Driven: The 2022 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior is brash and unabashed

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Australian buyers love pickup trucks, especially ones that make a bold statement on the road. And, as far as claims go, the new Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior certainly makes for a really big one.

This flagship variant of the facelifted Navara was unveiled by Nissan Australia in mid-2021 and replaces the pre-facelift Navara N-Trek Warrior. It rivals the Toyota Hilux Rugged X and Ford Ranger Raptor as a rugged vehicle that’s just as good at highway cruising as it is blasting a gravel road or climbing a steep off-road trail.

Like the N-Trek Warrior it replaces, the Navara Pro-4X Warrior doesn’t come from the factory just like that. Instead, it is extensively modified by local engineering firm Premcar and then shipped to Nissan dealerships.

A truck hard to ignore

Premcar’s improvements start under the skin with new suspension components, giving the Nissan 40mm (1.5 inches) of extra ground clearance. High-speed rebound and compression rates have also been increased by 50% and 100% respectively. Nissan’s claim is that these changes result in a smoother, more compliant ride.

Look past the modified suspension and you’ll notice 17-inch black wheels with 275/70 Cooper Discover All Terrain AT3 tires. Premcar has also fitted the flagship Navara with a bright red front skid plate, underbody dash plates, revised bump stops and a winch-compatible bulb.

Various exterior upgrades also catch the eye. These include the fitting of flared front and rear wheel arches, new mud flaps, side steps, ‘Twin Turbo’ decals on the side sills and a revised front fascia with a new steel bumper. and an integrated LED light bar. All Navara Pro-4X Warrior models also sport a black sport bar, roof rails and a modified tow bar.

In the Australian market for rugged pickups like this, few make quite the impression the Warrior does, although the Hilux Rugged X, with its snorkel, comes close.

The cabin

Refreshing the Navara for the 2021 model year, Nissan has made a number of welcome updates to the cabin. However, it is starting to show some signs of aging.

The automaker’s outgoing 8.0-inch infotainment system takes pride of place in the center of the dash. This system is the same as found on much of Nissan’s range but has been updated in its latest generation vehicles, such as the Qashqai and X-Trail/Rogue. While the system works well and is both easy to understand and use, the touchscreen isn’t particularly responsive and the software feels dated. However, we like the automaker’s decision to retain a good number of buttons and dials.

Nissan has given the facelifted Navara an updated gauge cluster that retains two traditional dials but features a larger center screen that displays key vehicle functions. This configuration is a marked improvement over the pre-facelift model. The presence of a new three-spoke steering wheel with black plastic buttons and a black Nissan badge is also welcome.

Also: We Drive The 2020 Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior

Compared to the pre-facelifted N-Trek Warrior we tested two years ago, this updated model also has a different set of seats trimmed in softer leather and without the dominant orange seat centers of the old one. model. Curiously, the heated seats have been removed for this new model, meaning there are now three blank switches on the transmission tunnel. Another disappointing part of the interior is the low resolution rear view camera.

A familiar engine and experience

No changes have been made to the new Warrior’s powertrain. As such, it sports the same 2.3-liter twin-turbo diesel engine as the old model, with 140 kW (187 hp) and 331 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque. This engine is mated exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

We spent a week with the Navara Pro-4X Warrior, testing it on city streets, country roads and highways, and along a number of off-road trails. Much like the previous model, we were impressed.

The engine suits the Navara very well. Sure, it won’t live up to the latest generation Ford Ranger Raptor with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 292 kW (391 hp) and 583 Nm (430 lb-ft) of torque, but let’s be honest, having so much power in a truck of this size is overkill. On the highway, the Navara’s engine has enough pulling power to make overtaking easy, though the transmission can feel a little sluggish at times. As is often the case with diesels, the 2.3-litre starts to lose some steam as the revs rise.

The most obvious difference between the new Warrior and the “regular” Navara N-Trek we tested last year is the ride quality.

Don’t get me wrong, the normal Navara N-Trek ride is fine. However, the Warrior is noticeably more comfortable and much less harsh, which makes long freeway jaunts much more enjoyable. Premcar has also managed to ensure that the steering remains positive and sharp despite the increased ride height.

And how about off-road?

The vast majority of Navara Pro-4X Warrior models delivered to Australia will spend most of their time being driven between job sites by the craftsmen who traditionally own them. However, for those brave enough to get off-road and into tough trails, the Warrior feels right at home there, too.

Like the lower Navara variants, the Pro-4X can be driven in 2WD, 4WD and 4LO. It also offers a number of different driving modes, which the pre-facelift model did not offer.

We spent the day exploring Victoria’s beautiful Toolangi State Forest and weaved our way through narrow and treacherous trails to reach Mount Despair. Deep, rough water crossings were never a problem for the Warrior, and the all-terrain tires provided excellent traction on even the toughest surfaces.

Indeed, the Navara feels so at home on off-road trails that it’s possible to navigate most terrain in RWD mode without ever going into 4WD mode, without even needing to put it in 4LO. or lock the rear differential. That being said, there were a few times when we had to lock the rear differential to avoid getting stuck while climbing a particularly narrow and difficult climb. The powerful LED light bar also proved to be a lifesaver when the sun dipped behind the horizon.

Those who pick up the keys to a Pro-4X Warrior will be pleased to learn that the automatic model has a payload of 952 kg (2,098 lb) and a braked towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes (7,716 lb).

Prices and competitors

The 2022 Nissan Navara is available in a plethora of specs in Australia. The range starts from AU$39,100 ($28,042) for the entry-level SL Single Cab chassis. Other variants on offer include the SL Dual Cab at AU$43,664 ($31,315), the SL King Cab Chassis at AU$45,653 ($32,742) the SL Double Cab Chassis at AU$51,728 ($37,099 ) the SL Double Cab chassis, at AU$51,992 ($37,288) the SL King Cab, at AU$52,182 ($37,424) the ST Dual Cab, at AU$55,847 ($40,053) ST-X Dual Cab, AU$63,197 ($45,324) ST-X King Cab and AU$63,052 ($45,220) Pro-4X Dual Cab. The flagship Navara Pro-4X Warrior is available from AU$71,490 ($51,272) for the manual driveway and AU$73,990 ($53,065) for the automatic.

While paying over AU$70,000 ($50,204) for a pickup of this size might seem like a lot, it’s about in line with its rivals. For example, the HiLux Rugged X starts at AU$70,750 ($50,741) and the Mazda BT-50 Thunder is available from AU$68,990 ($49,479). The all-new Ford Ranger Raptor is considerably more expensive and will start at AU$85,490 ($61,313) plus road charges.

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Photo credits: Brad Anderson/CarScoops

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