- Doors and Seats
- Engine Power
- Ancap Safety
This factory-fettled Navara looks to take on the top of the town with home-grown modifications.
- Attention to detail in suspension tuning makes for a better ride and better off-road performance
- New bar design is now winch-compatible
- Extra bump in GVM is welcome
- Still can’t match the Raptor for outright off-road chops
- Prices have gone up with the new facelift
- Not as ergonomically complete as other utes
There’s never a dull moment in the four-wheel-drive ute segment. As manufacturers jostle among each other for market share, there is a constant stream of improvements, adjustments and updates.
For example, take this 2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior. Despite getting constant changes, updates, adjustments and improvements since this coil-sprung Navara generation first landed back in 2015, Nissan has recently given its four-wheel-drive ute a thorough working over in order to keep up with the Joneses.
The Warrior specification – tuned and augmented in Australia by Premcar and Nissan – is right at the top of the Navara range. It’s priced from $69,990 before on-road costs, and brings improvements to suspension, protection, capability and specification.
This new top-specification Navara is also an indicator of how the four-wheel-drive ute segment is faring. Buyers (and therefore manufacturers) are no longer content with only high-grade models like the Ranger Wildtrak, Amarok Ultimate or HiLux Rogue. They want increased performance and augmented presence – more than what just a sticker pack and a few bolt-on accessories can muster.
Normally, buyers head to the thriving aftermarket industry to fulfil such needs. They go there in droves, and they aren’t afraid of spending a heavy quid in order to get what they want.
However, manufacturers are also getting in on the act: turn-key solutions with high specifications, upgraded mechanicals and improved driving experiences both on-road and off-road.
This new-look Navara Pro-4X Warrior picks up where the old N-Trek Warrior left off, using local engineering firm Premcar to augment the Navara into something new. And it’s something certainly more special. Specially tuned suspension – done by Premcar in Australia – increased the ride height for overall ground clearance and dampers tuned to suit the new application.
There are also larger, more aggressive Cooper all-terrain tyres on unique 17-inch wheels, underbody bash plates, improved bump stops and a winch-compatible bullbar (with an integrated light bar) that suits the Navara’s new look.
The towbar has been redesigned for improved off-road clearance, and Nissan has gone to the effort of increasing the GVM (gross vehicle mass) of the Navara Warrior by 100kg, which means the payload stays mostly intact.
Other new elements are splashes of red – on the suspension components and bash plates, as well as the front badge – to help piece together that whole ‘modified’ image.
Since it launched back in 2014, Nissan’s new Navara hasn’t managed to hold the same slice of pie that the previous-generation D40 Navara enjoyed for many years. It used to be a constant number two in the segment behind the Toyota HiLux.
These days – in terms of sales numbers – the Navara has been bested by the likes of Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton, as well as the Isuzu D-Max. If the Navara were as good as this iteration straight off the bat – the fifth major update – it might not have conceded so much territory.
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Inside, the Navara Pro-4X Warrior benefits from a variety of changes that mostly debuted across the range before this update. There’s a new steering wheel design, a bigger and better infotainment display and updated instrument cluster.
This Navara Warrior gets a new seat design with electric adjustment. It’s lacking heating in this specification, and doesn’t have the same degree of adjustment that other ute pews have. The Navara is also missing reach adjustment – a symptom of the platform’s age – but I found once I was in and behind the wheel, I was comfortable.
There’s a good selection of power outlets, with a USB-C spot hiding in the centre console along with a USB-A and 12V in the dashboard. Storage is also decent but not as good as the Isuzu D-Max or Toyota HiLux.
Air vents in the second row will be appreciated by those stuck in the back, along with the USB-A power outlet. Space and general comfort in the back are good, with enough room for adults to get comfortable.
Underneath the seat bases is a small amount of usable storage among the scissor jack and wheel brace. Or that seat can remain flipped upwards for those who might want to use the second row for straight storage.
It’s a small detail, but I do love that sliding rear window in the back of the Navara. It helps to keep the fresh air flowing while driving without as much buffeting and noise.
|2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior|
|Tray dimensions||1560mm wide / 1469mm long|
Infotainment and Connectivity
Nissan’s new-generation infotainment display – measuring in at 8.0 inches and first appearing just before the facelift – is good. It’s got Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio, navigation and an easy-to-use operating system. There are buttons to push and knobs to twist, which makes operating it on the fly easy.
