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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Nissan’s long awaited Raptor rival touches down, but only for Australasia

Upgraded suspension has increased ground clearance by 40 mm to 268 mm

Having submitted a trademark application for the N-Trek Warrior moniker just under two months ago, Nissan Australia has now officially revealed the muscled-up Navara arriving in dealerships Down Under from December.

Initially reported as being a mere cosmetic overhaul similar to the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, and closely resembling the South African market Navara Stealth, the Warrior is however set to go up against the Toyota Hilux Rugged X, Ford Ranger Raptor and the Holden Colorado HSV SportsCat with a series of upgrades bar just cosmetics.

Based on the flagship Navara N-Trek and developed in Australia by Melbourne-based Premcar who once worked on performance models for Ford and Toyota, the Warrior’s biggest departure from the standard N-Trek is the upgraded suspension that has increased ground clearance by 40 mm to 268 mm.

Riding on 17-inch black Rosta alloy wheels wrapped in 32-inch Cooper AT3 all-terrain tyres, the inclusion of the suspension and lift kit has been the Warrior’s track being widened by 30 mm, while the rear springs have been upgraded to a dual-rate setup and the standard dampers replaced by Monroe units with larger outer tubes that is said to aid cooling and off-road capability.

According to Nissan, the off-road hardware has improved the approach and departure angles by two and one degree(s) respectively, though the payload has dropped by nearly 200 kg to 724 kg and the braked towing capacity unchanged at 3 500 kg.

Aside from its go-anywhere fixtures, the Warrior’s additional aesthetic upgrades consists of extended wheel arches, a three millimetre Frontline front bash plate, restyled front facia with a Hella light bar located underneath the grille, an optional EGR bullbar, orange accents around the fog light bezels, on the side steps and mirrors, black roof rails and sports bar, a model-specific tow bar and black N-Trek Warrior decals at the base of the doors.

Less dramatic is the interior that comes with black leather upholstery featuring orange stitching and N-Trek Warrior embroidered front headrests, orange stitching on the centre console, steering wheel, floor mats and front armrest, heated front seats and, as part of a recent spec upgrade, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

No changes have however taken place underneath the bonnet where the Warrior retains the 140kW/450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbodiesel engine, as well as the six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox.

At present, the N-Trek Warrior will be limited to Australia and New Zealand with projected pricing from $60 000 (R612 798).

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