Nissan Navara Visia

Double-Cab

Nissan Navara, 2016, front
Nissan Navara, 2016, front, action
Nissan Navara, 2016, off road
Nissan Navara, 2016, rear
Nissan Navara, 2016, side
Nissan Navara, 2016, interior

PICK-UPS have proliferated in the modern motoring world for some time now, in part because they present a very tempting option as a company car.

Without going into all the small print, they are classed as light commercial vehicles and as such are taxed differently to conventional company cars.

If you do opt for one as a company car you'll pay a flat rate, that's not determined by CO2 emissions or the value of the car.

The bottom line is that as a 20 per cent tax payer you could have one as a company car for a little over £50 a month.

The benefits are many. You'll get oodles of practicality and with many pick-ups offering four-wheel drive it means you can have all-wheel drive capability for a fraction of the cost of a more sophisticated SUV.

The downsides are few but worth considering before taking the plunge and pretty much centre around a pick-up's bulk, utilitarian and basic nature and ruggedness over refinement.

They're still essentially working vehicles and therefore have limitations when it comes down to everyday use but ultimately it boils down to a balancing act.

Nissan's latest Navara claims to do much to bridge the gap between off-road workhouse capability and on-road refinement and could therefore offer a persuasive argument for a pick-up over an estate or an SUV.

At the end of the day no pick-up is going to make for the perfect suburban runabout (try doing a three-point turn in one) or a refined motorway cruiser but does it offer enough to be able to live with day-to day?

Nissan have certainly aimed to make the latest Navara as comfortable as possible.

There are King-Cab or Double-Cab versions and if you want something that's going to serve as a family car you'll really need to plump for the Double-Cab, which has a proper rear bench as opposed to the King-Cab's fold-down pair of seats.

It also has an entirely different rear suspension system - a five-link coil-spring rear set-up which enhances both comfort and dynamics. The King-Cab's leaf springs on the rear set-up are a limitation, as are the smaller rear doors.

One of the biggest changes in the latest version is a new greener version of Nissan's 2.3-litre dCi diesel engine.

There are two power variants - 158bhp and 187bhp - with emissions as low as 159g/km and improved fuel economy. They're also more powerful, which is an added bonus.

Once upon a time buying a pick-up meant having to sacrifice creature comforts big time but this is no longer the case.

This entry-level Visia Double-Cab version came with a standard equipment list as long as your arm - including a body-coloured front bumper, a raft of airbags, alarm and immobiliser, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, Bluetooth telephone integration, a six-speaker radio and CD sound system, an auxiliary MP3 player socket and USB port.

In addition you get air conditioning, steering wheel mounted audio controls, electric windows front and rear, electrically adjustable door mirrors, cruise control, speed limiter, automatic headlights and trip computer.

Trim levels also include Acenta, Acenta+, N-Connecta and Tekna.

Certainly the Navara is a comfortable enough vehicle to be in and travel around in.

You never quite forget it's a pick-up and it does have some inherent agricultural characteristics but it's also a world away from those pick-ups of old that really were just designed as working vehicles and had the added bonus of doubling-up as a family car, albeit with many limitations.

In terms of driveability and refinement the Navara measures-up pretty well. I found it pleasant enough during my daily work commute along a variety of roads and even found it relatively easy to park at the supermarket. That was with the standard revers parking sensors rather than the reversing camera fitted to higher spec models.

The Navara is competing in a tough market with lots of commendable pick-ups like the Mitsubishi L200 and Ford Ranger out there.

And there are plenty more on the way, with VW, Fiat and even Mercedes-Benz poised to enter the segment.

Nonetheless Nissan has been making pick-ups for many decades and still knows what it's doing, with the Navara living up to claims to be the best meeting of the waves between road car and working vehicle for the Japanese car maker yet.

Obviously if you want the Navara to double-up as an everyday vehicle you'll need to add in the optional hard-top for the pick-up bed.

5yrs/100,000 miles

FAST FACTS

Nissan Navara Visia Double-Cab

Price: £20,612

Mechanical: 158bhp, 2,298cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:107mph

0-62mph: 12 seconds

Combined MPG: 44.1

Insurance Group: 10

C02 emissions: 159g/km

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