Say hello to the Warrior 2.0, the next step in Nissan’s quest to knock the Ford Ranger Raptor down a notch.
The 2022 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior by Premcar (which we’re going to call the Warrior from now on), refines the formula laid out by the first-generation Navara N-Trek Warrior offered until late in 2020.
It’ll be a full-time member of the Navara range.
Like before, the Warrior is built by Nissan in Thailand before being shipped to Premcar in Epping, Victoria, where it’s given a thorough working-over.
There are a few changes to the formula, however.
For one, a gross vehicle mass increase means the payload of the new Warrior is 961kg with a manual and 952kg with an automatic – up from just north of 750kg in the previous model.
Nissan has also refined a few of the elements that caused owners problems with the previous model.
The front bumper is powder coated before being painted and houses a winch mount, while the LED light bar is integrated into the bumper so it doesn’t impede on the surround-view camera.
“Any feedback we got from [media] and the customers, we took that on board and addressed that in the next development program,” said Bernie Quinn, head of engineering at Premcar.
“For example, we copped some flack about not having a winch-compatible safari bar. This one can take a winch, it’s compatible. You can tick the box at the dealer and get a winch fitted.
“The increased payload capacity was another one that came back. 760kg wasn’t considered acceptable by all the users,” he said.
Compared to the standard PRO-4X, the Navara Warrior has a 30mm wider track and a totally bespoke suspension setup that helps lift the ride height by 40mm to 260mm.
The Warrior sits on unique 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 275/70 Cooper Discoverer AT tyres that contribute 25mm to the taller ride.
Its approach angle has improved from 32 degrees to 36 degrees, while the departure angle remains largely the same at 19 degrees. Wading depth is 600mm, and a snorkel is optional.
There’s a unique tow bar to work with the raised ride, and to accomodate the full-sized spare wheel hiding beneath the tub, as was previously the case.
Premcar has fitted 3mm steel underbody protection, and the front bash plate is now Navara-branded. There’s no doubt the new Warrior looks seriously tough, even compared to the previous model.
The real appeal of the last Warrior was its sophisticated suspension, and that remains the case in 2021.
There are new springs and dampers at both ends, new bump stops up front, and a new jounce bumper designed to better control body movement towards the end of the suspension travel.
All these components have been tweaked compared to the N-Trek Warrior, even though the core concept is unchanged.
Premcar has upped the high-speed rebound rate by 50 per cent and the compression rate by 100 per cent compared to the stock PRO-4X, and changes to the rear rebound damping are designed to make the ute feel less floaty.
Rather than feeling like a dual-cab ute on stilts, Premcar says the Warrior is stable at speed and has direct, linear steering.
On rough roads, the suspension is designed to better isolate the driver from lumps and bumps, keeping the body in check and filtering out big hits.
Given it’s sold in Nissan showrooms wearing a Nissan badge, backed by a five-year Nissan warranty, the Warrior is designed to feel like a factory product rather than a heavily-modified ute.
Premcar points to the engineering work required to make the speedometer accurate with bigger wheels as an example of the lengths it’s gone to for a factory-spec finish.
Power still comes from a twin-turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder diesel mated to a switchable all-wheel drive system and low-range.
It still makes 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, and is offered with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.
That’s right, there’s no extra power.
“The issue with doing a powertrain upgrade, the main issue is making it reliable,” Bernie Quinn explained.
“We can do it. We know we can get more power and torque out of this engine, we’ve proven that.
“The problem is managing that, particularly from a heat point of view.”
Inside, the Warrior shares its bones with the Navara PRO-4X, albeit with plenty of special detailing to help it stand out.
Infotainment comes courtesy of an 8.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring, and the driver is faced with a 7.0-inch colour trip computer.
Nissan’s full suite of active driver assists is offered standard as well… at least, the full suite offered on the Navara.
That means autonomous emergency braking, brake-based lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera all feature, but there’s no adaptive cruise control or a proper steering-based lane-keep system.
Pricing for the new Warrior hasn’t been revealed. It’ll be offered in three colours: grey, white, and black.