Ford is being attacked on all fronts after dominating the pickup truck market for decades now

Performance pickups are picking up heat more than ever. With competition touching new heights in almost all mainstream genres, automakers are now turning to this segment which is still somewhat niche. When you talk about stock performance pickups, only two of them come to mind - the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ram Rebel TRX. This trend is trickling down to the smaller trucks as well. Nissan Australia’s boss has revealed that he is putting pressure on the company to come up with a powerful version of the Navara pickup truck to take on the Ford Ranger Raptor. Will the Navara be the latest Nissan offering to be smitten by the in-house performance division, Nismo?

Performance Pickup Trucks Are The Next Big Thing

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Fast, powerful pickup trucks are all the rage right now.

The market was pretty small a decade back for automakers to cater to. Ram gave it a shot 15 years back when it launched the Ram SRT-10.

This truck was powered by the Dodge Viper’s V-10 mill. However, the market was not mature enough to handle it, thus sending it off the production line within three years of its inception. Nevertheless, this gave us a glimpse of what these big brutes can be when they are given steroids. Ford tried its hand at it by launching the Ford Raptor in 2010, and later even Chevy with the Colorado ZR2. People accepted these products gleefully and Ram decided to make a comeback and take its rightful share. Enter the Ram Rebel TRX with the Dodge Hellcat Charger’s engine under the hood - a 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 mill that produces 707 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque. These trucks have managed to grab enough attention to make automakers think about fast, powerful trucks in all shapes and sizes.

Ford F-150 Raptor Ram Rebel TRX Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
Engine 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat Hemi V-8. 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower 450 hp @5000 rpm 707 HP 308 HP
Torque 510 lb.-ft. @3500 rpm 650 LB-FT 275 LB-FT

Nissan Doesn’t Want To Miss An Opportunity

Does the Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 Have What it Takes to Put the Hurt on Ford's Ranger Raptor? Exterior
- image 778377

Nissan Australia’s head, Stephen Lester, told CarsGuide that he is pressurizing the Japanese giant to add "a couple of extra cylinders" to the current Nissan Navara. He said, "I would love the team at global to give us an engine that’s in another car, we’ve got some tremendous engines. I can only hope that LCV (light commercial vehicles) team heeds some of that pressure from our group - we’re not the only ones around the world that would like to see it. We’re always keeping the pressure on". He further added, "Trust me, we don’t miss an opportunity to remind them that there’s a pretty big engine bay there that could fit an extra couple of cylinders..." He went on to say that it needs to be a gasoline mill so that the true power can be unleashed in all its glory. This also means that Mr. Lester is looking at the Ford Ranger Raptor as the Navara’s primary rival.

Will Nissan Repurpose an Engine, Or Develop A New One for the Navara F-150 Raptor Rival?

Someone is Pushing for a Nissan Navara Nismo and It Could Put a Hurtin' On the Ford Ranger Raptor Exterior
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The current Nissan Navara truck is offered with just one engine - a four-cylinder, twin-turbocharged engine that makes 187 horses and 331 pound-feet of torque.

Let's take a look a look at the different engines Nissan has at its disposal to quench this thirst. If Nissan plans to take just one step up and still keep it tamed, it could borrow the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport' mill.

This is a 3.0-liter, V-6 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Although this should suffice the need, Stephen also mentioned that, "We’ve seen plenty of manufacturers in history make a mistake, and Nissan is not a company that’s going to under-engineer a vehicle". In that case, the next best option is the engine it uses in the Nissan Patrol, which is a 5.6-liter, V-8 engine that churns out 400 horses and 413 pound-feet of torque. So, if Nissan decides to target the enthusiasts primarily, we could see the V-8 engine being plonked.

Nissan Navara Infiniti Q50 Red Sport NIssan Patrol
Engine four-cylinder, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, V-6 5.6-liter, V-8
Horsepower 187 HP 400 HP 400 HP
Torque 331 LB-FT 350 Hp 413 Lb-FT

Nissan Is Targeting The Ranger Raptor

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Exterior
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There’s even a steel front bumper, LED lighting,
Aerodynamic air curtains, tow hooks, and a bash plate up front

Speaking of the Ford Ranger Raptor, it seems like the automaker is planning to bring this to the States. In the other markets, it is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that generates 210 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. However, the U.S.-spec Ranger Raptor could feature a 2.7-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that makes 325 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. Going by these specs, the Navara Nismo could feature the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport’s mill.

Also, since Nissan is targeting the Ranger Raptor, we could see it come to our shores as well.

As for the drivetrain in the standard Ranger, it is a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that develops out 270 ponies and 310 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox that works splendidly with the EcoBoost mill. The Ranger comes with a rear-wheel-drive configuration as standard, but can be bought in the four-wheel-drive avatar as well. As for the towing and payload capacities, it is rated at 7,500 and 1,860 pounds respectively.

Ford Ranger Raptor drivetrain specifications
ENGINE Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder Diesel
TRANSMISSION 10-Speed Automatic
HORSEPOWER 210 Horsepower
TORQUE 369 Pound-Feet
WEIGHT 5,513 Pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 21 City / 26 Highway / 23 Combined
TOWING 5,510 Pounds

Final Thoughts

Someone is Pushing for a Nissan Navara Nismo and It Could Put a Hurtin' On the Ford Ranger Raptor Exterior
- image 778376

The news of a Nissan Navara Nismo is exciting, and what makes it even better is that it could come to the States. There is no word on this, but theories do point towards an American debut.

For starters, it will take on the Ranger Raptor that will be debuting in the U.S. soon.

Also, Nissan sells the Frontier here, which is nothing like the Navara. The Frontier is selling well here, and Nissan is running the same old generation since 2005. It has been refreshed, but it is an old model at the end of the day. So, Nissan could be tempted to add another ’fresh’ pickup truck that could sell in volume, plus take on its intended rival. Do you think Navara could come to the U.S., and more importantly, will Nissan make a Nismo version of it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Further reading

2015 Nissan NP300 Navara High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Navara.

Source: Cars Guide

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