THE days when pick-up trucks were simple basic workhorse vehicles aimed specifically at self-employed builders and land workers have long gone.
Today there is a new breed offering a bit more sophistication and car-like fitted interiors.
Whilst still ideal for hard graft use on building sites and across rugged farm land with four-wheel-drive on tap, they are also now aimed at the growing leisure sector of the market where motorists and their families are keen on adventure outdoor sports like surfboarding, sailing and quad biking.
Quick to recognise this new growth area all the major car makers are now offering such models, none more so than Nissan who have been building pick-up trucks for the best part of 80 years and clearly have the right know-how and expertise.
The latest Nissan one-tonne load carrier incarnation is the NP300 Navara which is available either as a family, leisure-orientated Double Cab or as a more common garden utility and everyday workhorse, the King Cab.
Both are powered by a 2.3-litre diesel engine with a choice of either 157bhp output or with a double turbocharger on board a more than handy 187bhp.
Nissan says 95 per cent of Navara buyers are opting for the Double Cab and it's easy to see why.
This is an ideal double-use model that can easily be driven around for day-to-day domestic use and also for loading up a family of five plus a jet ski, a couple of surf boards or whatever and all the associated paraphernalia for weekend active leisure pursuits.
This is because the Double Cab has exactly what's needed for family activity - a driver and passenger seat in the front and immediately behind three more comfortable seats with enough leg and head room for even three adults at a push.
The interior is very car-like with quality finish trim, good lumbar supporting seats and if opting for the top specification Tekna, as on this model, there are a few little extras like an efficient to use NissanConnect seven-inch touch screen.
Which ever trim level is chosen all come with energy braking system, seven airbags, anti-theft immobiliser, central locking and locking wheel nuts, rear parking sensors while the Tekna has a 360-degree view monitor giving a clear view all round the vehicle making to so easy to manoeuvre in and out of tight parking spots.
As for the ride itself this too is quite car-like with the Double Cab having a different and better suspension than the King Cab which means quite a smooth on-road experience and taking it for some off-road work is also simple.
There's a selectable four-wheel-drive button to switch into which give low-range mode with electric limited- slip differential and along with standard features like hill descent control plus hill start control and having experience some tough, off-road work across the rain saturated North Yorkshire Moors on test it was easily capable of ploughing on relentless without blinking.
Helped too by some positive feeling steering and a responsive engine when needed it gives an equally impressive and satisfying on-road performance with manners and the only disappointment is the six-speed manual gearbox, which is a bit notchy and not as smooth to change up and down gears as on a couple of rivals models.
Better to opt for the automatic gearbox in my view which although may be not so good on fuel consumption figures having tried it previously it feels much better to use both on and off-road.
Talking of fuel consumption Nissan claims the combined figure with the manual gearbox is 44.1mpg, which is decent enough for a vehicle of this magnitude, and over 700 miles on-road and about 30 miles off-road it averaged out at a commendable 38.2mpg.
The Double Cab with the twin turbo diesel engine under the bonnet pulls well enough and has a 3,500kg towing capacity and a payload of 1,062kg which means it's easily capable of carry enough outdoor equipment for the family as well as decent enough to towing.
Price-wise the Navara stacks up well against its rivals with the top of the range Tenka coming in at £24,792 and which also had added on £500 for the rear differential lock and another £360 for the bedliner protection to cover the rear open load area.
Buyers can opt too for either a hard top rear cover or a cheaper tonneau cover, both are optional purchases.
The new NP300 Nissan Navara just shows how far pick-up trucks have come since those dark days of rather crude workhorses.
Here is a comfortable, better equipped and furnished but still totally practical pick-up with a real car-like interior plus the added bonus of now with a five years/100,000 warranty.