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Nissan Navara 2020 review: N-Trek Warrior

Warrior gives you a lot of Raptor on less than a Wildtrak budget.
EXPERT RATING
8
Ford has the Raptor, HSV has the Sports Cat, Toyota has the Rugged X, and now Nissan has the N-Trek Warrior. Does the Navara tough truck stack up?

It used to be the Commodore, Falcon and occasionally Camry that held the mantle of being significant enough to warrant a pre-launch prototype media event when a new model was nearing completion. 

As far as landmark moments go, they were about as big as they got. 

That’s clearly not the case anymore, with dual-cab utes evidently being the biggest thing these days when it comes to enthusiast appeal and outright sales.

  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.
  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.
  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.
  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.
  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.
  • The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar. The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineers at Premcar.

So when we scored a top secret invite to drive prototypes of an as-yet unnamed new Navara variant several months ago, it was clear there was something exciting in the works. 

Crafty was lucky enough to delve under that veil of secrecy, before Tung got to see the finished N-Trek Warrior in a static reveal in October

I was among the first to experience its N-Trek basis in August, which put me in the best position to see exactly what the Warrior upgrades represent at its full-scale media launch in the Victorian High Country this week. 

Nissan Navara 2020: N-TREK WARRIOR (4x4)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.3L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$65,490

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

The new N-Trek Warrior is as much about looks as it is thoroughly engineered mechanical upgrades, but both take it well beyond the regular N-Trek. 

The new N-Trek Warrior is as much about looks as it is thoroughly engineered mechanical upgrades. The new N-Trek Warrior is as much about looks as it is thoroughly engineered mechanical upgrades.

It’s best to think of the Warrior as the Ford Ranger Raptor rival, and the regular N-Trek is more of a Wildtrak, even though the Warrior’s pricing from launch is actually cheaper than the Wildtrak! More on that below. 

Premcar was effectively responsible for the Falcon GT back in the day. Premcar was effectively responsible for the Falcon GT back in the day.

The Warrior is the result of a joint project between Nissan Australia and the Aussie engineering gurus at Premcar, who had a lot to do with the FPV Falcons as part of the Prodrive empire back in the day, including the best of the best Sprint models that were the Falcon’s last hurrah. 

Premcar has established a new dedicated facility for converting regular N-Treks into Warriors that’s created 40 new jobs, many of whom used to build Falcons, Commodores and Camrys before the factories closed.

Using the most common aftermarket mods as their guide, Nissan and Premcar have come up with a properly engineered package with a full five-year factory warranty.

The Navara’s face is transformed by an aggro-looking and bespoke designed steel front bar supplied by EGR, which houses a Hella LED light bar, with a properly functional 3mm stainless front skid plate under the nose. 

The Navara’s face is transformed by a bespoke designed steel front bar supplied by EGR. The Navara’s face is transformed by a bespoke designed steel front bar supplied by EGR.

The tyres also lift the ride height by 25mm, and the suspension has been completely reworked to suit with redesigned front bump stops, springs by Monroe and thicker and longer dampers by Tenneco. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that the suspension mods only add 15mm to the ride height, but this is to ensure the front end geometry stays within Nissan’s durability targets. 

The nitty gritty of the suspension upgrade includes softer (six per cent front, eight per cent rear) primary spring rates for ride comfort and articulation, which is balanced by a 10 per cent higher but more progressive secondary spring rate at the rear to maintain composure under load.

The front features a Hella LED light bar.


The front features a Hella LED light bar.

Around the back, there’s a redesigned towbar to fit around the bigger spare and compensate for the extra ride height, that cleverly tapers away at the corners to optimise the departure angle. This is just 19 degrees parallel with the body, but will be significantly greater when approaching things at an angle.

The Warrior also gets a bespoke decal package, which was the outcome of an elaborate design process. The relatively subtle final package chosen to allow the chassis mods to do most of the talking.

Headrests are embroidered with the Warrior logo. Headrests are embroidered with the Warrior logo.

On the inside, the already juiced up N-Trek trim is bolstered by headrests embroidered with the Warrior logo.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The N-Trek Warrior's upgraded visuals and mechanicals have made no difference to cabin practicality, with four cupholders up front and bottle holders in each door. There's no cup holders or centre armrest for rear seat passengers.

 

The Warrior's upgraded visuals and mechanicals have made no difference to cabin practicality. The Warrior's upgraded visuals and mechanicals have made no difference to cabin practicality.The rear seat does get directional air vents and the two ISOFIX child seat mounts that were added last year in addition to the three top tether mounts.

Key weight measurements include decent 730/724kg payloads split between manual and automatic, which are 193kg lighter than the regular N-Trek because of the heavier Warrior additions.

There's no cup holders or centre armrest for rear seat passengers. There's no cup holders or centre armrest for rear seat passengers.

The Warrior retains the same 3500kg max braked towing capacity of all current Navaras.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

This is arguably the biggest surprise with the Warrior, with drive-away pricing of $62,990 for the manual and $65,490 for the auto not only undercutting the MSRP (before on-roads) price of the Ford Ranger Raptor by more than $10,000 (and therefore more like $15,000 with on-road costs considered), which also effectively undercuts the on-road cost of both 3.2 and 2.0-litre versions of the Wildrak. 

It’s not hard to imagine Premcar’s 13 vehicles per day production capacity struggling to keep up demand.  

