Nissan have announced a new, premium version of their Navara dual cab 4x4 ute, aimed at challenging the likes of Ford’s Ranger Wildtrack, Toyota’s HiLux Rugged X and HSV’s Colorado SportsCat.
Based on the top-of-the-range Navara N-TREK 4x4 dual cab, the N-TREK ‘Warrior’ has been designed for increased capability off-road and features upgraded wheels, tyres and suspension for improved ground clearance, a wider track and improved ride and handling.
“The market has shifted considerably in the last two years, with ute sales leading the way, but ute buyers are looking for a higher level of specification that delivers both capable and functional improvements, while making their vehicle stand out,” said Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester.
“The Nissan Navara N-TREK Warrior is locally designed and engineered for Australian conditions. We expect this to be a popular variant.”
The Warrior was created in collaboration with Melbourne-based Premcar, a product development and engineering consultancy firm that previously developed fast Fords and FPVs under the Prodrive Engineering banner. Premcar now works with any manufacturer to develop vehicles for Australian and international markets.
The scale of the N-TREK Warrior project is reported to have led Premcar to hire an additional 40 staff to bring it to fruition.
Softer goes Harder
Suspension changes are key to the N-TREK Warrior specification and include new springs, dampers and front jounce bumpers. Combined, these new parts lift the Navara ride height by 15mm.
The primary spring is actually softer than on the Navara N-TREK, while the secondary rate of the spring is harder, but more progressive. This combination, Nissan says, improves ride comfort and low-speed suspension articulation in heavy-duty off-road conditions in the primary instance, while the firmer secondary springing maintains composure of the vehicle when laden and towing, as well as during cornering and “heavy duty off-roading”.
For the dampers, the outer tube diameter is larger, allowing greater oil volume for improved cooling, while the piston rod diameter has also been increased for greater strength. In harmony with the springs, the dampers provide additional compression on the top of the piston for quicker response and feature unique valving developed by Premcar.
The upgraded front jounce bumpers are larger, taller and engage the chassis rail earlier in the suspension’s travel, but in a progressive rate compatible with the spring and shock changes.
The suspension changes were designed and tested extensively, including outback trials at Big Desert, to ensure no excessive additional loads were passed into the Navara chassis, and all ball joint, tie rod and drive shaft angles did not exceed the design limits. As such, the Warrior offers the same five-year warranty as the regular Navara. The Navara’s 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity is also unaffected by the suspension changes, but payload drops to 724kg from the N-TREK’s 923kg (manual trans).
The Warrior rolls on a set of 275/70 Cooper AT3 all terrain tyres, which increase ride height by an additional 25mm for a total lift of 40mm over the regular Navara N-TREK, despite a decrease in wheel size from 18 inches to 17 inches. The wider rims also increase the track by 30mm.
Overall, ground clearance sits at 268mm on the Warrior, with improvements in approach and breakover angles, too, from 33.2, 28.2 and 24.7 degrees in the N-TREK to 35, 29 and 27.5 degrees in the Warrior. But with the Warrior’s standard tow bar, departure angle drops to 19 degrees.
Close to the limit of what can fit in the Navara’s wheelwells without fouling suspension and body components, the 32.2-inch Coopers feature a compound and tread pattern designed for rough terrain, but remain usable on the road. Even with this, some modification of the inner front guards was required, while the larger profile also required re-calibration of the Navara speedometer to ensure accurate speed readings.
With this upgraded suspension and tyre package, Nissan are claiming improved ride, better control in transient conditions, more control off road, more stability - both laden and unladen - and better steering response.
For all its suspension and wheel/tyre upgrades, the N-TREK Warrior runs an unchanged drivetrain of the Navara 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder producing 140kW and 450Nm.
The dual range 4x4 transfer case with electronic 4WD selection is unchanged from the N-TREK, too, but where a 6-speed manual is standard on the N-TREK and a 7-speed automatic transmission is an extra-cost option, the N-TREK Warrior will only be available with the 7-speed auto.
The standard 80-litre fuel tank is presumably unchanged, so based on the fuel economy of the N-TREK - 7.0lt/100km combined – the Warrior will likely be a little thirstier than that.
Practicality and Style Points
To suit the Warrior’s enhanced capabilities off-road, a 3mm front skid plate is standard fitment, while a unique towbar crossmember has also been added to suit the increased ride and allow the upsized tyre to be carried in the standard spare wheel caddy.
Being based on the Navara N-TREK, the Warrior carries most of that model’s aesthetic features, including the raft of blackout components (wheelarch flares, grille, headlight surrounds, rear bumper and sports bar, to name a few), as well as that model’s side steps and mirror caps with dark orange accents.
Items unique to the N-TREK Warrior include a hoopless, body-coloured steel bulbar that sets this halo model apart from the rest of the Navara range. Closely integrated to the body, this ‘bar also carries a 470mm LED light strip, while the foglamps are accented with dark orange trim to pick up on the treatment of the mirrors and side steps.
An identifying ‘NAVARA’ tailgate decal also features, with ‘N-TREK Warrior’ identification on the front seat headrests. The seats themselves are carried over from the N-TREK, with a combination of leather and dark orange fabric insers, with dark orange accent stitching used throughout the cabin.
The Warrior also gets the Navara’s recently updated 8.0-inch infotainment screen, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
To this, the Warrior adds floor mats with dark orange accents.
The Navara N-TREK Warrior is due for release in December, but Nissan are yet to make an announcement on whether this premium ute will be a regular production model or limited edition.
At press time, no announcement had been made on pricing, either, but based on the N-TREK’s $58,950 starting price and list pricing in the $65,000 range for rivals like the SportsCat and Rugged X, expect the Warrior to be similarly priced.
See your Nissan dealer for more details and to pre-order.