Motoring

THE EFTM GARAGE: Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior Review

Make: Nissan
Model: Navara
Variant: N-Trek Warrior
Engine / Transmission: 2.3 litre turbo diesel – 7 speed automatic
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 6.5L/100km combined. 
Price: From $67,290 drive away (as part of a finance deal)

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In a Nutshell: The N-Trek Warrior is a commendable effort by Nissan Australia to ‘factory’ customise their soon to be replaced Navara dual cab 

First Impressions: 

Nissan knows that dual cab ute customers often take their shiny new rigs straight to ARB or TJM or any one of the many other 4WD customisers to spend up to $20k or $30k on ‘upgrades’. With the N-Trek Warrior, Nissan has joined Ford, with their Raptor, and Toyota, with their Hilux Rugged X, in an attempt to plug the leak of profits to third party 4WD accessory suppliers with ‘factory’ custom creations.

Tech Inside:

As is often the case with this kind of car, it isn’t so much about the tech inside as it is about the tech underneath and in this regard Nissan didn’t muck about. When Nissan conceived this project they brought in Premcar to do the necessary engineering work. You might know Premcar by their previous name, Prodrive UK, or before that, Tickford Vehicle Engineering. Not only were Premcar the brains behind Ford’s XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 and FPV’s F6 and GT, but also controlled the reins at TRD (Toyota Racing Development). They know their stuff. 

The Warrior’s key highlights are the suspension lift, 32.2” mini-monster truck tyres and some tasty bar work. While this may sound simple, like any vehicle modifications, in reality it never is. The Cooper tyres look great and together with the suspension lift provide a huge 4 inch lift, but such a big lift necessitates things like speedometer/odometer recalibration and springs and dampers that take into account the raised centre of gravity. The changes made to the Warrior are indiscernible for the most part and is a credit to Premcar’s expertise in making fairly dramatic modifications seamless. 

Inside, the Warrior sports ‘Nissan Intelligent Mobility’. This system includes the now commonplace hill descent control, for low speed off-road movements, and hill start assist, making those hill starts just a little smoother, but it also includes Around View Monitor, giving a 360 degree bird’s eye view of your Navara. This is a great feature to include in a work ute and a feature that continues to be missing in a whole heap of so-called ‘luxury’ cars. 

Most Impressive:

This truck looks great. The Navara is already one of the prettier dual cabs and the Warrior’s modifications only make it look better. Moving past this, the coil spring rear end of the Navara range also provides a slight ride improvement over, say, an Amarok (the best riding among the leaf sprung utes). Still, don’t for a second think that the Warrior will ride like a regular sedan. The compromises needed for the 3500kg towing capacity (under certain conditions) and the 917kg payload (but not when towing at capacity) are simply too great to provide a ‘regular’ type of ride. 

Not So Impressive:

The Warrior was always going to be a love it or hate it proposition. It’s bloody expensive, but not so if you consider the cost of, say, a Navara ST-X with a tonne of accessories from ARB or TJM. Furthermore, one of the modifications (the LED light bar) actually inhibits the ability of the Around View Monitor to ‘see’ forwards. I suspect that this is due to Australian Design Rules restricting its placement, but it’s a stupid idea. 

Ultimately, as good an effort as the N-Trek Warrior is, it is not for me. I have some fairly specific ideas when it comes to building a ute and the Warrior is not it. Give me a Navara RX dual cab chassis and an ARB catalogue and I’d be a happy man – I can choose exactly what I need and have nothing that I don’t. 

WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE: 

Make sure that you really need all that the Warrior can do. Far too many people buy rigs like this when it is actually the last thing they need. At my place, I use four wheel drive in my ute every week and I would be lost without it, but you can go around Australia in an AU Falcon.

THE EFTM GARAGE: Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior Review
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