Nissan has completed its Navara family with the King Cab which opened its rear-hinged, rear doors for the first time at last week’s Barcelona Motor Show. It will join the Navara Double Cab (first shown at the Geneva Show in March) in Nissan GB’s showrooms in August, their joint aim to make the Navara ruler of the UK’s rapidly expanding pick-up market.

Designed in tandem with the recently launched Pathfinder – and built side-by-side with this Discovery class SUV at Nissan’s NMISA plant in Barcelona – the new Navara brings SUV qualities to the utility market. It shares much of its mechanical layout with the Pathfinder and also adopts many of its technical features, such as integrated DVD satellite navigation system and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

While those traditional pick-up buyers are expected to appreciate Navara’s ‘go anywhere, do anything’ qualities, the newcomer’s higher levels of comfort, quality and refinement are also expected to attract playtime users who can use the combination of four-wheel drive and a versatile load area to go skiing or snowboarding in the winter and sailing or windsurfing in the summer.

Like the Pathfinder, the Navara features a rugged ladder-frame chassis onto which the body is securely fixed. The Navara has a refined independent front suspension system featuring double wishbones and coil springs. This is teamed with a rigid axle and over slung leaf springs at the rear, designed to provide the best possible payload levels while providing SUV-like ride & handling and comfort.

The Navara shares the Pathfinder’s bold front-end styling incorporating Nissan’s three-section mesh grille split by the now familiar diagonal ‘balanced angle strut’ motif. It’s all change behind the B-pillars, however.

Nissan’s Navara will be available in two different formats – King Cab and Double Cab. The just revealed King Cab can seat two adults in the front and has two occasional seats in the back of the cabin suitable for children or, over short journeys, for adults. The area can also double as a home for dogs.

Cabin space is much more generous than the equivalent version of the outgoing Pickup: the most notable increase is the extra 114mm in the distance from the back of the front seats to the cabin’s rearmost panel. As a result, the Navara has more comfortable forward facing rear seats in place of the side facing seats found in Pickup. And easier access than most of its competitors thanks to its four-door configuration.  The back ‘half’ doors are rear-hinged and open to 90 degrees. This, combined with the lack of a central B-pillar, creates the widest possible opening for both passengers and for stowing luggage.

Cabin storage space has been thoughtfully conceived. The cabin has two glove boxes ahead of the front passenger offering a total of 6.4-litres of space, a 6.0-litre storage box within the centre console and a small storage area on top of the dashboard. Coin, cup and card holders can also be found in the centre console, while there’s a sun glasses holder in a practical overhead console in the roof.

There are also deep door pockets while a detachable storage box can be found under the rear seats. When not in use, the rear seat back rests can be stowed vertically and the seat squabs flipped up individually to provide extra storage space within the cabin. The front passenger seat also folds flat to allow longer objects to be carried within the cabin. In total, there are no fewer than eight different seating/cargo configurations.

The larger cabin is reflected in increased overall dimensions. The Navara is 5220mm long (an increase of 175mm over Pickup), 1850mm wide and 1780mm tall. The wheelbase has been extended to 3200mm, an increase of 250mm over the Pickup.

But the serious load story concerns the pick-up bed, which provides best-in-class load space in its market segment. This is thanks, in part, to a design which reduces the intrusion of rear wheel housings to a minimum. The King Cab’s bed has a minimum width between the wheel housings of 1130mm and a length of 1861mm.

The result is impressive: thanks to having the largest practical bed width in its class, King Cab can hold a typical quad bike, while mountain bikes and off-road motor cycles can be carried no problem. With the tailgate opened, the King Cab will even carry a number of 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood.

The Double Cab Navara bridges the gap between SUV-like comfort and the functional attributes of an authentic pick-up. This has led Nissan to add a new acronym to the motoring world: Sport Utility Truck (SUT), Nissan’s answer to a growing demand among European customers for a more civilised pick-up vehicle.

The Double Cab version has a three-seater rear bench in an enlarged cabin, providing ample room for five. The larger interior dimensions mean even more space for rear passengers with head, shoulder and knee room improved by 90mm, 98mm and 177mm respectively.

The Double Cab also has a full roster of interior storage spaces and its rear seats also flip up – on a 60/40 split – to create extra storage space behind the front seats. As in the King Cab, there are eight different seating/cargo configurations within the Double Cab.

With its larger passenger compartment, the Double Cab naturally has a shorter bed, but still provides best in class load capacity. Sharing a minimum width dimension between the wheel housings of 1130mm with the King Cab, it has an internal bed length of 1511mm.

Tethering loads on the move has also been made easier in the Navara thanks to a feature unique in this segment. This factory-fitted option incorporates five rails (one channel on either side of the load floor, plus one on each of the three fixed sides of the pick-up bed) into which self-locking cleats can be placed, providing fixed points for securing ropes.

The Double Cab also offers an optional multi-functional roof rack, likely to be standard on top versions, that allows ladders or surfboards to be carried without fear of damaging Navara’s paint or bodywork. The rack has been designed specifically for Navara and incorporates aerodynamically designed crossbars to reduce wind noise and improve fuel economy.

The Navara’s four-wheel drive system uses Nissan’s authentic and proven part-time four-wheel drive system which provides drive to the rear wheels under normal conditions or a 50/50 torque split to all four wheels when 4WD mode is engaged.  Navara’s four-wheel drive system also has both high and low ratio modes, the crawl ratio being best in class and providing outstanding levels of traction over slippery surfaces, especially on tricky hill descents. All three modes are selected electrically via an easy to use rotary dial on the dashboard, selection being confirmed by a dashboard mode indicator.

Another refinement is the fitment of an electronically controlled rear differential lock. Operating in low ratio four-wheel drive only, the diff lock can be used in an emergency, for example when one of the rear wheels has lost traction in mud or heavy snow.  The Navara’s off-road ability is further enhanced by its wheel-arch filling 17in alloy wheels, generous minimum ground clearance figure of 238mm, and approach and departure angles of 32 deg and 26 deg respectively.

Like the Pathfinder, Navara’s power comes from Nissan’s newly developed 2.5-litre YD series four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It now features second-generation common rail technology with 1800 bar fuel injection pump for lower emissions, a variable nozzle turbocharger providing more power and lower emissions and there’s a new balancer system for greater refinement.  Its output, 174PS, is class-leading and, more significantly, there’s an impressive 403Nm of torque.

A choice of transmissions is available: a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. The high levels of torque mean the Navara is capable of pulling up to 2.7 tonnes without complaint. The brakes feature ventilated front discs with efficient drums at the rear,
while steering is a precise rack and pinion system.

Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date in August.