Nissan Australia and its Melbourne-based engineering partner Premcar have announced plans for a modified, entry-level dual-cab ute to undercut the existing Pro-4X Warrior flagship.
Dubbed Navara SL Warrior, the modified dual-cab ute will be based on the fleet-friendly, entry-level SL trim level and re-engineered by Premcar in Epping, Victoria to compete against the likes of the Ford Ranger FX4 Max and Mazda BT-50 Thunder.
A Warrior program extension was confirmed at a Nissan dealer event on May 9, where the company also said the Patrol Warrior is still under study and spoke of plans to launch four key new models in the second half of 2022.
Having undergone the same local testing, tuning and evaluation as the flagship and more luxuriously-equipped Pro-4X Warrior, the Navara SL Warrior is said to deliver the hallmark Warrior on- and off-road capability at the “most accessible price point to date”.
Nissan this week showed off a concept sketch that hints at the production Navara SL Warrior. The digital image shows off exterior enhancements such as flared wheel arches, a steel bullbar with hoops and an integrated lightbar, chunky all-terrain tyres and Warrior decals.
It remains unclear what specific enhancements we can expect to see exactly on the Navara SL Warrior, but the flagship Pro-4X Warrior receives a winch-compatible hoopless bullbar, bash plate and underbody plating, reworked suspension with a 100kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) upgrade, and a wider track width, plus more.
Nissan indicates more details of the Navara SL Warrior will be revealed closer to the ute’s launch – timing of which Nissan is keeping under wraps.
Regardless, the broader Warrior program has been well received by Nissan operations abroad.
“I’m thrilled to announce the expansions of the Warrior program, developed in collaboration with Premcar, which has proven immensely popular in Australia,” said Nissan Australia managing director Adam Paterson.
“With the Navara SL by Premcar, a new more accessible entry point will join the Warrior family, ensuring even more customers can experience the world’s toughest Navara for themselves.”
Premcar has now produced more than 1000 of the gen-two Navara Pro-4X Warrior, and has a current run rate of around 40 per week. This figure will of course jump with the introduction of the SL base grade.
The Nissan-dedicated team includes veterans from Holden and Ford. One, Mark Doody, has a near 40 year career working for Jaguar, Porsche and GM and was heavily involved with the VE Commodore.
The Navara is first built as a Pro-4X by Nissan in Thailand and shipped to Premcar in Epping, Victoria, where it’s upgraded to make it a Warrior.
The entry-level Navara SL Warrior and mooted Patrol Warrior would also be assembled by Premcar at its Epping facility.
The Nissan and Premcar project isn’t the only ute development and re-engineering hub situated in Victoria.
Ford’s global Ranger development program is based here, as is Walkinshaw’s Clayton hub that re-engineers the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado trucks to right-hand drive, and hots-up the Volkswagen Amarok V6.
Moreover, Toyota Australia’s new ‘T-Con’ site at its old Altona plant churns out thousands of HiLux Rogue and Rugged X editions – at a run rate of 500 per month at present.