July 21, 2019

Top Guard: Nissan’s Navara N-Guard

It may not be to everyone’s taste but Nissan’s special edition N-Guard packs a lot of trim. Dan Gilkes reports.

There is no shortage of trim levels and special editions in the pick-up market. For many years, manufacturers have continued to pile on luxury specifications, to attract premium truck buyers. It’s a policy that seems to have worked too, with the higher trim 4×4 double-cab models grabbing the lion’s share of UK sales.

Nissan is no stranger to this end of the market, having offered a number of high-trim versions of Navara over the years. The latest is the Navara N-Guard, which builds upon the range-topping Tekna model, with a revised front grille and black fog light surrounds, door handles, rear bumper and mirror covers.

There are also matching side steps and roof rails, along with black 18” alloys and the inevitable N-Guard decals. We’ll leave you to decide if they are to your taste, bearing in mind that Twilight Grey, Metallic Black and Storm White are the only available colours.

There is only one choice of engine too, though Nissan’s twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine delivers a very healthy 190bhp and 450Nm of torque, so that is no hardship. You can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed automatic, though the auto box adds a substantial £1,450 to the final price.

But it’s money well spent if you put in the miles. The seven-speed transmission is smooth and responsive, changing down quickly when required for an overtake. There are no paddles to take control of manual gearchanges, though you can nudge the main lever to the left and then push forward and back to swap or hold gears if required. It’s a fairly predictive transmission though and we rarely felt the need to manually select gears, even for additional engine braking when approaching a roundabout.

N-Guard trim includes restyled leather and cloth seats, door trims and floor mats, with coloured stitching and logos. You also get the Tekna’s NissanConnect 2.0 sat-nav and entertainment system. This is starting to show its age in these days of high-definition 10 and 12” screens, but it still does the job, providing clear navigation, DAB radio and a colour monitor for the standard reversing camera.

The truck also gets Nissan’s Around View Monitor, which shows a bird’s eye view of the truck at speeds of up to 10km/h. This makes it easy to park in a busy urban street, but also comes into its own off-road, when maneuvering between trees and rocks.

In all, it’s a comfortable cab and a good place to spend the day. Of course, all double-cab Navara models come with independent coil spring rear suspension, which ensures a smoother ride than traditional leaf springs, even when unladen. The truck also delivers assured handling, particularly on wet, wintery roads, where it never felt less than solidly planted and secure.

Unexpectedly, I was also glad to be able to easily access the full four-wheel drive experience, having woken to a hotel car park in Yorkshire that had more in common with the set from Dancing On Ice, than a normal patch of asphalt.

As with all range-topping pick-ups, the Nissan N-Guard offers pretty much anything a truck user could require. It is comfortable, plenty powerful enough and retains the ability to carry over 1-tonne and to pull a 3.5-tonne trailer.

Colours and model-specific graphics will always be down to personal choice, but at just £900 more than a comparable Tekna model, the N-Guard certainly delivers a bit more individuality for your money.