When Premcar and Nissan say the Navara PRO-4X Warrior is made for Australia, it’s more than just words. The new homegrown hero has been subjected to tens of thousands of kilometres of testing, over every challenging landscape this country can produce, to ensure it’s up for anything its owners can throw at it.
A 12-month development program has seen the Navara PRO-4X Warrior put through its paces at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC), as well as more than three month’s testing in Victoria’s Big Desert Wilderness Park — famed for producing a wide variety of rough and rugged tracks that simulate those found right across Australia.
“We have done literally tens of thousands of kilometres at the AARC alone,” says Bernie Quinn, Engineering Director at Premcar.
“There’s a high-speed circuit, a noise-calibration surface, off-road tracks, durability circuits. The military uses it to ensure its vehicles are tough enough, and it was the perfect place to put the Warrior 2.0 through its paces.”
One of the core targets of the new Warrior program was to broaden the Navara’s capability, rather than shift it. So every change made to improve the ute’s off-road capability was then tested on regular road surfaces to make sure everyday ride and handling was never compromised.
For that, a six-strong team of engineers and technicians took multiple trips to the Big Desert Wilderness Park in Victoria, some lasting three weeks at a time, where they could test suspension tunes off-road, and then validate those changes on the tarmac.
“Once you do make a tuning change and set your chassis and suspension calibrations, then you need to validate that you haven’t done anything that will compromise durability or comfort in everyday use,” Mr Quinn says.
“Big Desert was perfect. It’s got a lot of different terrain, smooth gravel roads for high-speed testing, really rutted, muddy tracks, sand dunes and sand tracks, and deep corrugations.
“Basically everything Australia can throw at you off-roading, it’s got. And then it’s a quick drive to get back onto bitumen roads to validate the changes we made.
“That fits perfectly with our commitment to never have the off-road capability compromise the on-road comfort. We utilise a full range of testing equipment in multiple locations that allows us to make and test changes in field to optimise the capability of the vehicle.”
Premcar has been Nissan’s core engineering partner since the launch of the Warrior program, with vehicles re-engineered in Victoria to create tough flagship models that are tailor-made for Australian conditions.
The next chapter in that story — the Warrior 2.0 — is this new Navara PRO-4X Warrior.
Both capability and comfort are at the core of the new Warrior, with the locally-developed model adopting the extensive standard equipment list of the Navara PRO-4X, including a new 7.0-inch Advanced Drive-Assist instrument cluster display, a high-contrast 8.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a leather-accented interior.
All engineering upgrades also pair with the Navara’s safety equipment, including seven airbags, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking.
To ensure the new Warrior live up to its title of world’s toughest Navara, key enhancements include:
- A new Nissan Genuine winch-compatible, Safari-style bullbar and integrated light bar
- A new Warrior-specific towbar
- A new ‘Navara’ branded red bash plate and a 3mm steel second-stage under body protection plate
- 275 / 70 / R17 Cooper Discoverer All Terrain AT3 tyres with increased tread depth, and an off-road focused tread pattern
- A 100kg GVM upgrade; now 3,250kg
- A 961kg payload for vehicles equipped with a manual transmission (952kg automatic)
- Increased ground clearance, from 220m to 260mm
- Wider track, from 1,570mm to 1,600mm
- Improved approach angle, from 32 degrees to 36 degrees, and near-identical departure angle, from 19.8 degrees to 19 degrees (owing to full-sized spare tyre with alloy wheel)
- Revised suspension with new spring rates for more front-end support (less body roll) and more accurate transient response
- Revised front and rear damping for greater control of wheels and better compliance, improved isolation from impacts and reduced float when towing or carrying a load
- New larger, taller jounce bumper for better control of wheel movement at maximum suspension travel, and reduced transmission of large impacts into cabin
- New Warrior-specific fender flares
- New Warrior decal pack
- New Warrior interior headrest embroidery
The new Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior goes on sale later this year with pricing to be confirmed closer to launch.