It’s the effortless performance of the dainty-by-comparison STX 550 that conjures memories of the Big American. The F-250’s turbo V8 diesel produced 684Nm of torque at 1800rpm, the torquiest ute I’ve ever driven in New Zealand. The STX 550’s turbo V6 diesel produces 550Nm at 1750rpm, making it the second torquiest ute I’ve driven here.
More: the big Ford, seen right in a Ford NZ publicity shot, produced 175kW of power while the mighty Navara is only 5kW off that mark, making it New Zealand’s most powerful diesel ute. And while the Ford sent its drive forward and aft through a now old-fashioned four-speed auto, the Nissan uses an electronically minded seven-speed tiptronic-type auto that helps it achieve 9.3 litres per 100km, overall.
Neither the Ford nor the STX 550 – now the New Zealand ute torque champ –actually needs all that twisty force. The Navara STX 450, which produces 100Nm less, dispatches even the hardest jobs perfectly easily. Much the same can be said for others that struggle by with torque in the 300s.
So why bother? In Nissan’s case, because it can. The engine was developed by the Nissan-Renault alliance for various larger Renaults and some Infinitis, the Nissan luxury equivalent of Lexus.
It’s going to be a little better off-road thanks to overall low gearing of 40.2:1 compared to the STX 450’s 35.73:1. And there might be times on the track when the extra torque makes an obstacle easier to surmount.
The ute costs $67,990, automatic only, to head the Navara lineup that has been somewhat revised – partly to put more distance between the 550 and the 450, which costs $59,490 in auto.