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The 2016 Navara was the third pickup truck to offer a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, after the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max – though with the Toyota Hilux and even the SsangYong Musso following suite, this is rapidly becoming standard fare, so don’t necessarily make that a deciding factor.
Following the Euro 6 upgrade, most Navaras also saw a slight increase in payload capacity, which now ranges from 1,047kg for a mid-spec four-wheel drive Double Cab version to 1,156kg for the entry-level two-wheel drive King Cab.
That said. this still lags slightly behind the best in the sector, with the equivalent Toyota Hilux and VW Amarok double cab pickups able to carry over 1,100kg.
At 2.46 metres square, the load area on the Navara Double Cab is one of the largest in class, although that 474mm side wall height is also among the lowest.
Helping keep everything steady in the back, the Navara also boasts unique (at least until the platform-sharing Mercedes-Benz X-Class arrives…) sliding C-clamps, which are standard from the Acenta trim level upwards.
These sit in rails that are fixed to the side of the load area, and can be adjusted to clamp and holds loads in place. An additional set of rails is also available for load floor.
Safety in pickup trucks typically falls well short of passenger cars, but the situation is improving.
The Nissan NP300 Navara has no less than seven airbags as standard (driver, passenger, side, knee and curtain), in addition to electronic stability control on all models.
What's more, Forward Emergency Braking, an autonomous emergency braking system that watches the road ahead for signs of an impending impact in order to provide visual and audible warnings before automatically applying the brakes, is standard on all Double Cab Navaras.
Nissan claims the NP300 Navara is the least expensive pickup to run, ahead, even, of the 2015 Mitsubishi L200. Fuel economy is best in class and service intervals are set at a lengthy two years, or 25,000 miles, way ahead of most rivals.
While Nissan vans typically perform poorly when it comes to the cost of parts, the Japanese manufacturer has said that it is working hard to bring this down for the Navara, and claims it will be one of, if not the cheapest, in the sector.
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This is an all-new vehicle, which makes commenting on the reliability difficult at this stage. Nissan is very confident in its product, however, and is offering a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty; the only pickup to offer more warranty coverage is the Isuzu D-Max, which runs to five years or 125,000 miles.
The 2.3-litre engine has proved to be fairly reliable in the Nissan NV400 van, with no serious concerns since its 2010 introduction.
We are slightly sceptical, however, at the prospect of coil spring suspension coping with heavy-duty loads – this is the first time a 3.5t towing capacity has been offered with anything other than leaf spring suspension on a pickup.
That said, SsangYong's similarly-equipped Musso now also offers 3.5-tonne towing.
Previous-generation 'D40' Navara models suffered from a number of issues, including the engine block, which has been known to fail under strenuous conditions.
Most notorious of all, however, is the so-called 'snapped chassis' problem which afflicts those older Navaras. Hopefully Nissan has cured this problem for the 2016-onwards model.
Nissan Navara ‘snapped chassis’ issue – all you need to know
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