2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior By Premcar road test review

Nissan Navara Warrior 2021

Bruce Newton

Posted December 08, 2021


Nissan’s new and improved Navara PRO-4X Warrior now comes with all the bells and whistles. But is it worth it?

It’s well-known Australians love utes, but what’s becoming more apparent, is that a fair percentage of Aussies love buying high-end dual cab 4x4 diesel utes, and accessorising them.

It’s commonly estimated that plenty of dual-cab buyers will spend up to $20,000 fitting their new pride and joy with items like bullbars, suspension lift kits, aftermarket wheels, and so on.

This brings us to the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior By Premcar – yes that is its full name. Essentially it takes the trip to the accessory shop out of the equation by fitting all that stuff to the car before it goes on sale in the Nissan dealership.

Mind you, Nissan Australia has had to be a bit clever here. There’s no Navara in the global model line-up that can do this job, so it has contracted local auto design and engineering consultancy Premcar to help out.

Premcar has taken the flagship Navara PRO-4X and added off-road suspension capability and tough truck cosmetics to arrive at the Warrior. It has not touched the engine or part-time dual-range 4x4 system.

While the base truck is built in Thailand, the final Warrior assembly is completed at Premcar’s facility in Northern Melbourne.

2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior

How much does the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior cost? 

All examples of the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior are powered by a 2.3-litre Biturbo diesel engine and there is only one equipment level. The only price differential is based on transmission choice. The six-speed manual is $67,490 and the seven-speed auto is $69,990 (Both prices plus on-road costs).

That’s about $10,000 more than a standard Navara PRO-4X, for which you are getting Monroe suspension, a 40mmm lift in ground clearance, and a group of bolt-on bits that are both cosmetic and practical, like the new winch-compatible hoopless bullbar.

A key improvement from N-Trek Warrior to PRO-4X Warrior is a big increase in payload capacity from around 720kg to more than 950kg, thanks to both Premcar suspension tuning and Nissan’s strengthening of the 2021 Navara’s rear axle and chassis.

That’s a big deal for many ute buyers who haul lots of gear for work and play. Braked towing capacity remains 3500kg, which is about as good as you’ll get out of a ute this size.

Importantly, the Warrior is covered by Nissan’s five-year/unlimited km warranty and Premcar covers its modifications for the same amount of time and distance. The service intervals are 12 months/20,000km and a six-year capped-price service plan costs $3666 for the manual and $3622 for the auto.

How safe is it?

One of the key benefits the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior enjoys over its predecessor is a huge lift in standard driver-assist safety. This is a reflection of updates made across the entire Navara range for 2021.

Most importantly, and like an increasing number of utes, autonomous emergency braking is now standard. Due to become mandatory in Australia by 2025, AEB detects potential accidents and jumps on the anchors independent of the driver.

Like the PRO-4X it’s based on, the Warrior also comes with a bunch of complementary technologies; forward-collision warning, blind-spot warning, intelligent lane intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, and a driver alert that monitors for tiredness

Reverse parking sensors, high beam assist, auto rain-sensing wipers, and tyre pressure monitoring are also part of the package along with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, second-row child seat top tethers and ISOFIX points and LED headlights. 

The ANCAP rating is five stars but dates back to 2015 when the current Navara was first introduced to Australia. All Navaras miss out on adaptive cruise control, which is often twinned with AEB. Nissan says that’s because the powertrain is incompatible with ACC technology. They also stick with rear drum brakes, rather than opting for discs as an increasing number of utes are doing. At least they are bigger this time around.

 

2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior
2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior

What's it like inside?

Virtually none of the money and effort that went into creating the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior was spent inside the cabin. Only front seat headrest embroidering alters the interior in any way compared to the standard PRO-4X.

It could use a bit of help actually because it’s not the best ute to reside in.

The steering wheel only adjusts up and down and not in and out. Because it doesn’t tilt up that high and the driver’s seat doesn’t lower all that much, plenty of people will struggle to find a truly comfortable seating position.

The leather-accented front seats are small and lacking in support and not really worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Maybe Warrior 3.0 can address that?

Rear seat space isn’t as generous as some dual cab rivals such as the Ford Ranger. The base does flip up to help stow big items like swags, but the seat-back does not fold down as some utes do. There is a power sliding rear window which is a rare touch.

The big interior change for 2021 Navara that Warrior benefits from is a new widescreen digital display in the centre of the instrument panel that provides a significant clarity improvement.

What’s under the hood?

As we’ve already noted, the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior drivetrain is totally unchanged compared to the standard model.

To uprate power and torque or perform an engine transplant – say to a V6 or V8 – would have added significant cost, complexity, time and a whole new level of Nissan global approvals to the project. So that wasn’t happening.

So the Warrior sticks with the standard Renault-sourced YS23DDTT intercooled twin-turbo DOHC four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 140kW and 450Nm. Why Renault sourced? Because Nissan and Renault are joint-venture partners and have been for years.

It’s an adequate rather than enthusiastic powerplant. Slow to get rolling at initial throttle tip-in it gains more spirit as the revs rise and if you flick it into sport mode in the auto version, or change manually.

It’s understandable it lacks a bit of zoom because it is trying to haul a vehicle that weighs in at nearly 2300kg – about 150kg more than the standard Navara PRO-4X.

 

2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior

The 2021 Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior lineup.

Is it efficient?

Despite the extra weight, the fuel consumption claim for the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior is the same as the donor car at 7.5L/100km manual and 8.1L/100km auto. 

But that’s only because Nissan and Premcar didn’t have to retest. It’s hard to see it staying the same, especially if you use the Warrior off-road or tow.

How does it drive?

In tuning the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior, Premcar wanted to improve refinement compared to the old N-TREK Warrior.

Part of that was noise abatement and increased damping material and laminated front and side window glass helped achieve that. The Navara’s engine never gets intrusively noisy.

The other focus was an improvement in ride, handling and steering. This is less obvious as the old N-Trek Warrior did a pretty decent job and the new one is only a small change. It perhaps steers a bit lighter and easier, but the firmly comfortable ride and secure handling are fundamentally familiar.

That’s especially the case off-road where the extra ground clearance and all-terrain Cooper tyres are the Warrior’s big advantages over a standard Navara.

Our drive was primarily conducted in wet and sometimes deeply sloppy conditions. At times it was simply a case of rolling into a churned, glutinous descent and hope for the best. The Warrior didn’t let us down.

Where there’s a down there’s usually an up and the Warrior clambered up equally horrible climbs just as efficiently.

Its 4x4 system, aided by a locking rear diff and hill descent control is simple yet effective for such challenges.

Back in the urban jungle, the Warrior is a bit of an effort to manoeuvre around. At more than 5.0 metres it wouldn’t be my choice as an everyday commuter. But you could do it and be looking down on most traffic in the process.

Should I buy one?

The Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior is not cheap, but it is backed up by a solid warranty, is undeniably capable, and unquestionably improved compared to its predecessor.

Think of it as part mountain goat part show pony. You can drive it to the shops and pretend you’re an off-roader, or you can head for the mountains, beach, or desert and do it for real.

Whatever the challenge, the Warrior is up for it.

 

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