. The engine responds well, although it is a little noisier than passenger cars it offers good acceleration and cruising. The ride quality is mostly good, although the sophistication of the rear suspension can be shown up with occasional vertical movements.
Family car appeal
In King Cab form the Navara lacks space in the rear to be a true family car, even with the large load bay. However, a Double Cab version, possibly with a cover for the load bay could accommodate children, their car seats and plenty of luggage to go with it.
First car appeal
The Navara, although quite easy to drive, is probably too large and expensive for a first time buyer, and has many features which would be unnecessary for many new drivers.
Quality and image
As a humble pick-up, the level of quality inside the Navara is very impressive. In fact, even competing on level terms with SUVs, the Navara has good quality cabin materials and a decent level of finish, even if it is functional rather than luxurious. The Navara's image builds on its rugged utility, yet the exterior styling helps to put it above the status of a commercial vehicle.
Getting into the front of the Navara is a cinch, with a handy step for shorter drivers and wide opening doors. The clever 'suicide' doors on King Cab models aid access to the rear, but the amount of space on offer means adults will have a harder time to get into the seats.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
With a radio/CD unit incorporating a six-disc CD changer fitted as standard, the Navara's audio package is impressive. Sound quality is also very good and the system has a powerful output. Controls mounted on the steering wheel are also useful.
Colours and trim
The exterior of the Navara is highlighted best by the striking blue paint option, while on the inside the grey colouring of the cabin is offset by the good quality materials used.
Although the Navara is a long and relatively wide vehicle, all round visibility is very good, and the squared-off styling makes it easy to judge the vehicle's extremities. Its height does mean that lower objects may be harder to spot, and the low-geared steering can mean a lot of arm twirling during parking.
Full size spare wheel mounted underneath the vehicle.
Engine option: 2.5-litre diesel (169bhp), mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with low range option. A five-speed automatic is available on Outlaw or Aventura Double Cab models. Trim levels are standard, SE and Outlaw, with a high-spec Aventura model on Double Cab models.
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