Navara N-Trek War­rior lifts its game

Nis­san’s Navara N-Trek War­rior runs high, wide and hand­some, writes Colin Smith.

The Timaru Herald - - Motoring -

You’ve seen the Ford Ranger Rap­tor and the Coloradoba­sed HSV Sport­sCat (the fi­nal units of which re­main on sale in New Zealand). The wide­flared and lifted N-Trek War­rior is the Nis­san Navara equiv­a­lent, with an­other set of Aussie-en­gi­neered off-road cre­den­tials and ex­te­rior up­grades.

So, N-Trek War­rior is Nis­san’s rip-off of the Ford Ranger Rap­tor?

Yes and no. It com­petes in the same mus­cled-up ute niche but the route to achiev­ing it is dif­fer­ent.

More like the Sport­sCat, the War­rior starts life as a Thai-built dou­ble cab and gets shipped to Aus­tralia (to Prem­car in Vic­to­ria) for mod­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore tak­ing an­other boat trip to New Zealand. Rap­tor’s up­grade is built-in at the fac­tory.

Is it re­ally much more than a dressed up Navara ST-X at a premium price?

Yes, and if tough ter­rain is part of the job de­scrip­tion the beefed-up sus­pen­sion, in­creased ground clear­ance, chunky all-ter­rain tyres, en­hanced ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles and un­der body pro­tec­tion are ready to go to work.

But there is an­other ben­e­fit found out on the high­way where the N-Trek War­rior is far from com­pro­mised by its off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

Ac­tu­ally, it’s im­proved with sus­pen­sion up­grades that bring a con­trolled and com­fort­able ride at open road pace and makes the War­rior among the most set­tled of un­laden utes when mid-cor­ner cor­ru­ga­tions are en­coun­tered.

Changes to the sus­pen­sion in­clude longer springs and larger di­am­e­ter dampers with War­rior­spe­cific valv­ing. That pro­vides a 15mm lift above stan­dard and the move to larger 32.2-inch all ter­rain tyres adds an­other 25mm for a to­tal lift of 40mm.

The War­rior sits on the road with an as­sured feel and the meaty 275/70 R17 Cooper Dis­cov­ery ATR tyres seem no­tice­ably qui­eter on chip seal sur­faces than the B F Goodrich tyres on the Ranger Rap­tor.

The No 1 achieve­ment of the N-Trek War­rior is the sus­pen­sion tune and on-road re­fine­ment.

It looks re­ally tough – I bet there’s some big grunt un­der the bon­net?

No. Just like the Rap­tor and Sport­sCat, the N-Trek War­rior re­tains the stan­dard diesel pow­er­train.

The Navara’s 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel makes good power but some­times seems to be work­ing hard to do that.

The seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion shifts with pleas­ing re­fine­ment and has close ra­tios that keep the en­gine work­ing in its torque band. There’s 140kW out­put at 3750rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1500-2500rpm.

Also un­changed is the

7.0L/100km com­bined cy­cle con­sump­tion fig­ure but it seems an op­ti­mistic num­ber when the War­rior is sit­ting up higher in the airstream on big­ger tyres. I saw a best of 8.8L/100km and my road test av­er­aged 9.2L/100km. Late last year I av­er­aged 7.9L/100km in a stan­dard height Navara ST-X.

What will the N-Trek War­rior tow?

Here’s more good news. Choos­ing a Ranger Rap­tor means com­pro­mis­ing on the tow rat­ing – settling for 2500kg when other Ranger mod­els are rated at 3500kg.

The N-Trek War­rior hauls a full­freight 3.5-tonnes just like its sta­ble­mates.

The tow bar is spe­cific to the

War­rior to com­pen­sate for the raised ground clear­ance and ac­com­mo­date the larger spare tyre.

How much is it just like a Navara ST-X?

In terms of equip­ment, the N-Trek War­rior is based on the ST-X Spe­cial Edi­tion with the im­prove­ments made to Navara last year, in­clud­ing the new 8.0-inch in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto.

The spec high­lights in­clude dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, twostage heated front seats, an eight­way power ad­justable driver’s seat with power lum­bar ad­juster, leather/cloth combo seat trim with orange stitch high­lights, and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion.

The re­verse cam­era and top­down cam­era view are in­valu­able in tight spots.

The front seat head­rests pro­vide a point of dif­fer­ence with N-Trek War­rior em­broi­dery.

If there’s a dis­ap­point­ment with the War­rior it’s that no work has been done to im­prove seat bol­ster and shoul­der sup­port and the steer­ing wheel has only a small amount of rake ad­just­ment.

Ad­di­tion­ally, I can’t think of many ve­hi­cles other than high-end lux­ury mod­els with LED lights that light up a dark win­ter night like the War­rior.

Sit­ting in the mid­dle of that unique bumper is a 470mm wide, 16-el­e­ment LED light bar that throws il­lu­mi­na­tion a long way

down the high­way. An odd thing how­ever is the switch added to the lower dash that brings the sys­tem

into play is the only one that isn’t il­lu­mi­nated – mak­ing it hard to find in the dark.

Any other utes to con­sider?

The ranks of orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­turer pro­duced pre­mi­um­spec utes with off-road per­for­mance up­grades have num­bered the HSV Sport­sCat and the Ford Ranger Rap­tor. But there’s plenty of scope to cre­ate some­thing of your own from any dou­ble cab 4x4 start point and af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories.

The look and light­ing will be the easy part.

Get­ting an ex­tra-high-rid­ing ute to cope as ef­fec­tively over corrugated sur­faces and du­pli­cate the War­rior’s well-con­trolled and com­fort­able high­way ride qual­ity is the re­sult of ex­pert engi­neer­ing rather than a dive into an ac­ces­sory cat­a­logue.

This might look nice but it does not of­fer much in the way of seat bol­ster and shoul­der sup­port.

The War­rior is among the most set­tled of un­laden utes when mid-cor­ner cor­ru­ga­tions are en­coun­tered.

There’s not much more you can ask for on the N-Trek War­rior. All the boxes are al­ready ticked.

It’s not quite a Ranger Rap­tor fighter, more like a Sport­sCat brawler.

The N-Trek War­rior re­tains the stan­dard diesel pow­er­train.

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