It can be hard to know what to improve and how far to go when updating one of the best pick-ups in the market, but Nissan has risen to the challenge with the Navara.

This has resulted in a comprehensive mid-life upgrade with plenty to please farmers – but the biggest changes are all ones you’ll have to dig a bit deeper to discover, but like buried treasure they reward the effort.

Prime among these is the multi-link rear suspension that’s now standard across the range, including the King Cab models. Not only does this offer a much more comfortable ride and better controlled handling on the road, it comes with the added benefits of raising the rear suspension by 25mm for better off-road clearance and ups the Navara’s maximum payload by 46kg to 1310kg. Choose the Double Cab and peak payload is 1180kg.

To help with the increased weight it can handle, the Navara’s 163hp 2.3-litre dCi turbodiesel engine now comes with twin turbos. It may be the entry point to the engine range, but this unit now boasts 425 Nm of torque that comes on song from 1500rpm and stays put until gradually tailing off at 2500rpm.

It may be a workhorse, but the boost in performance and flexibility make this version of the Navara much easier to live with now on road as acceleration is on a par with most hatchbacks.

Head off-road and the extra 22Nm of torque – compared to the previous single turbo 2.3-litre motor – is immediately obvious. The Nissan has no trouble heading up steep tracks, even with a trailer hitched up and the four-wheel drive system remains as simple as ever thanks to the rotary dial to swap between high and low-ratio settings.

The 163hp engine is quiet and is now attached to a new six-speed manual gearbox, which helps make the Navara a better cruiser on A-roads and the motorway, while offering a better spread of ratios for driving off-road. Just as pleasingly, the gear lever has a much smoother and shorter action than the previous five-speeder. This combination returns 40.4mpg and 184g/km CO2 emissions in the popular Double Cab model.

If you opt for the more powerful 190hp motor, you get the same gearbox and a little added torque. Or, depending on which trim level you choose, you can also have a seven-speed automatic transmission with the higher output engine that’s smooth and makes life easier.

With the increased power and payload of the Navara, Nissan has also upped the braking capacity of its pick-up. The previous version’s drum rear brakes have been ditched in favour of discs and the front discs are now 4mm larger in diameter. Nissan claims there’s a 40% reduction in braking force and we found the pedal needed much less of a shove to bring things to a halt. The Navara now stops in less distance and feels more assured on tarmac roads regardless of weather conditions.

Every Navara comes with Trailer Sway Assist and 3500kg towing capacity, while new 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels depending on trim level are a more obvious clue to the improvements Nissan has made.

Step into the cab and you’ll find the eight-inch infotainment touch screen from the N-Connecta model is now standard across the line-up. It uses Apple Car Play to hook up with your smartphone, so you can access sat-nav and music.

More relevant to professional users is the ability to use this system to locate the vehicle, lock and unlock it remotely, check fuel and fluid levels on your phone and pre-programme destinations into the sat-nav. It’s one of the simplest infotainment systems we’ve used and the screen works with cold, mucky fingers as well as being wipe-clean.

The rest of the cabin is much as before, which means plenty of space up front and good driving comfort. In King Cab models, the rear bench is best used as addition storage, so if you need to carry more than one passenger it’s best to look at the Double Cab versions. Trim levels remain the same and you can order the King Cab as a chassis-only configuration for bespoke conversions.

A five-year, 100,000-mile warranty is included and, with prices for the chassis-cab model from £22,350, plus VAT and £23,500, plus VAT, for the Double Cab in Visia trim, the Navara is keenly priced against key rivals. So, Nissan has comprehensively upgraded the Navara without upping the cost too much.