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Nissan steps up with Navara N-Trek Warrior

Warrior spirit added to Navara N-Trek flagship as Nissan partners with Premcar

10 Oct 2019

NISSAN Australia has fired its best shot yet at the Ford Ranger Raptor, Toyota HiLux Rugged X and HSV Colorado SportsCat, revealing the off-road-focused Navara N-Trek Warrior dual-cab pick-up that will be converted by low-volume vehicle manufacturer Premcar in Epping, Victoria.


Targeting the rapidly growing top end ($60,000-plus) of the 4x4 ute segment, the N-Trek Warrior is based on the ‘regular’ N-Trek flagship that only went on sale two months ago, with examples of the latter to be imported from Thailand and then converted into the former in Australia.


Pricing for the N-Trek Warrior will be announced closer to its launch in early December, but Nissan Australia LCV senior manager Matt Baily promised it will be “very competitive” with the $75,990 (plus on-road costs) Raptor. For reference, the Rugged X and SportsCat are both priced from $62,490, while the N-Trek donor vehicle starts from $56,450.


While the N-Trek Warrior was developed with Australia specifically in mind, responding to customer and dealer feedback, it will also be sold in New Zealand and could be in other regional markets further down the line, according to Nissan Australian managing director Stephen Lester.


Significantly, Premcar hired 40 new staff to work exclusively on the N-Trek Warrior program, with its conversions to take place on a dedicated line at its new 6300-square-metre Epping facility, where parts sourced locally and from abroad will be used.


The new hires are working across Premcar’s design, engineering and sales departments, among others, and some previously worked for Holden, Ford and Toyota when they had local manufacturing operations.


About 10 N-Trek Warriors will be produced per day, but Premcar engineering director Bernie Quinn said that this capacity could be increased to “12 or 13” vehicles with some tweaking of the production line that will supply both Australia and New Zealand, although Mr Lester could not be drawn on how many units Nissan Australia wishes to sell annually.


Nissan Australia and Premcar’s partnership has resulted in the toughest expression of the D23 Navara seen yet locally, with the N-Trek Warrior playing a similar role to the European-market Navara AT32 by Artic Trucks that GoAuto drove in Morocco in November last year.


Developed over the past 12 months after a couple of years on the drawing board, the N-Trek Warrior’s party trick is its upgraded suspension that features softer primary spring rates at the front (-6%) and rear (-8%) for improved ride comfort and off-road articulation.


A longer jounce bumper was also introduced up front to engage the chassis rail earlier and provide a more progressive secondary spring rate, while the rear end’s secondary spring rate is 10 per cent softer, with significantly improved Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels promised on rough roads.


Damper-wise, rod diameter has been increased by 45 per cent for greater strength, while outer tube diameter has grown 17 per cent in order to improve temperature stability, with both changes made to better tackle challenging off-road conditions. As such, a new tune has also been applied.


The N-Trek Warrior also features upgraded alloy wheels and all-terrain tyres, with the design of the black 17-inch rims based on that of the Navara’s Dark Sky Concept from September last year, while the new 275/70 rubber is from the Coopers AT3 series.


Comparatively, the N-Trek rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels (and 255/60 Toyo Open Country A25 tyres), meaning that the N-Trek Warrior’s rims are 1kg lighter per corner and have a 15mm-greater offset, while the rubber’s tread depth is up 5mm for better off-road performance.


As a result, the N-Trek Warrior’s ground clearance is up 40mm, to 268mm, with the suspension and tyres accounting for 15mm and 25mm of its lift respectively. Critically, the Navara’s maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg carries over.


Claimed to be an OEM first in the Australian 4x4 ute segment, the N-Trek Warrior sports a body-coloured hoopless steel bullbar, which integrates redesigned dark orange-accented foglight inserts and front wheelarch extensions.


While Nissan Australia says the new item maintains airbag performance, it has no plans to crash test the N-Trek Warrior in conjunction with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to see if the regular Navara’s five-star rating is still applicable.


Meanwhile, a 3mm stainless-steel underbody plate has also been added to the N-Trek Warrior’s front end to protect its key componentry, while a 470mm light bar with 16 LEDs is positioned centrally above it.


A new towbar cross member has been installed on the N-Trek Warrior to accommodate its full-size spare wheel and tyre as well as its increased ride height.


As a result, approach and departure angles have increased to 35 (+2) and 29 (+1) degrees respectively, which Nissan Australia claims are best in class, while length is up 130mm, to 5385mm, and height is up 30mm, to 1885mm. Track width is now 1600mm, up 30mm.


The new flagship also stands out with its large ‘Navara’ tailgate lettering and full-width ‘N-Trek Warrior’ side decals, while similarly branded embroidered front headrests and dark orange-accented floormats are found inside.


Local testing was carried out to validate the changes made to the donor vehicle, with durability, thermal performance, NVH levels, homologation, towing, laden and unladen condition, electronic stability control (ESC) and braking all assessed.


Premcar conducted this Victorian-based validation using various road surfaces at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) in Wensleydale and at Melbourne University’s Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Testing (ACART) in Little River as well as in the outback, between Ouyen and Pinnaroo.


As a result of the positive outcomes of the testing, the N-Trek Warrior is covered by Nissan Australia’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre factory warranty.


No powertrain upgrades have been made to the N-Trek Warrior, meaning it is motivated by the same 2.3-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 140kW of power at 3750rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1500-2500rpm.


A six-speed manual and seven-speed torque-converter automatic will be available with the N-Trek Warrior, which otherwise shares its standard equipment with the N-Trek.


This includes black treaments for its LED headlight bezels, grille, fender flares, doorhandles, roof rails and alloy sportsbar.


While the lower front fascia, side steps and side-mirror covers are also blackened, they go a step further with a contrasting orange accent line.


Inside, leather-accented seats with orange fabric inserts are found alongside orange stitching on the front door armrests, steering wheel and centre armrest.


Additionally, the front seats get heating functionality, while the driver’s pew features eight-way power adjustment, including for lumbar operation.


Given the N-Trek Warrior forms part of the Series 4 Navara range, it also receives the new AIVI infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is projected onto an 8.0-inch touchscreen.


N-Trek Warrior conversions are scheduled to start next month, with three exterior paintwork options (Cosmic Black, Slate Grey and White Diamond) to be on offer.

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