Car reviews - Nissan - Navara - N-Trek Warrior
Box-ready capability, tough styling, improved ride and stability, full-size spare, competitive pricing, exclusive accessories
Room for improvement
Bullbar not winch compatible, no performance upgrades, payload reduction
Nissan beefs up Navara with tough-looking and capable N-Trek Warrior range-topper
13 Dec 2019
IF THERE is one automotive craze to emerge in the past couple of years in Australia, it would have to be the arrival of the range-topping, highly specified dual-cab ute.
With competitors like the Ford Ranger Raptor, Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme all launching Down Under recently, it was only a matter of time before Nissan came out with an enhanced version of its Navara.
Teaming up with Australian manufacturer Premcar, Nissan has created the Navara N-Trek Warrior, which boosts the the dual-cab ute’s off-road credibility while also adding some exclusive visual highlights.
So how does the N-Trek Warrior stack up compared to the rest of the Navara range?
First drive impressions
While the Navara range already featured a recently released, specially enhanced grade called N-Trek, the only improvements over the ST-X were visual enhancements to help give some extra flair.
The N-Trek Warrior turns up the wick further by adding a number of upgrades that improve the usability of the car, particularly in off-road scenarios.
Those enhancements include revised suspension that increases lift by 15mm and widens the wheel track slightly, and also features softer primary spring rates – six per cent at the front and eight per cent at the rear – to improve handling, while damping has been recalibrated for Australian situations to provide a more compliant ride quality.
The majority of our drive experience with the N-Trek Warrior was done on a range of trails through the Victorian High Country, and the benefits of the revised suspension set-up could be felt as it skipped over rough surfaces with greater ease than the regular Navara.
It also felt well settled and comfortable over a brief drive on tarmac, handling road imperfections well for a car that was unladen in the rear.
The Navara is already one of the better pick-ups for ride quality, and the enhancements of the Warrior make it even better.
Also no doubt helping the Warrior’s off-road ride quality is the fitment of 275/70 R17 Cooper Discoverer AT3 all-terrain tyres, which when running at lower pressures, help to smooth out bumps and potholes.
Part of the reason Premcar chose the Discoverer AT3s was due to their low levels of tyre roar and noise intrusion, and in our brief drive on tarmac we found no noticeable increase in noise coming through the cabin – an impressive feat for all-terrains.
In our view, one of the most underrated features in any vehicle is the fitment of a full-size spare tyre, and Nissan and Premcar went to great lengths to fit the 32.2-inch AT3 rubber underneath the tub, which involved the development of a new towbar cross member to accommodate the larger rubber.
Combined with the new suspension, the wheels help lift the vehicle height of the Warrior by a total of 40mm, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot on paper but gives it handy of real-world advantages over the regular Navara, with our Warrior never bottoming out or scraping the side steps, front bumper or tailgate.
The suspension also helps keep the car planted when going off-road, with greater articulation than the standard Navara helping to keep all four wheels on the ground, more of the time.
Making the suspension more supple hasn’t affected the Navara’s standard 3500kg braked towing capacity, but the fitment of the heavier accessories has resulted in a 193kg payload reduction to 724kg.
The lower-set towbar also hurts the Warrior’s departure angle, however we didn’t encounter any issues in our drive.
With the larger tyres steering feels a little vague, however pick-ups aren’t exactly the last word in steering feel to begin with, so this isn’t much of a problem.
One of the most enticing aspect of the new batch of top-spec utes is the added visual appeal, and the Warrior is no different with a tough and commanding presence whether in the parking lot and on the road.
Along with the obvious appeal provided by the suspension lift and bigger tyres, the Warrior comes with some exclusive accessories that give it a tough and bold look, including an integrated OEM colour-coded hoopless bullbar, wheelarch flares, an integrated LED light bar, a 3mm-thick front bash plate, 17-inch alloy wheels and exterior decals.
The Navara is already one of the more attractive utes on the market, and the styling upgrades of the Warrior give it a great lift not only for styling, but for functionality.
While the integrated ‘safari bar’ bullbar looks fantastic, it cannot be fitted with a winch, which may disappoint those who want to tackle the toughest of situations in their Warrior.
No changes have been made to the Warrior’s driveline, which uses the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine in other Navara variants, producing 140kW at 3750rpm and 450Nm from 1500-2500rpm, mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.
While we would have liked to see the Warrior fitted with some performance upgrades, we understand the extensive development costs that would have been involved, and the Navara’s mill can hold its own in any case.
It does tend to run out of puff and get overly noisy at the top of its rev range, however keeping in its peak torque band ensures smooth and punchy performance.
The engine is particularly well suited to off-road driving, easily able to walk up hills of any incline with the seven-speed auto ensuring revs are kept in the sweet spot.
During our drive we recorded a fuel consumption figure of 11.7 litres per 100km, a respectable figure given the tough driving conditions presented.
Inside, the Warrior doesn’t present a huge number of changes apart from some orange trim accents and unique headrests. The rest of the interior is fairly standard for a dual-cab pick-up, with some fairly utilitarian switchgear and trim elements.
The fitment of the new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a big step up over the previous 7.0-inch unit, however still can’t quite match the usability of the best offerings in the segment.
Nissan is on the money with the N-Trek Warrior. Its partnership with Premcar has resulted in a car that is not only more stylish than its donor vehicle, but is functionally more capable in just about every way except for payload.
And at $62,990 driveaway for the manual and $65,490 for the auto, it is priced competitively with the other offerings in the top end of the segment, and clearly undercuts the Ford Ranger Raptor.
Nissan Australia is hoping the N-Trek Warrior can sell around 2000 units per year, and if our brief driving experience is anything to go by, the brand should have its hopes up.
Model release date: 1 December 2019
9th of December 2019
Driven: Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior undercuts rivals
Driveaway pricing starts at $62,990 for Nissan’s hero ute and Ford Raptor rival
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