Nissan Australia and its Melbourne-based engineering partner Premcar say they are still working on a modified Patrol Warrior designed to be better both on- and off-road than the hot-selling – and supply restricted – donor vehicle.
A Warrior program extension was confirmed at a Nissan dealer event on May 9, where the company also spoke of plans to launch four key new models in the second half of 2022, and to build a cheaper Navara SL Warrior to sit below the popular Pro-4X Warrior.
The mooted Patrol Warrior would join said Navara Pro-4X Warrior halo dual-cab ute in the company’s range. This dual-cab is a more off-road-ready derivative re-engineered by Premcar, to compete with the Toyota HiLux Rugged X and co.
It remains unclear what specific enhancements we can expect to see on the Patrol Warrior, which both Nissan and Premcar have been speaking about for some time. The broader Warrior program has been well received by Nissan operations abroad.
But the Japanese company this week showed off a concept sketch that hints at the production Patrol Warrior. The digital image shows faintly wild side-exit exhaust tips, black exterior highlights led by prominent wheel arches, and low-profile tyres wrapping large alloy wheels.
The sketch indicates the Patrol Warrior might be more on-road oriented, and thereby miss out on some of the Navara Pro-4X Warrior’s off-road upgrades – such as its hoopless steel bullbar and all-terrain tyres. However, this is not an iron-clad preview of the final version.
It’s unclear if the road-going Patrol Warrior would get any upgrades to the regular car’s thumping 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine, which is held in high regard by many who tow big loads.
“The Nissan Patrol is… currently under study by Premcar to further broaden its capability, both on and off road,” said Nissan Australia managing director Adam Paterson.
“Our collaboration with Premcar is guided by the development of vehicles that are perfectly suited to Australian customers and conditions.”
The Nissan Patrol Warrior has been on the cards now for over two years and the last details we received were from July 2021. We know that demand for the regular Patrol has been outstripping supply for some time, which has certainly thrown the program a curve ball.
In July last year, Nissan senior manager Matt Baily gave some extrea details, stating that the Navara Warrior formula “would be the kind of thing we would look to explore, but obviously Patrol is a different vehicle to Navara, and there might be some small differences and nuances there”.
This mirrors comments from Premcar head of engineering Bernie Quinn, in July 2021, who said: “If we were able to overlay the Warrior treatment [on the Patrol], you can imagine how good that would be… [and] it has some unique features in it that I think we can enhance”.
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.
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 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 mooted Patrol would also be assembled by Premcar at its Epping facility.
The Nissan and Premcar project is not 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.