• 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

OUR RATING
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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 ST-X 550 Review
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  • FrugalOne

    *****PRIMO!*****

    Nice report and photos guys [as usual]

    Why isnt this V6 DIEsel in the Patrol?

    These Spanish built utes have had *issues* well the earlier D40′s not sure if thatis all cured?

    Silly money $60k, you can buy a mid spec. C CLass Benz for that

    • Eric

      C Class UTE???

    • Andrew M

      True Frugal,

      The D40′s have a really bad reputation. Not just little things, major mechanical issues.

      I too would be interested to hear if they claim to have fixed this.

      Such a shame as its one of the better lookers at the moment

    • http://NSSAN James Cortez

      Where is your common sense? comparing this to the C class is like comparing apple to turnip. You should compare this to at least the Grand Cherokee diesel and the latter shows how overpriced and low quality the nissan is!!

    • The Truth

      It’s a solid truck .. but over priced ? .. Yes. I have a feeling a lot of the local 4×4 ute market will have to lift it’s game when the new Ford T6 Ranger and Mazda BT50 come out later this year. The standard features in those are quite impressive, and options list is quite good too, and for the money they will be asking, I think they will be way ahead of Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and even the new kid on the block … Amarok, won’t have the same technology or performance. The whole game is changing … and for the better !!

  • JEKYL & HYDE

    want to simply make a statement,or tow a house on wheels,meet the new weapon of choice.and its only sr5 toyota money for a hamburger with the lot(and extra grunt)…

    • FrugalOne

      If you want to tow you can and better off to buy a Diesel V8 LandCrusier 70 series workhorse range

      Should look different to the cheaper models

      Be ok for $40k, $60k+ is silly for mine.

      I hate to admit it but the best dual cab is the Amorok VW job, pity no auto [I rather Falcon Ute myself, but anyway...]

      • Andrew M

        If you want to tow a house better offgoing straight to an F Truck.
        Landcruiser V8 Diesels are expensive and the stability wont be much better than a Navara.
        3000kgs is a lot to tow and there is tmore to it than straight out torque.
        Once the trailer weighs more than the vehicle the trailer will start to dictate.

        With something like an F Truck you get a much longer wheel base etc.
        Also the F Trucks have a bucket of tech like anti trailer sway stuff.

        Personally I rather the Falcon ute for towing, the only thing that will rival it for towing in the class will be this whoop arse navara motor. But then you have to pay 60 big ones for it.

  • Mark

    So expensive for a ute, especially a Nissan ute.
    Better save two more years of money and then buying a BMW X5, why not

    • FrugalOne

      Always wondered when BMW would get into commercials like Benz, ie Vans and Cab-Chassis/utes etc

      Great market to get into, basic vehicle and top prices = great return

  • Alex

    Why anyone would pay this money for a V6 diesel when you can get the Jeep GC with the same spec drive train (minus two gears which are not needed) and 100 times more comfort and interior ambience for $10K less is beyond me.

    I wouldn’t even look at a V8 toyota, unless you are a fan boi. Simply because the cheapest TD V8 is over $70K and you get nada for that, not even a manual gearbox that keeps the revs down on the highway. LC200 is 15K too much, LC78 is for farms and mines.

    Navara is a strange one, and the GU Patrol will live on for ever with the little 3.0 CRD. Only the Y62 Patrol due next year will see a bigger more advanced diesel and at this stage that’s not a guarantee(thank our small market for that).

    • Eric

      I would pay $10k more for a 550 over the Jeep as I will $10k extra when I sell.

      • http://NSSAN James Cortez

        Based on what can you say that? The jeep is better in just about every respect!. It beats the Nissan and comes selling time, the GC has a broader cross section of buyers than this overhyped and overvalued Nissan

      • kai

         very true i have one and it is a sold performer all the problems of the old model have been ironed out

    • Don Quay

      I wouldn’t like to carry a load of sand in the back of the Jeep. Really, the two aren’t comparable are they? One is a wagon, the other a ute.

  • Sumodog

    We bought one and it is a great truck ,economical and very grunty. One pictured is series one which has been superceeded . We ve driven both CRD GC and 550 and picked Navara…Have driven Amarok too but as good as it is it needs much more power (no automatic either) and it is priced pretty closely to Navara.

    • Andrew M

      Sumodog,
      Most in the class need more power.

      The only ones that are acceptable are the Triton, Ranger and Navara

      The rest are lucky to out torque a Commodore V6

      • Devil’s Advocate

        Who cares about power. Torque is what “talks” with this category. Also Andrew M, if you include the Ranger as one of the “only ones” that are acceptable, why didn’t you also mention the BT50 since they are basically identical except for a bit of cosmetics?

        • Andrew M

          Settle down devil,
          I meant Torque, I just fell into the habit of terming it under an umbrella which relates to its strength. I just followed Somodogs use of the word but you obviously knew what he meant didnt you?

          OK Ill add BT50 for you, but it doesnt alter my point that the likes of the Dmax, Amarok, Hilux etc are underpowered.

          You arent going to make me form a check list now when I put cars in a bracket are you?

  • nickdl

    Just pointless really as both a ute and a 4WD. It’s not going to be as good off road as a proper 4WD like a Pajero and what tradie is going to spend $62K on a dual-cab. For that money, you would at least expect a reasonable level of standard features like you get in the Amarok.

  • Robocop

    Is there anyway to get rid of those hideous roof rails apart from a blowtorch???

    • JEKYL & HYDE

      or undo 16 screws.like sumodog said,the roofrails have been deleted now anyway…

  • Sumpguard

    Whilst I am fully aware the Jeep Cherokee is not a ute, when you consider that it has 3.5 tonne tow capacity, 177kw and 550 nm and is full of luxury items complete with an interior that would be happy in Merc this navara is ay overpriced. Furthermore (having owned a D40) the navara with a lack of proper underbody protection is not suited to proper 4×4 work whereas the Jeep will go off road proper.

    I know they are not direct competitors as the navara is a ute but the Pathfinder at $75,000 is even more ridiculous. I’ll hedge a bet that the motors in the Jeep and the Nissan are out of the same factory by VM Motori.

    Sorry nissan but you are getting greedy. Those extras listed above wouldn’t cost Nissan $300 from its suppliers.

    My D40 gave me plenty of problems ,thankfully under warranty. Clutch kit, injectors (twice), airbags, bullbar (causing the bonnet to open) and rear axles just to name several.

    I’d take the less powerful Ford ranger over this anyday!

    CA can you take a photo of the underbody and post it up please? Unless they have added it with this model the underbody is waiting to get smashed on any half decent 4×4 track due to a lack of protection plates. The D22 (which I also owned) was brilliant off road and never gave me an ounce of trouble. The D40 was rubbish.

    • Sumpguard

      The Cherokee diesel is $55,000 drive away for the base model which is far better appointed than the navara.

      • Robbo

        Mate Jeeps are cheap for a reason…….you pay for what you get! that is all

  • Bomber

    Nissan have updated this Navara and the interior is now more aligned with the Pathfinder.
    I was looking forward to the STX-550 but for the money it just doesn’t add up.
    A lot of people here are comparing the Navara to the Jeep GC diesel and why wouldn’t you.
    For $55K you get a far better vehicle and you can use $6K saving to buy a towbar and a trailer for when you need to lug stuff.

  • Sumodog

    Jeep GC is a good drive but driving position is compromised by lack of left foot rest and foot parking brake pedal in its way – very uncomfortable. Not that any reviews mention it :-) got to drive them for yourself. Our Navara has sat nav ,leather interior ,hd stereo and bose speakers – base GC does not come with satnav.
    Apart from driving position issue which was a deal breaker i could happily own Jeep GC – my better half prefered Navara and it is the car she ll drive daily…

  • BOB REDFORD

    ..cmon mates;

    we all know this ute will be bought by the trendy tradies showing of how much they can write off in tax per year….

    be real…

    if you want a payload carrier..and no bullshit reliability and backup service…get a Hino….they come in all sizes…

    if you want a big donk for towing and to carry 4 blokes in comfort….get a Cruiser v8 diesel…or an F250…

    navara is grasping at straws…..big donk big deal….wouldnt buy a navara at any money…reliability is a wish and a prayer.

  • Hurley

    New Mazda is a better truck

  • ozzy digger

    Hi all, I have a near on 2800kg Trailer loaded with a skid steer digger, Falcon ute died pulling it D22 2.5l couldn’t pull my box trailer with a ride on no power on take off so never even tried the big trailer, Currently have a v6 petrol D40 Auto it pulls anything but you can watch the fuel guage drop does any body know if the new 550 has power on take off for hill starts with a heavy trailer?

    • Darwyn

      I just took one for a blast and it has a fair bit more poke than my D40…….my guess it has more torque than your v6 so I would say that you wouldn’t have an issue.  It’s not a lazy drive train, in fact I thought it might have been a little to perky.  Once you get to a cruise speed it chills out and uses the torque to push it along.  My guess is they knew people would be towing heavy items with it so they preped the car accordingly……it seems like a great car for pulling weight around.   

    • Mickyinsane

      your an idiot. falcon utes are rated too 2300kg. I hope you get booked and heavily fined

  • Steve Sellingham

    Great truck and I can’t wait to get mine, but they are being a bit sneaky saying that they have lowered the price of the 2012 STX550 by $2000 compared to the 2011 model with premium option, when all they have done is deleted the lockable hard cover and made it an option, which costs…… Wait for it……. About $2000! And they never include that anywhere as one of the changes for 2012.
    I can’t believe nobody else has noticed that!

  • Steve Sellingham

    And I’ve just noticed that have also deleted the roof rails as well! And then they try and tell everybody that they have lowered the price! Nissan clearly think everybody are idiots!

    • Carmine

      Hi steve what to buy the 550 two models to chose from 62k v’s the 66k wich do you have and what did you pay

  • Andy

    Hi all I had a 550 STX for 1 week, I did just on 400 km’s I found the engine vibration at between 1100 and 1500 rpm or when travelling at 70 k was shocking can anybody tell me if this is normal it vibrated through steering accelerator pedal and the droning noise was out of this world. As I am considering buying one any feed back on this

    • towie

      probably overloaded it if you towed 2800kgs with a falcon

  • John Mangano

    Hi All bought my Nissan Stx D40 2006 5 speed Auto in Feb 2012 104000Ks on the clock  transmission full of metal shavings not bad for  the low ks just clicked over 116000Ks Gear box has been out twice and still not fixed transmission shudders on kick down no diffrent than before it was rebuilt (full rebuild by an approved repairer), been told by Nissan that this is standard with these veichles and the issue is not repairable live with it put your  foot down and give it a boost to change gears is how you over come your problem. if any one is having the same problem with there Nissan i would like to hear from you. I love the car for comfort and style but would not recommend mechanicaly as there is no way that this issue of transmission Shudder can be fixed.

  • Bluey

    Pffft! Out of all the dual cabs we test drove prior to our purchase of the Navara approx. 3 months ago. The Nissan was the ONLY vehicle that did NOT have me standing on the side of the road, heaving my guts up due to motion sickness! I can comfortably sit for 700km before becoming fidgety (which says a lot from me!). We were able to do 1,120km & arrive reasonably refreshed without any aches or pains & STILL stay up until midnight chatting. Considering we are no spring chickens & usually retire mid evening, to me, this speaks volumes as to how comfortable the Navara is!

  • chris

    I own one of these they are great. I paid new with canopy bull bar and tow bar black in colour 56K I don’t think that is a fair price for what you get.. also averages 9.7 lts per 100km.And goes like a cut snake.

Nissan Navara Specs

DX : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - C/CHAS
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
NAVARA
Variant
DX
Series
D22 SERIES 5
Year
2011
Body Type
C/CHAS
Seats
3
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
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
4x2
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
75
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
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
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
12-N-18
Country of Origin
JAPAN