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Warrior doing heavy lifting for Navara

Nissan’s tough Navara Warrior kicks volume goals, more affordable SL model confirmed

10 May 2022

SINCE going on sale in September 2021, Nissan’s locally-developed, locally assembled Navara Pro-4X Warrior now accounts for around 26 per cent of all Navara volume with 1149 sold. 


Not a bad number for a single variant that sits right at the top of the Navara’s pricing structure.


Retail stickers of $67,490 and $69,990 (before on-road costs) for the manual and automatic versions are clearly not deterring punters seeking a turn-key tough utility, and buyers are clearly seeing big value in the significant mechanical modification that has gone into the Warrior.


Far from being a stickers-and-bullbars exercise, the Warrior sits atop unique suspension hardware developed by Australian engineering company Premcar, with body mods including distinctive girth-enhancing wheelarch flares, an aggressive steel front bumper, plenty of underbody protection and a chunky wheel and tyre package.


It is analogous to Ford’s Ranger Raptor, albeit at a much more affordable price point than its Blue Oval rival and with all of the off-road bits being bolted on at Premcar’s facility in Victoria, rather than factory-fitted at the Navara’s point of origin in Thailand. 


“It’s been a hugely successful launch for us, we’re selling every unit that we can convert,” said Nissan Australia managing director Adam Paterson. “Every unit is spoken for ahead of production."


But the price of entry to Warrior-land is about to be ratcheted down further. Nissan Australia has announced the imminent arrival of its Navara SL Warrior, which features the same rugged suspension, wheels, tyres and body addenda, but uses the workhorse-spec Navara SL as its base rather than the deluxe Pro-4X.


That means vinyl floors instead of carpet, cloth seats instead of partial leather, halogen headlights instead of LEDs and no rain-sensing wipers, push-button starter, satellite navigation or climate control.


Interestingly, a rendering of the SL Warrior released by Nissan also shows it wearing a black-painted hooped bulbar on its nose instead of the Pro-4X Warrior’s body-coloured hoopless design, and with a black sump guard rather than the signature red steel plate used by the Pro-4X. 


Naturally there is plenty of content stripped out, but on the flipside, with the SL dual-cab 4x4 currently offered from just over $50K on the road, it could see the SL Warrior priced around $12K under its Pro-4X Warrior sibling.


A circa-$55K retail price for a bush-bashing dual-cab 4x4 could give Nissan an even stronger claim to the off-road enthusiast market than it presently enjoys, though official pricing and spec levels are yet to be confirmed.


Besides cleaving thousands from the Navara Warrior’s asking price, adding the SL Warrior to the line-up should also boost the supply of cars to Premcar’s conversion pipeline – at the moment, Premcar’s output is limited by tight allocation on the Pro-4X variant more than anything else.


At the beginning of Pro-4X Warrior production, which followed on from the pre-facelift Navara N-Trek Warrior, Premcar was outputting 32 Warriors per week. Now that number is 45 per week, but it could go higher with the addition of the SL.


“With the Navara SL Warrior by Premcar, a new and more accessible entry point will join the Warrior family, ensuring even more customers can experience the world’s toughest Navara for themselves,” Mr Paterson said.


Mr Paterson also dropped hints that Nissan has not forgotten about the Patrol Warrior. The Patrol remains a big seller for Nissan with just under 2000 sold year-to-date despite ongoing supply challenges – roughly double what it achieved over the same period in 2021 – and a Warrior variant that replicates the formula applied to the Navara has been expected for a while now. 


Nissan openly acknowledges the Patrol Warrior program, though it remains on the ‘maybe’ pile for now with the company stating that Patrol Warrior is still “under study”.


That said, a concept sketch released by Premcar shows what it could look like, with jacked-up ride height, low-profile tyres on big wheels, a set of cheeky side-exit exhaust tips, prominent wheelarch addons, a more trail-friendly lower bumper and blacked-out instead of chrome exterior details 


Yet, with Premcar already working hard to satisfy Navara Warrior demand and with a new variant just around the corner, the ability to put a Patrol Warrior down the line may have to wait until demand for Nissan’s hotted-up ute begins to taper off – which, if present numbers are anything to go by, could take a while.

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