Nissan Navara Review

The Nissan Navara looks more interesting than most pickups, is one of the comfiest to drive and can carry and tow a lot. Its infotainment system is average, though. 

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Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Comfy to drive for a pickup
  • Generous payload...
  • ...And towing limit

What's not so good

  • Infotainment
  • Steering
  • Wind and road noise

Nissan Navara: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

There’s a reason you’re seeing more and more pickups like the Nissan Navara on the roads. Not long ago, pickups were pretty rudimentary things built to survive the harsh day-to-day on farms and building sites, but these days they’re comfy and practical enough that they’re being used for the school run and weekly shop too.

Even better, because pickups that can carry more than one tonne are classed as light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and therefore cost much less to own as a company car, there are decent savings to be made versus a normal SUV.

And the Nissan Navara gives you another reason – it’s actually quite stylish for a pickup. OK, so it’s not exactly an Italian sports car from the 1960s, but its shapely bonnet flowing lines over its wheel arches give it a sleek look that most pickups can’t match. Inside it’s less impressive on the style front, but everything does at least feel well screwed together.

Nissan’s touchscreen infotainment system, though, looks and feels decidedly old hat these days. That’s if your Navara even has it – Visia and Accenta models get no screen. From N-Connecta and up you get an 8-inch screen with built-in sat-nav, but it isn’t the most responsive to use and its onscreen icons are often too small. Still, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with this system, which improves the experience.

Most pickups are fairly ungainly things to look at, but Nissan has managed to create one that’s actually quite sleek. I like it.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

A couple of adults will have no issues with space in the front, while both front seats get a generous amount of manual adjustment. The driver enjoys a good amount of manual steering wheel adjustment too. The Navara comes as either a King Cab with two occasional seats in the rear that offer very little space, or a Double Cab. The latter is the better bet because another two adults will find headroom and knee room good sat in the rear seats. That said, adding a third, though, will make things less comfortable on a long journey.

The Navara’s load bay is one of the best in the business, though. Every model will take a euro pallet between its wheel arches, and you can carry up to 1180kg depending on the model you choose.

Two engines are available, both 2.3-litre diesels, but with either 163 or 190hp. The former comes with a 6-speed manual only, whereas the 190hp version gets the option of a seven-speed automatic. All Navaras get four-wheel drive as standard. The 163hp version is strong enough to deal with most tasks, but if you regularly tow or fill the loadbay then you’ll be glad of the stronger engine’s extra poke, even if all Navara’s will ultimately tow 3500kg.

Nissan has given the Navara more advanced rear suspension than you’ll find on most pickups, and as such, it’s more comfortable to drive than most too – although traditional SUVs are more comfortable still. The Navara’s steering is also pretty vague, which combined with average body control makes it no fun in the corners. Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of wind and road noise to contend with on the motorway too.

So, as long as you go for at least N-Connecta trim you’re buying a stylish, spacious, well-equipped pickup that’ll also haul and tow as much as the best.

What's it like inside?

The Navara’s interior is nothing much to look at, but it is at least well built. Sadly, the infotainment options are all looking and feeling long-in-the-tooth. 

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

The Double Cab is the best bet if you regularly carry passengers, but all Navaras will carry an impressive amount of weight in their load bays.

I don’t really understand the appeal of the King Cab. The rear seats are restricted to the point that they’re better for bags. Just buy the Double Cab – most people do!

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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A couple of adults will have no issues with space in the front, while both front seats get a generous amount of manual adjustment. The driver enjoys a good amount of manual steering wheel adjustment too.

The Navara comes as either a King Cab with two occasional seats in the rear that offer very little space, or a Double Cab. The latter is the better bet, because another two adults will find headroom and knee room good sat in the rear seats.

That said, adding a third, though, will make things less comfortable on a long journey thanks to tight shoulder room, and the middle passenger won’t much enjoy the narrow raised middle seat itself.

Happily, Double Cab models come with easy-to-find Isofix points on their outer rear seats and getting a child seat inside isn’t too taxing, thanks to the rear doors leaving a wide opening.

There isn’t much in the way of storage inside the Nissan Navara. The front door bins are pretty modest, as is the glove box and there’s nothing save for two cupholders around the gear lever. The open tray on top of the dashboard is fairly shallow and not cover, too, but at least the cubby beneath the front armrest is a decent size.

In the back things aren’t much better. There are no rear doors bins at all, while the pockets on the backs of the front seats aren’t particularly generous.

The Navara’s load bay is one of the best in the business. Every model will take a euro pallet between its wheel arches, and you can carry up to 1221kg depending on the model you choose.

All but entry-level Visia models (on which they’re optional) come with C-channels in the load bay to which lashing points can be attached. There are also various optional load bay liners, roll-covers, hardtops and rear bars can be added to make your Navara more practical and stylish.

What's it like to drive?

The Navara has more advanced rear suspension than most pickups and it shows on the road. However, this is no hot hatch – traditional SUVs are still sharper and comfier.

If you’re buying a pickup for driving thrills then you’re doing it wrong. They’re built to carry a tonne in the back and often behave better on-road with a full load on board.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Two engines are available, both 2.3-litre diesels, but with either 163 or 190hp. The former comes with a 6-speed manual only, whereas the 190hp version gets the option of a seven-speed automatic. All Navaras get four-wheel drive as standard. 

The 163hp version is strong enough to deal with most tasks, but if you regularly tow or fill the loadbay then you’ll be glad of the stronger engine’s extra poke, even if all Navara’s will ultimately tow 3500kg. 

Nissan has given the Navara more advanced rear suspension than you’ll find on most pickups, and as such, it’s more comfortable to drive over bumps in town than most too – although traditional SUVs are more comfortable still.

The Navara’s steering is also pretty vague, which combined with average body control makes it no fun in the corners. Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of wind and road noise to contend with on the motorway too.

Still, the light steering helps in urban situations and seeing out of the Navara isn’t difficult in any direction. Even so, you’ll be glad of the rear camera that comes as standard from N-Connecta trim and very glad of the four-camera 360-degree parking aid that comes with Tekna models. Rear parking sensors get thrown in too on range-topping N-Guard models, but you can also add them as an option to every trim.

And if you’d like a little more capability when driving off-road, every Navara can be optionally upgraded to include a rear diff-lock. This’ll keep the engine’s drive spread evenly over the rear wheels to ensure power is being put down in sticky situations.

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