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Nissan raises pickup stake

PLANT Manufacturer's latest launch offers significantly more power for increased payload and towing capacity

NISSAN has raised the bar for its pickup truck competitors with the launch of a double-cab Navara pickup at the Commercial Vehicle show last week.

With pickup sales continuing to enjoy a buoyant time, helped by the Chancellor's flat rate tax benefit of £500 a year, manufacturers have been motivated to develop further new vehicles.

Built on the firm's Pathfinder 4x4 chassis, the Navara now packs 403 Nm of torque and 174 hp from a 2.5litre four-cylinder motor, which puts it almost 40 hp ahead of its nearest rival - Mitsubishi's L200 Animal.

The larger chassis means Navara is now 265 mm longer than its predecessor, with load area dimensions of 1,160 mm between the wheel arches, and measuring 1,515 mm in length - extending to 2,042 mm with the tailgate lowered. Payloads are comfortably in excess of one tonne.

It has a towing capacity in excess of three tonnes, giving it the muscle needed to haul a mini excavator on a trailer.

'Navara is now much more capable as a multi-purpose commercial vehicle, ' said Nissan UK 4x4 and van specialist Andrew Limbert.'Its larger chassis and longer wheelbase have given us a better foundation onto which to incorporate more features.'

Nissan is only the second manufacturer to offer an automatic transmission on a UK-spec diesel pickup, the Navara gets five-speed automatic or six-speed manual options. It is expected to cost about £1,000 more than its predecessor when it goes on sale in August.

n Also at the CV Show, Ford unveiled a prototype tipping body for its Ranger single cab pickup, out of recognition that conventional pickups often lack versatility.

The electrically powered tipping body is mounted on its own sub-frame, which raises the bed above the rear wheels and avoids wheel-arch intrusion into the load area. Removable aluminium drop-sides can also provide a flat load space.