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  • Styling (apart from roof rails), massive torque and good power, off-road ability
  • Diesel engine is quite loud under load, auto calibration, cheap cabin, stereo

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7 / 10



Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
by Karl Peskett

The dual cab ute market is certainly burgeoning these days. While most tradies are happy to stick with the budget versions, there are some who are happy to pay a few more dollars and get a few more goodies. Like 550Nm – say hello to the Nissan Navara ST-X 550.

The recipe is simple – take a regular Nissan Navara ST-X and swap the 2.5-litre four-cylinder diesel motor for a 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 diesel. Back it up with a seven-speed automatic, and you’re done. Well, it’s a little bit more involved than that, but you get the idea.

Yes, it’s the engine that dominates this car. With 170kW on tap, and a whopping 550Nm to back it up, the Navara ST-X 550 is probably the quickest dual-cab ute on sale today. With its huge torque and all-wheel-drive, the other thing that really impresses is its towing capacity – 3000kg.

But hang on for a minute; the standard Navara, with its 2.5-litre diesel and 403Nm, manages to tow 3000kg, too. So, for the price difference of $7750 between the two models what do you get apart from an extra 147Nm?

Quite a bit as it turns out. There’s a plastic-lined tray, a satin-black sportsbar with LED brake light, a hard tonneau cover which locks with the central locking, a tinted bonnet protector, front fog lights, headlamp washers, privacy glass, roof rails and, of course, V6 badges.

Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review

That engine, code-named V9X, is quite different from regular V6s. It uses a 65-degree vee angle, giving enough room to nestle the turbocharger within the banks of the vee. The block is also constructed from compacted graphite iron, which gives a weight advantage over cast iron (which would make the Navara too front-heavy) but is quieter than an a light-weight aluminium block.

Despite the CGI block, it is a little loud. A couple of things work against the Navara 550’s refinement: 1) The auto calibration keeps the revs up higher than necessary; and 2) The exhaust note doesn’t match what drivetrain whine, making it always sounds like it’s working harder than it should be.

There’s no doubt the Navara 550 is quick – in fact, it’s likely the quickest dual-cab ute on sale in Australia – but something with that much torque should sound a lot more relaxed. The auto should be riding the wave of torque and upshifting early, rather than hanging onto the gears – there are seven ratios after all. Peak torque is made at 1750rpm, and it starts with a fraction of lag, and then rushes all in after that.

Fuel use is listed as 9.5-litres/100km, which is certainly better than some of the V8 utes around which make the same amount of torque. In our week of testing, we racked up 11.2-litres/100km. Not bad considering the bit of off-roading and city driving we concentrated on.

Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review

On the road, the Navara 550’s ride proves a little bouncy at the rear (leaf springs), but quite comfortable up front (independent coil-over-shocks); you can really tell the differences between the opposing suspension types. If it’s a dual-cab and comfort you want, then go for an Volkswagen Amarok.

It handles okay for a big lump and steers reasonably well, even if actual feel is a little muted, however that’s par for the course in these kinds of cars.

Off the road, the Navara 550 is excellent, and it churns through the sand with ease (tyre pressures dropped and VSC off) using its power to push through any boggy situations, with the huge torque keeping the motor from bogging down when in really heavy stuff.

Inside, you’re kept comfortable by dual-zone climate control and fairly soft seats, even if they are a little flat. The back seats have just enough room (the Amarok is definitely the class leader in cabin comfort) but on long trips can get a little wearing with their bolt-upright seating position.

The stereo, for a car which costs $60,990 before on-road costs, is frankly rubbish. At least it plays MP3s and has bluetooth.

The price is also not reflected in the choice of cabin materials, with an ultra-cheap headlining and hard dash plastics. It’s spruced up a tad by the use of leather on the steering wheel (with the nice perforated feel) and gear selector, and with a silver accent for the centre console, but on the whole, its tradie-ute origins don’t look like they justify the price-tag.

Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review
Nissan Navara ST-X 550 Review

If it’s the most comfortable and refined dual-cab ute you want, then buy a Volkswagen Amarok. However if it’s bucket-loads of torque and an automatic transmission you’re after (the Amarok is manual-only at this stage), plus a 3000kg towing capacity, then the Nissan Navara ST-X 550 is for you.

While it’s certainly quite expensive, it’s a lot quicker than its 2.5-litre sibling, and comes with extra goodies to make it worth the extra dough. It’s quite good on the road, and excellent off it – the only question will be, how many will see a work site?

 


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Nissan Navara Specs

DX (4x2) : D22 SERIES 5 : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - DIESEL - C/CHAS
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
NAVARA
Variant
DX (4x2)
Series
D22 SERIES 5
Year
2011
Body Type
C/CHAS
Seats
3
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$10,340 - $11,750
Dealer Retail
$11,930 - $14,190
Dealer Trade
$8,400 - $9,400
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Max. Torque
304Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
98kW @  3600rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
64.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x100mm
Compression Ratio
16.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
75Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1509
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1620mm
Length
4795mm
Width
1690mm
Ground Clearance
225mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.2
Front Rim Size
5x15
Rear Rim Size
5x15
Front Tyres
195R15
Rear Tyres
195R15
Wheel Base
2950
Front Track
1525
Rear Track
1505
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Hydraulic shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Leaf spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Driver
Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Central Locking, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Mid Driver Side Chassis
Country of Origin
Japan