The size is good enough, but those wanting maximum infotainment real estate will look elsewhere (like the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50). And, of course, new models on the horizon (like the Ford Ranger) will continue to push the boundaries of what a ‘normal’ screen size is. Keeping up with the Joneses is no easy task, after all.
However, if you’re content not to be at the pointy end of the pixel arms race that most cars are part of, this Navara’s system has absolutely nothing wrong with it. You’ve also got the benefit of a 360-degree surround-view camera – something of a rarity in this segment.
The instrument cluster in the Navara persists with analogue gauges – again, nothing wrong with it at all – supplemented by a larger screen in the middle. This has a bit more functionality going on these days, with more information to easily dig through.
We particularly like the tyre pressure monitoring on a four-wheel-drive. It’s handy when you head out into the bush and forget your tyre gauge (me), as well as for those longer touring-type trips. Knowing exactly what your pressures are doing all the time is quite a luxury, and adds in a good dose of peace of mind.
A big part of why the Navara scored an update is to help accommodate a new wave of advanced safety equipment. Along with looking more brash and certainly more American, it also scores autonomous emergency braking – keeping up with more Joneses. There is a five-star ANCAP safety rating, with the original 2015 result being updated in 2020 to reflect the new active safety equipment.
There’s also blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but the Navara is missing adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition and a front-centre airbag, which was debuted by the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 twins for this segment.
|2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior|
|ANCAP rating||Five stars (tested 2015)|
|Safety report||Link to ANCAP report|
There are a few different angles to look at this Navara with the value scope in mind.
Firstly, one can look at it like a discount Ranger Raptor: something that performs similarly at a lower price. The Navara Warrior scores points for maintaining its 3500kg towing and near-tonne payload as well; something the Raptor cannot match. However, when it comes to the significance of the modifications and the overall impact on the end result, the Ranger Raptor is still a cut above.
Another way to look at the Navara Warrior is like a pre-modifed Navara straight off the showroom floor. And that makes sense, because all of the additions you see on this Navara are common for modified four-wheel drives: wheels, tyres, suspension and protection.
Does it represent good value for money? Costing around $10,000 more than the Pro-4X on which it’s based, you could easily argue that. Ten gorillas will get easily sucked up through suspension, wheels, tyres and a fitted bullbar. Add in some finer details like bump stops, bash plates and the modified towbar, and the Warrior starts to make even more sense.
Aftermarket offerings – no matter how good or personalised they are – cannot match a few things this Navara Warrior does. Firstly, a seamless integration with the factory manufacturer’s warranty. And secondly, the 100kg bump in GVM (and therefore payload).
And in order to get a suspension set-up that matches or improves what this Warrior does, you’ll have to spend a considerable amount of money and time on something of high enough quality. In other words, don’t go shopping on eBay for springs and shocks.
But, at the same time, some punters out there would be able to match (or even better) the equipment offering of the Navara Warrior for less money, if they were more selective with their choice of aftermarket equipment. That will be a horses-for-courses argument and will depend upon personal tastes and requirements.
And while modifications and warranties have been known to butt heads from time to time, the ability for one to choose specific accessories and modifications to suit their tastes, wants and budgets is never a bad thing.
However, aftermarket equipment will need to be quality stuff – of which there is plenty available from big and small companies alike – if it wants to match the Warrior for fit and finish.
|At a glance||2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1744 (3 years) | $2304 (4 years) | $2847 (5 years)|
The good thing about the Warrior specification is that it makes the Navara better in just about every facet: to sit in, look at, drive on-road and off-road. And not losing those workhorse characteristics of a good payload and towing capacity will help sway their opinion, especially if they plan on using their specced-up ute for weekly work duties.
And while the modifications have already begun, it doesn’t mean they will stop. Adding things like storage, 12V, recovery equipment (especially a winch, which will now fit) will always be on the minds of current and prospective owners.
