Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:59 AM
Nissan has regained the power and torque crown in the Ute market with its latest flagship model, the Navara STX 550.
Powered by a three litre turbocharged V6 diesel – a first in the class – and mated to a seven speed automatic transmission – another first for a Ute of this size, the Navara STX 550 has not just edged ahead of the opposition. It has leapt to the front.
With 170 kWs and 550 Nm of torque, the STX 550 has 15.6 percent more power than its nearest rival and 17 percent more torque.
The engine is a product of Nissan’s alliance with Renault. Introduced in 2010 it is used in larger prestige Renault models in Europe where diesel vehicles make up more than 50 percent of all sales. And Nissan also fits it to some of its luxury Infiniti models for certain markets.
As such the V9X engine has car like levels of quietness, reduced knock and refinement, which lifts the STX 550’s car like nature to another plain.
The single variable geometry turbocharger is located in the centre of the motor’s “V” and is fed by third generation Bosch common rail fuel injection, where the seven hole piezo injectors operate at up to 1800 bar pressure.
The injectors can perform up to 5 injections per combustion cycle in each cylinder to smooth out the combustion process, providing quieter operation, less knock and more refinement.
With a particulate filter, exhaust recirculation and a catalytic converter the STX 550 meets Euro5 emission regulations while providing overall fuel economy of 9.3 litres per 100 kms.
The transmission with its selectable 4WD high and low ratios has a low first gear for the genuine off road work and the ability to select all ratios manually when required. Apart from the standard auto operation, there is also a sport’s mode. A limited slip differential is standard.
Electronic stability control and traction control is standard to handle the stump pulling torque of the STX 550, which can cope with the 3000 kgs braked towing capacity effortlessly.
The STX 550 comes as a single model, a double cab well side, which has just gone on sale for $67,990. Subtle V6 badges on the front doors and a “550” on the tailgate set it apart from other models in the STX range, which have also been revised for 2012.
“We are aware of enormous pent up demand here in New Zealand for the 550 and we are fortunate to have received initial launch allocation given the sales success of the vehicle across Europe, and closer to home in Australia where customer demand still exceeds supply 12 months after the release of the vehicle”
Nissan New Zealand Managing Director John Manley
The STX 550 has privacy glass for the rear half of the cabin, a rear under seat storage tray, while the driver gets seat height and lumbar adjustment and there are front fog lights.
All STX models get a new sound system combined with a USB port and audio streaming, wireless MP3 operation, iPod menu control and the ability to synchronise phone books. The power fold door mirrors also have combined indicator and puddle lights.
Other creature comforts include dual zone climate control air conditioning and cruise control, power windows and remote control keyless entry.
There are six airbags – two each for the front, side and curtain.
The STX sits on wishbone and coil spring front suspension, with leaf springs at the rear and ventilated front disc brakes with ABS, EBD and BA. The 17 inch alloy wheels are shod with 255/65R17 tyres to provide a good handling and ride compromise for every day on road driving and off road work.
There are no “black rubber band” low profile tyres which tend to provide a hard lumpy ride and are next to useless off road.
All STX models have a four star ANCAP crash test rating.
Revised pricing for the other STX models sees the 2WD model start from $45,990 and the 4WD STX 450 from $57,490. In both cases a five speed automatic model is $2000 more than the six speed manual.