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Nissan to expand Warrior variants
Top-spec, built-for-purpose Warrior moniker to be expanded across other Nissan models
13 Dec 2019
NISSAN Australia has confirmed that the hardcore Warrior nameplate applied to its top-spec Navara dual-cab ute will be expanded to other models from the Japanese brand.
Released this month, the Navara N-Trek Warrior has been developed in conjunction with Australian engineering and low-volume vehicle manufacturer Premcar and features a number of unique enhancements including new suspension and tyres, bullbar and other visual upgrades.
Speaking to GoAuto at the Warrior’s launch in New Zealand this week, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester indicated that other Navara body styles and models in the broader Nissan range, most notably SUVs, were in line for Warrior treatment.
“Nothing is off the table, so I think there is room both with Navara and with other models to expand,” he said.
“We don’t have any models specifically to announce or another version of Warrior to announce as far as Navara is concerned at the moment, but the reality is that I think Australian consumers, where a lot of big segments are growing, I think are coming from those vehicles that would benefit from being ‘Warriored’.”
The enhancements of the Navara N-Trek Warrior are based around off-road ability, suggesting the next most appropriate model for the Warrior treatment would be the recently facelifted Patrol upper-large SUV, which has a long and storied history off the tarmac.
A Patrol Warrior could expect a similar treatment to the Navara with larger tyres and tweaked suspension, as well as its own unique decals and frontal and underbody protection.
While the 4x4 pick-up space is now filled with off-road enhanced top-spec variants, no such upgraded OEM versions exist for the Patrol or its LandCruiser 200 Series rival, or even the ute-based SUVs that play in the segment below like the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner or Isuzu MU-X.
However, Mr Lester suggested that the Warrior badge will not just be limited to off-road focused models, saying that any vehicle that fits the bill can be eligible.
“I think the Warrior spectrum is broad,” he said. “There’s certainly off-road that plays into it, and Navara and having a Navara N-Trek Warrior makes sense that off-road is a part of it. But there are lots of other parts of being a Warrior – an urban Warrior or whatever you want – that are still fit for purpose.
“The main ethos of it is that the vehicle lives up to all the challenges, so in concept form the challenges can be different because the end consumer can suggest or can be of the mindset that whether it’s the urban jungle or wherever else that there’s certain things to overcome.”
Mr Lester said despite the fact that other, more on-road-focused models may score Warrior variants, they will not be watered down or limited to cosmetic enhancements.
“What stays is that we’re not going to compromise,” he said.
“If it’s going to get the Warrior name it’s not going to be stickers and plastics and, ‘Oh, we’ll put a little bit of colour on the rim, it’s a Warrior.’
“It has to be fit for purpose, so it’s got to accomplish something, it’s got to do something, it’s got to overcome a challenge or provide the capability more or less to overcome that challenge, so that the buyer or the consumer of that vehicle knows that they’ve really got a Warrior at their control.”
Given the N-Trek Warrior was preceded by the cosmetically enhanced N-Trek, the Pathfinder seven-seat SUV could be suitable for the Warrior treatment, with Nissan confirming a Pathfinder N-Trek will launch in Australia in 2020.
Another obvious potential recipient is the hot-selling X-Trail medium SUV, which scored an N-Trek variant this year and is Nissan’s best-selling model Down Under.
The next-generation Navara, which is expected to arrive in the next couple of years based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance pick-up platform, is also expected to be given the Warrior treatment, with the new variant joining the range as a full-time offering.
“I feel from an Australian standpoint that we’ve proven that we can make a Warrior regardless of what the ute is, in this case Navara in front of us,” said Mr Lester.
“And so we’d be really well positioned on any future plans to be able to create another Warrior.”
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