The 2022 Nissan Navara Warrior gets a five year and unlimited-kilometre warranty – equal with most in the segment – and a capped-price servicing schedule. It’s reasonably priced from a four-wheel drive ute, as well: visit every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, and you’ll be spending $2847 over the five years. That equals out to $596.40 per year. There are cheaper examples of this, but don’t forget that a four-wheel drive ute has more oily bits than most others.
|Fuel Usage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||8.1L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||8.8L/100km|
|Fuel tank size||80L|
Without any changes to the engine and gearbox for this Navara Warrior, the driving experience does mimic cheaper Navara variants in many ways. The 2.3-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine might sound a little rattly at times in comparison to other engines out there, but develops a thick and purposeful push of torque not far above idle.
The engine seems at its strongest around the lower and middle rev ranges, which is something matched well by the seven-speed automatic gearbox. Its 140kW and 450Nm aren’t shabby, and feel like enough for this Navara tootling around town and cruising along the highway.
There is a little bit of breathlessness that comes into play at the upper end of the rev range, and feeling less comfortable and willing if the engine is forced to slog away around the vicinity of the redline for too long. It’s not bad, and is something more noticeable when fully loaded up or towing. Unladen, you’ll be doing well to notice it.
The ride quality afforded by the pumped-up suspension in this Navara Warrior yields a big and obvious benefit over ‘normal’ Navara variants. After a few attempts to get it right, Nissan fiddled with the steering as well and finally ended up with a car that is quite competent around town overall.
It’s good, yes, but this Warrior is better. There’s a sense of cushioning and suppleness, but also good body control and a nice steering feel that help elevate the driving experience. One can push harder along rough surfaces quite happily, as well as unsealed roads with more control and confidence.
The inevitable comparison between Warrior and Raptor will be made, and there is a difference there. The Warrior’s smartly tuned and big twin-tube shock absorbers can’t match the internal-bypassing Fox Shocks, but one shouldn’t expect it to either.
Off-road, the increased ground clearance and protection yield a solid bump in overall performance. Add in good-quality 32-inch all-terrain tyres – with light truck construction no less – and a locking rear differential, and this Navara Warrior packs a solid off-road punch overall.
Bash plates are solid – 3mm steel – and able to take a good hit off-road, which will inevitably happen when you start taking on some more challenging tracks. The side steps are unchanged, and from our experience are easy to damage off-road when you run out of sill clearance. At least they are higher off the ground in this case thanks to the suspension and taller tyres.
The fact that Nissan allows traction control to operate on the front wheels while the rear diff is locked – not every ute does this – also helps. The rear differential locks the rear wheels together, but the Navara’s ABS module is able to nip away at the front wheels and pull traction to the right wheels when the going gets tough.
We found the standard Navara to be quite a good jigger off-road at our recent off-road mega test, and a bit of a dark horse in comparison to others in the segment. And the good news is that the Navara Warrior is able to build upon these strengths.
|Key details||2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior|
|Engine||2.3-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel|
|Power||140kW @ 3750rpm|
|Torque||450Nm @ 1500-2500rpm|
|Drive type||Four-wheel drive, low-range with locking rear differential|
|Transmission||Seven-speed torque convertor automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||60.9kW/t|
|Gross vehicle mass||3259kg|
|Gross combination mass||5910kg|
|Tow rating||3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
Maybe you want a Ranger Raptor, but can’t live with the lower towing capacity and payload? In that case, this Navara Warrior is ripe for consideration.
Or, you’ve got a budget that simply doesn’t stretch all the way to $80,000 (and beyond) for a Raptor? In that case as well, the Navara Warrior is well worth your thoughts.
Perhaps you’ve got your mind on some really big tyres, even though that comes with stacks of compromises? The Navara Warrior is technically a better place to start with larger standard tyres, flares and better suspension.
The Navara Warrior doesn’t rewrite the rules in any way. It does what Australians have been doing for years (modifying their utes) and also offering it off the showroom floor.
What’s more important for this car is the attention to detail. The suspension in particular feels very good to drive, and is a credit to the work that Premcar did in Australia to dial in those all-important compression and rebound rates.
While it doesn’t offer the same sharpness of overall value as the previous N-Trek Warrior, it does still make sense for a lot of buyers. Because at the end of the day, they have taken a good ute and simply made it even better.