Nissan’s toughest off-road ute, the Navara N-Trek Warrior, is coming back for a second generation.
Nissan Australia says the locally-engineered and modified Navara N-Trek Warrior project even proved successful enough to warrant attention from higher up the corporate chain of command, focused on the next one.
On the one hand this means more support and recognition from Nissan Australia. On the other it creates more questions and hurdles, more boxes that need ticking than the almost ‘skunkworks’ previous iteration.
Nevertheless, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester says work on a new-look Warrior based on the Series 5 Navara is underway with Melbourne engineering partner Premcar.
“We’re working with the global team and due to the success of the previous model, we’ve got a lot more global interest in how we bring the concept to life, which is, I think, really exciting for us,” Mr Lester told us this week.
“But it’s also creating some more questions and hurdles, and things like that. We’ve been fortunate that we’re working with the global team to help iron out the process, ensuring that we follow all the Nissan engineering guidelines for approval of the product.
“Once we get that I think in pretty short order we can bring that to market.”
When asked if we’d see a new Warrior in showrooms during 2021, Mr Lester replied: “I certainly hope so, I’m ready for it tomorrow. Everyone is really pumped.”
It’ll have to move the dial over the previous Warrior, since it’ll be based on the newly introduced Navara PRO-4X grade, which is already fitted with more macho add-ons than its N-Trek predecessor. More detail here, but in short they include all-terrain rubber and unique sports bars.
The previous Navara N-Trek Warrior came with a hoopless steel bull bar, front underbody protection, an LED light bar, Cooper off-road tyres, and new springs and dampers. The project included months of testing in the outback and on private proving grounds and thermal test centres in Victoria.
“Without question I think what what Pro-4X does, is it gives us a great platform to build on,” Mr Lester said.
“The reality is, now we get an even bigger jump to start from the base… from our view, base camp starts much higher. And in already a very attractive package.”
We asked Mr Lester if some drivetrain tweaks to the familiar 140kW and 450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel might form part of the new Warrior derivative. Reading between the lines, the answer is no.
“We wouldn’t be car guys if we weren’t always looking under the bonnet. But the reality is that comes with a lot of other hurdles and challenges for us to get across the line.
“We don’t miss an opportunity to request, ask, beg, plead for other alternatives should they be available, but time will tell down the track whether that’s feasible,” he said.
We asked Mr Lester to expand on whether it was harder to do Warrior Mk2 given the first project succeeded. There were 1400 conversions sold to Australian customers.
“I think the general attitude is quite positive. Always, when you have more eyes looking at the project, there’s a lot more scrutiny and input and discussion,” he said.
“The great news is that Nissan has been really embracing the opportunity that it presents. And they’ve been really supportive and helping us understand how we can bring more sophistication to the process overall, whether it be from a design standpoint, or from an engineering standpoint.”
The 2021 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior will compete against the Australian-developed Ford Ranger Raptor and Toyota HiLux Rugged X, as well as the left-of-centre Jeep Gladiator. Expect news in the coming months.