Known in South Africa as the Hardbody, the car trounced the opposition in a four-way shootout conducted by the leading Australian off-road motoring magazine.
"It pretty much blew the rest away in all of the criteria", the magazine said, scoring an overall 80% and beating the 3.4-litre V6 Toyota Hilux (70%), the new generation 3.5-litre V6 Holden Rodeo (known in SA as the Isuzu KB, 65.6%) and the 2.5-litre turbo-diesel Mazda Bravo (Drifter in SA, 60%).
The "Best Sport Ute" (utility) finalists chosen by the magazine are all vehicles with a dual-purpose lifestyle: workhorse from Monday to Friday, play truck on Saturday and Sunday.
The Nissan was a clear winner in each of the five criteria categories judged. These included design and engineering, interior, on-road, off-road and obstacle course.
The Nissan also came out tops among the three V6 petrol-engined contenders in overall fuel consumption.
The off-road test involved driving on dirt roads and forestry roads and the obstacle course - the toughest test - was conducted on a 4x4 training ground and included water crossings steep inclines and declines and deeply rutted tracks, designed to test the vehicles in both high and low range 4x4.
It also included a unique "Up the Ramp" test, which measures the suspension travel. The Nissan was again superior in meeting this important criterion and, as a result, it was in a class of its own in the off-road testing.
The Nissan Hardbody has been the best-selling double cab pickup in South Africa since the new range was introduced in April 2001.
It has also won the overall South African Off-Road Car Racing Championship for the last three years in a row.