The Warrior features the new eight-inch multimedia screen and system. The Warrior features the new eight-inch multimedia screen and system.

Underneath all the tough bits, the Warrior benefits from the Series 4 Navara 2020 update that arrived four months ago with the regular N-Trek.

This means it’s finally got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto thanks to the new eight-inch multimedia screen and system, which debuted in the Leaf and will start to trickle through other Nissan products.

Like the N-Trek, the colour options are limited to just black, grey or white, while the latter two are premium colours and will set you back an extra $595.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

Like the Ranger Raptor and HSV Sports Cat, the N-Trek Warrior makes do without any drivetrain upgrades, with the performance focus being solely on the chassis. 

So it's got the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel fitted to all higher end NP300 Navaras, which produces the same but healthy 140kW and 450Nm it has since 2015, with the latter available across a relatively narrow 1500-2500rpm.

Transmission options are also carried over, meaning a six-speed manual or seven-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

This is an interesting area. Normally, you can count on the mandated windscreen sticker to clarify official fuel consumption figures for Urban, Extra Urban and Combined cycles, but there’s no specific figures available for the N-Trek Warrior. 

Nissan’s explanation is as follows: “N-Trek Warrior is fitted with additional enhancements under a second stage manufacturing process, and has not been separately tested. The real-world fuel economy and CO2 emissions of the N-Trek Warrior are likely to be higher than the figures shown in the spec sheet.”

So expect it to use more than the 6.5L/100km (manual) and 7.0L/100km (auto) official combined fuel consumption figures of the ST-X dual-cab 4x4s, but they’re the best numbers we can offer until we’re able to test consumption ourselves.

Nonetheless, the 80-litre fuel tank suggests a pretty handy range between fills.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Nobody is pretending that the Warrior is extreme as the Raptor. It has less than half of the Raptor’s suspension lift, and you also don’t get the massively wider tracks, and it misses out on the Ford’s expensively pumped sheetmetal. 

But don’t forget that the Navara already has the more off-road friendly coil spring rear suspension, and that $10,000-plus discount over the mega Ford

It does feel significantly different to a regular Navara though, particularly over the off-road drive route during the media launch with no load in the tray. 

  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.
  • The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road. The Warrior feels significantly different to a regular Navara, particularly off-road.

A regular Navara would have be jiggly as all hell, and leave you feeling pretty over it by the end of a long day on the dirt. 

The Warrior is more settled, more comfortable and feels more capable as a result. 

A lot of this is simply a lesson in the value of fitting decent all terrain tyres to your ute, but the suspension upgrade definitely plays a big role in achieving this outcome. 

The iconic Blue Rag Range Track that formed the centrepiece of our first drive is hardly the most challenging off road track, but does represent a solid test for a factory standard dual-cab ute. 

You've always got the base car's rear diff lock as a decent insurance policy, but we only used it once during the day on a set of  suprisingly gnarly uphill wombat holes. 

  • The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience. The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience.
  • The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience. The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience.
  • The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience. The Warrior package has a big difference in its on-road experience.

The big surprise is the difference the Warrior package has made to the on-road experience. 

The softer initial spring rate is immediately obvious on even moderately bumpy roads, and the sense of composure and stability continues, which is always welcome in something with a centre of gravity as high as a ute. 

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Like the rest of the rest of the Series 4 Navara range, the N-Trek Warrior continues to miss out on the AEB you can get with European versions of the Navara, which is now becoming more commonplace among Australian utes.  

Nonetheless, it carries a maximum five star ANCAP safety rating according to 2015 standards, and is equipped with driver and passenger front airbags, driver's kneebag, driver and front passenger side airbags and curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

Despite the raft of Warrior upgrades, it’s still covered by Nissan’s relatively new five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all private owners, while commercial operators will only be eligible for five years/200,000km. Roadside assistance is included for the duration, which isn’t always the case.

The Warrior is covered by Nissan’s relatively new five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all private owners. The Warrior is covered by Nissan’s relatively new five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all private owners.

Service intervals are the same 12 months/20,000km, which is generous compared to the likes of the HiLux, which persists with six-month/10,000km service terms. 

While matching the rest of the Navara range, the Warrior’s service costs are very high for the segment, with an average annual cost of $629 throughout the warranty period.

Verdict

The Navara N-Trek Warrior comes with a pretty cool back story, and backs it up with great looks and a genuinely improved driving experience both on road and off. It’s a shame it doesn't pack the AEB of the class leaders, and the Raptor for that matter, but it's a thoroughly cool package overall.

Pricing guides

$46,245
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$26,500
Highest Price
$65,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
DX (4x4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $32,650 2020 Nissan Navara 2020 DX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
N-TREK SPECIAL EDITION (4x4) 2.3L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $58,950 2020 Nissan Navara 2020 N-TREK SPECIAL EDITION (4x4) Pricing and Specs
N-TREK WARRIOR (4x4) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $62,990 2020 Nissan Navara 2020 N-TREK WARRIOR (4x4) Pricing and Specs
RX (4x2) 2.3L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $29,050 2020 Nissan Navara 2020 RX (4x2) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Design9
Practicality8
Price and features9
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption8
Driving8
Safety7
Ownership8
Malcolm Flynn
CarsGuide Editor

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Pricing Guide

$65,490

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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