This latest version of Nissan’s big Navara has changed only slightly as the Japanese firm does not want to rock the boat with what is widely acknowledged to be Europe’s best selling pickup truck.
Externally, it is now a little longer, more rounded and finished inside with a sharper-looking centre console that has become easier to use. But is the truck any more accomplished?
The top-spec Tekna version gets a revised YD25 engine which now delivers a whopping 190hp and a hefty slug of torque - 450Nm.
This is a smoother, more frugal and keener truck to drive than any of its predecessors. And it has class-leading performance in this
company of workhorses.
It was never a crude pickup to drive, although the suspension of the unladen truck does get fidgety on a long journey - far better to weigh the load bay down just to take the sharpness from the rear suspension.
Any cargo will be easy to retain, however, with Nissan’s clever load lashing system that uses sliding clamps on a rail system. Each of the four supplied clamps can be relocated and fastened anywhere on the rails which are located around the bed’s three sides and on the floor.
Inside the truck, and the interior is now much more modern and the central console has become a pinnacle of clarity others will find it hard to better. Disappointingly, the front seats are no match for the L200’s supportive buckets.
The optional Nissan Connect Premium sat-nav and on-board computer with its touch-screen functions is nigh-on idiot proof, and it includes a clever reversing camera system built into the tailgate’s handle to help come to terms with the big Nissan’s bulk when you are reversing in confined spaces.
The reversing camera clearly shows the towbar too, making hitching up unaided an absolute doddle. Though we did find that spray from wet road conditions can soon cloud the camera’s view, and an occasional wipe before reversing becomes essential in wintery conditions.
Steering wheel controls are plentiful and easy to use. And the cruise control function cleverly displays your set speed beneath the speedometer, so there’s no mistaking your target speed when resume is chosen. The activation button also operates as a useful self-setting speed limiter, so great for towing when it is easy to forget that you are restricted to different limits with a trailer behind.
For all its comfort and interior space, you cannot escape the fact that the Navara is a big truck. And it needs a big space when you need to swing about, with a steering lock that would not get you back on 12m tramlines were you using it for slug pelleting when the ATV is out of action.
Nor did we like the rubbery-feel of the six-speed manual gearbox, which is akin to stirring porridge when looking for gears, but it is the only one here that brings six cogs to the party and it does help progress, although a taller sixth gear might help with economy.
With our 2,250kg laden trailer combination on the back, the big Nissan simply toyed with the Bateson and its 1,800kg load. It was a case of checking mirrors frequently to ensure there was still something hooked behind.