Nissan Warrior review: specs, price

This is the Spartan Warrior

Nissan introduced the Navara Warrior back in 2019 as a rival to Ford’s Ranger Raptor. The original Navara N-Trek Warrior and more recent Navara Pro-4X Warrior models were based on high-end utes loaded with luxury features such as heated leather seats with electric adjustment. This new model starts life as the basic Navara SL, an entry-level machine with cloth seats in place of leather and old-school halogen headlamps as opposed to LEDs. It even has vinyl floors instead of carpet, which is a good thing if you plan on exploring the car’s considerable limits on sand, dirt, or mud.

It’s a capable machine

The Warrior is the result of a partnership between Nissan and Australian engineering firm Premcar, a group of talented people with a long history of delivering high-performance models such as the old Ford Falcon GT. Key changes to the Warrior include beefed-up suspension that lifts the body some 40mm higher than the standard car, plus fresh alloys with all-terrain Cooper tyres and underbody armour that makes it a better bet for rugged adventures. It also looks appropriately rugged, which is half the battle when convincing customers to spend hard-earned cash on a new four-wheel-drive ute.

The engine is familiar

Powered by the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine as regular Navara models, the Warrior makes the same 140kW and 450Nm as other models in the range. Tuning the motor for more power isn’t financially feasible, given the rigorous testing and certification process required for all new cars. Undernourished on paper, the smooth motor is a decent performer in the real world but not a standout, particularly when you consider how much the competition has progressed – Ford’s wild new Ranger Raptor has more than twice the power of the Navara.

The bare bones approach works

Priced from $60,500 plus on-road costs with a seven-speed automatic transmission, the SL represents a $10,000 saving compared to the Pro-4X, while undercutting Ford’s Raptor by about $25,000. That’s a huge amount of cash, and it makes sense to us – why would you spend a huge amount of money on a flash ute to go bush bashing? As an added bonus, the SL Warrior is available with a manual transmission that delivers extra control while shaving a further $2500 from its asking price.

But safety isn’t a strong point

There’s not a lot of tech in the Navara SL Warrior. Sure, it has forward collision warning and auto emergency braking systems but you can forget about advanced features found in rival machines. Active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts are missing, as are fancy electronically controlled driving modes that customises the car’s behaviour to account for different environments. Then again, off-road purists might not mind. You can get a lot done with low-range four-wheel-drive, tall ground clearance, monster tyres and a rear differential lock – the sort of features that give the Warrior an advantage over similarly-priced rivals.

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