Edward Stephens tests the rugged new Nissan Navara Tekna Double Cab
It’s big, it’s brash and it’s hardly the easiest vehicle to take into a multi-storey car park but there’s just something about the Nissan Navara that endears you to it.
It’s like driving a giant Tonka toy. When you are behind the wheel other cars tend to show you some respect – and keep well clear.
At well over 17ft long the Navara Double Cab is not a vehicle to be driven by the faint hearted.
Despite its size and weight though it’s surprisingly quick once you get out of first gear. That 188 bhp, 2.5-litre diesel has torque in abundance and through the next five gears there is no hanging about.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because it’s a 4x4 you are going to rough it.
Inside the double cab of the Navara Tekna it’s civilised with a capital C.
Full leather upholstery and electrically adjustable seats – which are heated, for when the temperature drops – all add to the comfort of the occupants, as does the dual zone climate control.
Add to that an electric glass sunroof, DVD sat nav, automatic headlamps, headlamp wash, rain sensing windscreen wipers, a trip computer, cruise control, footwell illumination, a 6CD autochanger with steering wheel controls, power fold mirrors, rear dark tinted glass and roof rails and it’s hard not to be captivated by the Navara.
And that’s the beauty of this Nissan. You get all the comforts of an up-market saloon/hatchback with the practicality of a vehicle with a load bed which is 5ft long and capable of carrying more than most people will ever throw at it. In fact it can carry 1125kg and tow a 2.6 tonne trailer.
Certainly when I needed to move a few tree branches the Navara just swallowed up amounts that no hatch or estate could even look at.
When it comes to manoeuvring the Navara in confined spots you soon become aware that it makes sense to turn the steering wheel a few times before you move away, as it takes almost four complete revolutions of the wheel to take it from lock to lock.
Nevertheless this is all part of the character of this giant of the road, and once you get used to it the whole thing becomes second nature. My only gripe about driving the Navara is, because of the very nature of the beast, the lack of concealed storage space. There are two large glove boxes as well as spaces under the split rear seats but if you have a bulky laptop, for example, or a big sportsbag there is nowhere to conceal it from prying eyes when you park up.
When the going gets tough, however, the Navara still keeps on going, thanks to its part-time four-wheel drive system which provides drive to the rear wheels under normal conditions or a 50/50 torque split to all four wheels when 4WD is engaged.
High and low ratio modes and a limited slip differential make sure you don’t get stuck anywhere.
The beauty of driving the rear wheels only for on-road use means the Navara is surprisingly economical to run. Over a week of covering several hundred miles I averaged around 31 miles per gallon. Not quite as many as the official consumption but impressively close.
Reverting back to a “normal” car after a week with the Navara was a bit of an anticlimax
Nissan Navara Tekna Double Cab
Mechanical: 188bhp, 2488cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving all wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 112 mph 0-60mph: 11.1 secs
Combined mpg: 33.2
CO2 emissions: 224 g/km
Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles