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2012 Nissan Navara 550 ST-X review

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    The benefits of a diesel may just be enough for Nissan - time will tell. Photo Gallery

John Parry road tests and reviews the Nissan Navara 550 ST-X.

In the pursuit of the ultimate workhorse, Nissan is treading where others have failed.

Its high-output turbo diesel Navara 550 ST-X is the fastest production one tonner in its class.

The hi-tech 3.0-litre V6 engine pumps out 170kW and 550Nm of torque, or 30kW and 100Nm more than the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel version.

But it is also 150kg heavier at a paunchy 2117kg. Offsetting this is the V6's seven-speed automatic transmission, two more ratios than the 2.5.

It has a low first gear ratio to get it off the line, multiple middle ratios to keep it on the boil and a tall top gear. After a brief pause as the turbo spools up, step off is sharp, it pulls strongly in the middle range and lopes along on the open road with the engine ticking over at 1650rpm at 100km/h.

Nissan claims the 550 will sprint to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds, which puts it clearly at the top of the segment. But in general use it doesn't feel that much quicker than the 2.5.

The transmission is smooth and decisive enough but the calibrations have it holding on to gears longer than expected given the peak torque comes in at a low 1750rpm. This is presumably to help the transmission keep its cool when towing.

It can be coaxed into shifting up earlier by using the sequential shift, but that tends to defeat the purpose of an automatic. On the flip side it is eager to shift down on trailing throttle.

The engine is relatively quiet on idle but there is no doubt it's a diesel when moving. Fuel use on the combined cycle is 9.5l/100km compared with 9.0l/100km in the 2.5.


The 550 ST-X costs $60,990 or $64,990 with a premium option pack. Apart from the engine and transmission, the additional features over the $50,990 2.5 ST-X include a hard tonneau cover linked to the central locking system, a black sports bar, fog lights, headlight washer, privacy glass, a tub liner and light, rear underseat storage, an engine immobiliser and 550 badges, mats and key ring.

The premium pack adds satellite navigation, leather seats, a reversing camera, a DVD player, Bose audio and powered and heated front seats.

Does it make sense to shell out the extra $10,000 over the 2.5 ST-X? Yes if you want the ultimate Navara. But if you want refinement as well as performance, then the 550 will leave you wanting.

So, can the 550 succeed where others have fallen? Toyota tried it with the TRD HiLux and it failed to generate enough interest to guarantee its survival, but then that was a petrol engine. The benefits of a diesel may just be enough for Nissan -- time will tell.


Price: $56,990
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Service intervals: 10,000km
Enigine: 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 170kW/550Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body: Dual cab pick-up
Dimensions: Length 5296mm, width 1848mm, height 1798mm
Wheelbase: 3200mm, tracks 1570mm/1579mm front/rear
Payload: 909kg
Towing capacity: 3000kg (with braked trailer)
Thirst: 9.5l litres/100km (claimed).


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 13 comments

  • Bought my ST-X 550 for under $55K and loved the $17K discount, only Dealer 8990kms, and I am as pleased as punch!  Of all the current lineup of 4X4 D/Cab Ute’s, this is the most comfortable ride both on and off the road, which was a real factor.  Handles like a dream and the power is not lacking when you plant your foot!  As a replacement car for the family we have found the room in the tray to be very useful while moving house, the 5 tie down rails are a god send!  Add in the 6 year cap price servicing and I am starting to sound like an ad for the Navarra.  Compliance plated 1/14, One VERY HAPPY Nissan Customer, and that is good considering I’m a Holden FAN!  Might be becoming a Nissan Fan as well!  smile

    Scott Bailey of North Queensland Posted on 07 April 2014 11:12am
  • I had a lot of wind noise from the back left door, after a lot of duct tape sealing off the door from the outside I proved it was the door seal, Nissan got it right after replacing the entire door seal.

    Lawrence Lewis of New Zealand Posted on 09 August 2013 4:07pm
  • Yes to Rick of Bundy there is a lot of noise comming from my back door they say is because of cabin presure which is what I am waiting to hear back about and has anyone noticed that the vents behind the seat let water in as they are supposed to let the pressure out

    ninny of ssc of Caloundra Posted on 05 March 2013 8:19am
  • Anyone have a lot of wind noise in front cab Nissan 550

    Rick of Bundy Posted on 06 February 2013 8:09am
  • just in case you’re wondering. these will never fit a winch. the intercooler is front mounted and MASSIVE. just a thought!

    Sam of perth Posted on 09 October 2012 6:51pm
  • Very happy with my 550 but just discovered that in low range locked in first the auto will change up at 1800rpm’s this is no good going down hill rang Nissan waiting for reply

    Ian styles of Mansfield Posted on 29 August 2012 10:16pm
  • Got my 2012 flame red stx 550, its fast, sat nav display really is out standing, came standard not an option pack ?
    Auto is perfict using all the revs and its not the 170kw that makes it fast but the 550nm strange as it sounds.
    It needs the VCD hehe.
    The speedo is very hard to read with the numbers so close together. the heated leather seats sounded like a woosy joke but my hard working back finds it delightfuly soothing…
    The Boss stereo is sweat with the sub replacing one of the cargo storage units under the back seat, for my ears fade between front and rear is in to bigger incroments
    People have mentioned about turbo lag, a boot full gives you about enough time to grip the wheel and have a good look where your about to end up..
    The ute is finshed off well, nothing looks tacky, and for the extra money it makes all the differance with the sat nav dash, check out any other ST only the 550 gets the touch screen dash it is awesome. the reverse camra is so clear and with its prodiction of where you are going, if you crash in reverse Give Up Driving hehe. I am very happy with my decision in the stx 550 so far “power is everything” and I get home 15 minutes earlier Yeha… cheers

    ANTONY green of badger creek Posted on 30 July 2012 11:55pm
  • I’m stepping up to the 550 model from a 6 speed ‘07 D40. I really enjoy the D40’s. I’ve not had a shread of trouble. The sales and service team at FTG Nissan were great.
    Turning circle is a problem. But, can be expected with a long wheel base. Interior was tough and lasted me over 4 years. Paint was fine too. The power of the 2.5Lt TDI was impressive. I chipped the engine too. A BIG difference.
    Good on ya Nissan. I’m in for another 4 years.

    Paul of Box Hill Vic Posted on 17 May 2012 3:42pm
  • Just picked up a near new one (with 5th wheeler caravan weighing in at a hefty near 4 ton when laden. Awesome pulling power and a dream to drive both towing and not, Massive GVM upgrade to 3.5 ton with tough dog suspension. When not towing averages just over 10l per 100km, when towing around 18to18.5l, awesome results and very happy, Jack

    Jack of ACT Posted on 15 May 2012 6:27pm
  • I’ve got one it only took 3 weeks last year, it’s definitely got the balls on the open road overtaking a dream, I averaged 9.7 highway but I did give it some stick overtaking, only 2 problems I found is the turning circle is really bad not for car parks, and the lag in the city at stop just don’t pull out on moving traffic this is a big fault I hate, other than that when I overtook on hills it kept on pulling and my smile kept on growing, definitely a country car for the open road.

    Lance hodges of Sydenham Posted on 10 April 2012 2:15pm
  • Hi Boys, got to agree the V6 engine is very different to the 2.5L and is in a class of its own i reckon…i just put a deposit yesterday on a 2012 ST-X 550 and delivery is expected in late may !!! apparently the dealers just cant get them off the docks/ports quick enough!!!Its about bloody time Australia produces a dual cab 4x4 ute with some BALLS UNDER THE HOOD !!!!

    Danny Latuff of Revesby NSW Posted on 24 March 2012 10:39am
  • Have to agree with Gav, my orders been in for 2 weeks, and I won’t see my ST-X 550 till the end of April.

    Sharkey of Coomera QLD Posted on 16 March 2012 5:11pm
  • Sorry John, your knowledge is lacking in this case. The drive of the V6 engine is vastly different to the 4 cyl.engine and secondly the sales of the V6 engine have been outstanding, so much in fact that there is quite a waiting list on this model. I know because I have one of each.

    Gav Posted on 15 March 2012 4:47pm
Read all 13 comments

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