The beefy Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior has been a hit with punters wanting tough looks with matching off-road performance.
Engineered in collaboration with Premcar, the Warrior-badged Navara comes with a hefty price tag of nearly $70,000.
To cater to the budget conscious while retaining the impressive off-road handling and rugged looks, Nissan has taken the best off-roading hardware from the posh PRO-4X and applied them to a more affordable Navara SL Warrior package, trimming $9,515 off the price tag in the process.
Prices start from $58,750 for the SL Warrior manual, while the 7-speed auto commands an extra $2,500 at $61,250, both before on-road costs.
So, is less really more when it comes to the Navara Warrior? Let’s find out.
What do you get?
If the name isn’t a giveaway enough, the SL Warrior is based on the entry-level Navara SL Dual Cab before it undergoes its transformation at Premcar in Melbourne where it receives an unpainted hooped bulbar at the front that’s not only winch compatible but comes equipped with an integrated LED light bar.
Below this is a Navara-branded bash plate to protect it from rocks and the likes when off-roading.
The new bulbar means approach angle has improved from 32 degrees to 36 degrees, with a near identical departure angle of 19 degrees, down from 19.8 degrees.
It share’s the PRO-4’s black finished 17-inch alloy wheels which are wrapped in Cooper Discoverer All Terrain AT3 all-terrain tyres measuring 275/70/R17and extended wheel arches. A full-sized alloy spare is mounted underneath the ute.
Around the back, the budget Warrior eschew the PRO-4X’s painted rear bar but receives the same tow bar as standard.
Like it’s posher sibling, the SL Warrior gets Australian engineered suspension that gives it an extra 40mm of ground clearance at 260mm. Its spring rates have also been reduced for a softer ride both on and off road.
Compared to the SL, the Warrior gets 30mm wider track front and rear. What’s unchanged is the SL’s 3,500kg braked towing capacity and 1 tonne payload which should please the Navara’s diehards.
What’s the interior like?
It should come as no surprise the SL Warrior’s interior is rather basic and misses out on the more lavish trimmings of the PRO-4X.
The quilted leather seats with electric adjustments are replaced with basic cloth seats (with electric adjustment on the driver’s seat only) and hard, scratchy plastics meets your hands in most of the interior surfaces.
You also get a good old fashion key slot to fire the ute up instead of a push-button start.
Unlike the latest Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, the aging interior make do with analogue gauges with a small multi-information display sandwiched in between.
The 8.0-inch infotainment display feels equally dated although it serves its purpose and comes with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Beneath this, you get a three-dial manually operated air conditioning that controls the temperature, fan speed and air-direction.
One thing we are not complaining about is the standard off-road friendly rubber floor mats that makes cleaning a breeze.
There’s plenty of leg and headroom in the front row, along with large door bins and a deep centre console to make any road trips comfortable. The driving position is decent too, although could be better with steering wheel reach adjustment.
The rear bench, like most utes, are relatively upright and tight for legroom. There are at least rear air vents to make things more comfortable.
While the SL Warrior’s interior is nothing special, it’s unlikely to be an issue for the ute’s intended market. It also doesn’t detract from what is still a very user-friendly interior.
What’s under the bonnet?
While Premcar has worked its magic on the chassis, the Navara’s 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel has been left untouched.
It produces 140kW at 3,750rpm and 450Nm from 1,500 to 2500rpm, sent to all four corners via a seven-speed auto or six-speed manual.
Nissan has supplied the automatic version for this test as it is the transmission of choice for most buyers.
Over the course of our weeklong test, the SL Warrior returned an average consumption of 10.8L/100km over a mix of urban, freeway and off-road testing. This is against Nissan’s claim of 7.9L/100km.
How does the Navara SL Warrior drive?
There is enough oomph for most situations although the auto can get caught out sometimes, taking a split second to process your inputs before churning out a lower gear. This isn’t such an issue off the beaten track as there’s plenty of torque from low down to tackle rough terrains.
The added ride height also makes itself useful when you are crawling over large obstacles and the occasional shallow creek.
Grip from the Cooper all-terrain tyres is outstanding, whether on- or off-road.
The ute’s 4WD system remains unchanged. That means a dual-range transfer case with selectable 2WD, 4WD high-range and 4WD low-range, along with a lockable rear differential and hill descent control.
It’s a highly capable system and couple with the Warrior’s chassis modification, is one of the most capable wallet-friendly off-roader straight out of the box.
Despite the extensive suspension tweaks, the SL Warrior inherits the superior ride comfort of its donor car regardless of whether it’s on or off the tarmac. It soaks up every bit of harsh corrugations and potholes the roads can throw at it with ease.
Around town, the diesel engine can make itself heard more than we’d like it to but that’s a relatively common trait amongst utes.
One area that lets the Warrior down like most of its rivals, is its heavy and slow steering. And while it’s not much of an issue when you’re avoiding rocks crawling through muddy terrains, it feels vague on the road.
How safe is the Navara SL Warrior?
The SL Warrior’s safety features are relatively basic as you’d expect. You’ll get the pre-requisite front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags, Forward Collision Warning and AEB, along with ABS, vehicle dynamic control and driver alert but things like blind-spot assist and lane keep assist are all missing.
You also get basic cruise control, not the adaptive type that adjusts the ute’s speed based on the traffic ahead.
And while you do get a standard reversing camera, its quality is a little grainy.
The Navara SL Warrior comes standard with a 5-year, unlimited kilomtres warranty and complimentary 5 years roadside assist.
It only requires a visit to the dealer every 20,000km or 12 months, whichever is earlier.
Servicing costs $4,203 for the auto, and $4,249 for the manual for the first 6 scheduled services, which works out to be an annual average of $700 and $708, respectively.
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Tough looks
- Increased off-road performance
- Capable powertrain
- Admirable ride comfort
- Lack of some active safety systems
- Dated cabin
If creature comforts aren’t a concern, then the Nissan Navara SL Warrior brings the same impressive off-road capabilities and on-road qualities of its more expensive PRO sibling at a significantly reduced price.
However, you also miss out on some active safety systems which is a shame.
2023 Nissan Navara SL Warrior Pricing and Specification
|Price (excl. on-roads)||From: $58,750|
As tested: $61,900
|Warranty||5 years / unlimited km|
|Warranty Customer Assistance||5 years roadside assist|
|Country of Origin||Japan (built in Thailand)|
|Service Intervals||12 months/20,000km|
|Engine||2.3-litre four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection twin-turbo diesel:|
140kW @ 3,750rpm, 450Nm @ 1,500-2,500rpm
|Transmission||6-speed manual / 7-speed automatic (tested)|
|Power to Weight Ratio (kW/t)||62.9|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km)||Claimed: 7.3 (manual) / 7.9 (automatic)|
Tested: 10.8 (automatic)
|Fuel Capacity (L)||80|
|Body||Dual Cab Pickup, 5-seats|
|Safety||5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, AEB, Forward Collision Warning, Driver Attention Alert, ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS), reverse camera|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm||5,260/1,850/1,825/3,150|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||2,215 (manual) / 2,224 (automatic)|
|Payload (kg)||1,035 (manual) / 1,026kg (automatic)|
|Turning circle between kerbs||12.5|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 3,500/ Unbraked: 750|
|Entertainment||8.0-inch touchstreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB, AUX, CD, AM/FM, six-speaker stereo, USB Apple CarPlay and Android Auto|