FIVE stars in every way... I never thought I would ever be saying that about, of all things, a pick-up truck.
Well, that's the reality of the new Nissan NP300 Navara. A masterpiece both on and offroad which will see dealers jumping with joy after having competitors such as Volkswagen, Isuzu and Ford squeezing the Japanese marque's hold on their share of the market in recent times.
The new Navara once again sets the standard in terms of comfort, refinement, ruggedness, payload, engine performance, towing capacity and overall practicality, just like the original model did when it was launched no less than 11 years ago.
And to be fair, it had to be good, with the new L200 already in showrooms, a new Amarok, Hilux and Ranger set to appear in the not too distant future and Renault, Fiat and Mercedes-Benz also rumoured to be joining the pick-up party.
Released in the UK only last month, the new Navara has already won a major award, lifting the coveted International Pick-up Award 2016, with judges praising among other things, its off-road ability, on-road performance and value for money.
Surprisingly to many, Nissan have actually been producing pick-ups for more than 80 years, and this long experience has led to to marque being at the forefront of the SUV sector with their X-Trail, Qashqai and Juke models.
And you can see where the new Navara comes from, being something of a mix-and-match between the old Navara workhorse with added refinement and sophistication more in tune with the X-Trail.
Two distinct Navara models are on offer in King Cab or Double Cab guise. The more basic King Cab, available in entry-level Visia trim only but also available in front-wheel-drive, comes with two fold-down rear seats accessed by small "suicide" doors, while the Double Cab version has a comfortable three-seater bench seat in the rear with normal-sized rear doors.
The Double Cab is set to be the most popular by some margin with around 95 per cent of all Navara sales, and to set it apart from the King Cab benefits from a new five-link rear suspension system, transforming the car's ride and handling to that normally reserved for more normal family-orientated passenger vehicles.
Five versions of Double Cab are available, in Nissan's long-established Visia, Acenta, Acenta+, N-Connecta and Tekna trim levels and all are powered by a tried-and-tested, smooth and quiet 2.3-litre diesel engine pumping out either 158bhp or 187bhp while delivering 403Nm or 450Nm of torque respectively.
Fuel economy throughout the range tops the 40mpg mark, with the King Cab 2WD version delivering 44.9mpg, just pipping Double Cab models which come in at 44.1mpg, with the optional seven-speed automatic version still managing to return 40.3mpg. Emission figures vary between 169g/km for the 2WD King Cab and 183g/km for 4x4 automatic models.
Many of the new Navara's advanced safety features - including a number of first-in-class technologies - are available. These include forward emergency braking on all Double Cab models; hill start assist and hill descent control; electronic limited slip differential and driver, passenger, side, knee and curtain airbags.
Other features include daytime running lights, parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, ISOFIX mounting points, while on top-of-the-range Tekna trim models there's a full 360-degree camera monitoring system.
The three-setting, all-wheel-drive system with low-range mode, electronic limited-slip differential and hill descent control makes the new Navara a superb go anywhere all-rounder.
Nissan took us to the wilds of Yorkshire to show just what the Navara could do and even the most hardened of motoring hacks could not fail to be impressed.
On the black stuff, the big pick-up performed just like any refined SUV should: fast, smooth with a compliant ride, but off-road was where the Navara really came into its own.
While farmers, builders and other contractors routinely have to take their pick-up trucks across fields or along dirt or rutted tracks, the new Navara is a truly go-anywhere machine that takes offroading to another level.
Designed to get the vehicle up and down steep and slippery inclines effortlessly and safely, the 4LO setting delivers even more torque at the wheels, while for those working in more extreme off-road situations, the optional mechanical differential lock is a must-have requirement.
With hill descent control, activated by a simple button on the centre console, a network of sensors detect any wheel slip and monitor the level of traction available - automatically "walking" the car down in a slow, controlled descent.
Hill start assist is another feature which Nissan have pioneered over the years for their crossover models and adapted further to suit the Navara it offers great peace of mind, especially for those towing heavy trailers or caravans.
Prices for the new NP300 Navara start at £21,995 for the King Cab 2WD, rising to £30,795 inclusive of VAT for the all-singing, all-dancing Double Cab Automatic in Tekna trim.
All models have a five-year, 100,000 miles warranty and service intervals are set at an unrivalled two-year, 18,000-mile interval, helping keep running costs for the rugged workhorse firmly in check.