What is it?
It’s a bit of a thing with makers of big, boofy 4×4 utes at the moment.
Take a specific model, add steroids to the body, engine or suspension — or all three for that matter — and it will sell its socks off.
Nissan’s Navara has been given the treatment, with the N-Trek model cranked up a notch thanks to Premcar, an outfit known for fettling performance vehicles.
The product of this collaboration is the N-Trek Warrior, which has been the subject of body mods and substantial under-body changes.
What’s it cost?
Warrior is $67,290 driveaway.
Substantial body trim additions include bash plates to protect vital driveline components, orange strips in the sidesteps and mirrors, and bespoke decals.
The suspension cops a lift to add an extra 40mm of ride height and allows chunky Cooper off-road rubber to be bolted in.
And it gets a bolder face thanks to a solid steel bar and LED light strip.
Out back is a tub liner and blacked out rollbar, with the tray having a couple of extra tie down points.
It looks the goods outside and there is plenty of assertiveness in the stance.
Inside though, there’s not much else to get excited about.
Cloth and leather seats front and rear have N-Trek Warrior logos stitched into the headrests with the same orange hue.
While passengers are surrounded by fine grained plastics, listen to AM and FM thanks to no DAB audio, and look at outdated alloy-look plastic trim on the dash and steering wheel.
There is one and only one USB port for the front seats, no wireless charging, and a solitary 12V socket mounted in a small storage tray high in the dash.
No USBs for the rear seats — however there are air vents.
Safety is lacking, with seven airbags (good), reverse camera (good), but no Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot or Rear Cross Traffic Alert (not good).
There is a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty though.
What’s it go like?
Power comes from a 2.3-litre diesel with twin turbos. Peak torque is 450Nm and on tap between 1500 and 2500 rpm.
Nissan offer a 6-speed manual or 7-speed auto, as fitted to our test car.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.0L/100km. We saw 9.4L on our 70/30 urban/highway split.
So it came as a huge surprise to find the Navara N-Trek Warrior is heavy, sluggish, and lacks driving appeal. On tarmac.
Off-road the Warrior shines, especially with its long travel suspension and chunky Cooper 275/70/17 Discoverer AT3 rubber.
Low range gearing is accessed via a dial and makes off-roading a simple exercise.
There is plenty of ability in the car to claw its way up and over and down in dirty environments.
The torque simply endows the car with a sense of invincibility as it does its thing.
On tarmac it’s a completely different machine.
It’s leaden, uninspiring, has rubbery steering on-centre and there’s more than a little effort required to get into corners.
Acceleration from a standing start wasn’t special, and mid-range movement didn’t really excite either. Perplexing? Oh, yes indeed.
In comparison, the brakes are spot on, with just the right amount of pressure, travel, and feedback to judge for stopping distances.
What we like?
- Assertive good looks
- Off-road ballsiness
What we don’t like?
- Pretty much everything else
The bottom line?
It’s a truly unusual experience to drive something that isn’t the sum of its parts like the N-Trek.
The numbers just didn’t add up to the promise on road, the location where cars like this tend to spend most of their lives.
Get dirty though and it impresses mightily.
At least that’s something.
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Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior, priced from $67,290 driveaway
- Looks - 7.5/107.5/10
- Performance - 6.5/106.5/10
- Safety - 6/106/10
- Thirst - 7.5/107.5/10
- Practicality - 7.5/107.5/10
- Comfort - 7/107/10
- Tech - 6/106/10
- Value - 6.5/106.5/10