Warrior class — Nissan sends Navara to boot camp

Riley Riley

Last month the three top selling cars in Australia were utes and the Nissan Navara wasn’t one of them.

It comes as no surprise then that Nissan has revealed a new halo model for the range — the Navara N-Trek Warrior — a bigger, better, tougher version than ever, developed in conjunction with an engineering mob called Premcar.

Who the hell’s Premcar? It’s all right we weren’t familiar with them either.

Premcar, says Nissan, is a highly regarded low volume vehicle manufacturer that meets or exceeds the toughest OEM standards.

Established by Prodrive UK in 1996, the current owners took the reins in 2012, changing the name to Premcar.

Nissan explains it went through a competitive tender process, approaching several reputable design and engineering companies both locally and overseas that had second stage certification capability.

Premcar was chosen as it was able to develop a unique vehicle package that was specific to the Australian market usage profile and had the experience to undertake a local development, testing and tuning program suited to Aussie conditions.

Navara N-TREK Warrior features a range of engineering enhancements and changes that says Nissan deliver the most stylish and capable Navara ever.

Based on the N-TREK Dual Cab Pickup 4WD and including recently announced updates,  Premcar delved deep under the surface to enhance the suspension, including off-road capable springs and dampers — resulting in a 15mm lift.

Adding 32.2-inch Cooper All-Terrain tyres bumped that lift a further 25mm – raising the ride height a total 40mm.

Premcar hired 40 people with engineering and local manufacturing experience to work exclusively on the project and established a dedicated manufacturing facility at Epping, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

A range of parts from top tier OEM level suppliers was sourced, including a hoopless body-colour steel bullbar with integrated 470mm LED light bar to give the ute a tougher look.

“The market has shifted considerably in the last two years with ute sales leading the way, but ute buyers are looking for a higher level of specification that delivers both capable and functional improvements, while making their vehicle stand out,” Nissan Australia managing director, Stephen Lester, said.

Nissan opted for a softer primary spring to deliver ride comfort and off road articulation, with a higher but more progressive secondary rate to maintain composure and performance – both in cornering, heavy duty off-roading, and when laden and towing.

In addition, the increased spring length takes the larger wheel and tyre further away from the body, providing ample clearance for the 32.2-inch Cooper all terrain tyres.

The dampers were upgraded from the Nissan original equipment to provide added compression damping on top of the piston for quicker response.

The outer tube diameter is larger with greater oil volume to improve cooling and rough road capability.

The piston rod diameter has been increased to improve strength.

Both front and rear dampers have a unique internal valve code tuned by Premcar to match the springs and tyres.

New front bump stops are larger, taller and engage the chassis rail earlier in the suspension travel, but at a more progressive rate.

This controls wheel movement at maximum suspension travel and achieves a more compliant and softer transfer of energy into the chassis, significantly improving the harshness and noise transfer into the chassis and cabin over rough road conditions.

The tyres are 275/70 series Cooper AT3 all-terrain tyres.

This size was chosen because it fits within the upper limit of what can be positioned within the wheel opening without interfering with the surrounding chassis components.

To accommodate the upsized-tyre package, Premcar modified the inner front fenders in combination with the body colour hoopless steel bullbar to provide the appropriate tyre clearance.

A speedometer recalibration was performed to ensure the 56.3mm increased overall tyre diameter reflected an accurate speed reading.

The Navara N-TREK Warrior maintains the ute’s 3.5 tonne tow capacity.

Premcar conducted testing in Australia, for Australia over several months on the varied road surfaces at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) for handling, on and off road, and rough road development.

Outback testing at Big Desert was conducted on the sandy desert tracks, gravel and rough terrain between Ouyen, in Victoria, and Pinnaroo, on the Victorian/South Australian border. It also undertook thermal testing at Melbourne University’s Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Testing (ACART) facility.

This extensive validation program has given Nissan the confidence to maintain the factory 5 year warranty.

Nissan Navara N-TREK Warrior will be on sale in early December with pricing to be announced soon.

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