Monday, 25 March 2019

Upgraded pick-up is equally strong on power and grace

Upgraded pick-up is equally strong on power and grace

THE second of Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts movies is about to hit cinema screens — and speaking of which I have this week been enjoying the company of a fantastic beast of the car jungle.

The new 2019 Nissan Navara
N-Guard has to be the T-Rex of the species, which is a far cry from its humble beginnings in 1933 as the Datsun 12 — Nissan’s first small commercial vehicle.

Today, of course, these “pick-ups” rival the best SUVs (sport utility vehicles) as the leisure wheels of choice of motorists. They command the same road space, mostly at half the cost of a top-level SUV.

The Navara N-Guard, I am glad to report, takes the pick-up turned leisure vehicle to another level.

What it concentrates on is good looks, with handsome improved lines for 2019, and more comfort inside. The vehicle now displays a nice combination of power and grace.

Too often before, carmakers seem to have fought shy of actually equipping these ex-utility vehicles with as many creature comforts as possible.

My response to this has always been “and why ever not?” The Americans have for decades seen the car as a leisure instrument, something to be enjoyed and comfortable in while clocking up the miles.

To my mind this applies not only to these fantastic beasts but also to the smallest of cars. What’s wrong with having heated seats and a heated steering wheel in a city car? The extra cost in production terms cannot be that great.

Anyway, the N-Guard displays some new attributes that greatly improve the Navara and put it back on track meaningfully to compete in this sector. When the N-Guard was revealed in Paris at the motor show earlier this year, Nissan described it as a “stylish, new special version”.

This version was more desirable thanks to a “contemporary” design upgrade and more standard equipment. Which is exactly what was needed where the Navara was concerned.

Based on the flagship Tekna grade, the front grille, fog lamp surrounds, mirror covers, door handles and rear bumper are all finished in black. Matching side steps and roof rails have been added, along with unique black 18in alloy wheels.

The interior of the headlamps has been darkened, and a powered sunroof with tinted glass is standard as it should be.

The N-Guard comes in three exterior colours — Dark Grey, Metallic Black and Storm White.

The Dark Grey of the test car has to be a winner, less dense than the Metallic Black and more stylish than the Storm White. White as a colour for a car may have been described hopefully as the new black in recent years, but I would suggest both plain black and white need a makeover to more subtle and stylish paint jobs.

The new Navara N-Guard look is completed with decals at the base of the doors, extending on to the load bed behind the rear wheel.

Inside, there are restyled leather seats, which are now noticeably more comfortable and luxurious.

The base and back inserts have been upgraded with a dark grey and yellow design, complemented by yellow double stitching. This feature is replicated on the door trim and on the floor mats.

Front and rear parking sensors and headlamp washers are fitted as standard equipment, which again for my money is as it should be. Previously they were only available as optional extras.

The one item still on the options list is a front differential locker which, when fitted, works in tandem with the Navara’s standard rear differential locker to provide enhanced traction on every type of surface.

For greater off-road performance there is the Navara N-Guard with the Off-Roader AT32 pack. Launched this summer, the pack includes bespoke performance suspension that increases ride height by 20mm, full protection of key under body components and larger 32in tyres. A snorkel to improve wading depth can also be integrated, creating the most capable Navara ever.

The N-Guard’s standard equipment includes Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Around View Monitor. As with every Nissan LCV, the Navara N-Guard comes with a five-year/160,000 km warranty.

Cinema — page 32

Factfile

NISSAN NAVARA N-GUARD

Available as Double Cab with 2.3 dCi 190 PS engine

Available with Off-Roader AT32 pack

Prices start from £28,075

Higher level of standard equipment, including parking sensors and sunroof

Enhancements include new black finish to grille, lights, mirrors, door handles, roof rails and wheels

Motoring

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