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Not just a sticker pack – Warrior takes on Wildtrak X

By Trent Giunco, 24 Apr 2020 Comparisons

Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior takes it to Ford Ranger Wildtrak X

If you’ve got $65K burning a hole in your pocket, check out these beefed-up dual cabs

In the dual-cab war that’s currently dominating the sales charts here in Oz, few offerings serve much up more than mere sticker and accessory packs for high-line models. However, the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior is a little different with thanks to fettling by Aussie company, Premcar. It aims to be a Ford Ranger Raptor lite for a lot less cash. And in that sense, the Ranger Wildtrak X presents as a better combatant to represent the Blue Oval given its similarity in price. But which is best? 

VALUE AND EQUIPMENT

The $65,990 sticker makes the Nissan fractionally more expensive of the pair, but the N-Trek Warrior is the pinnacle of the Navara range. So what makes it a Warrior over the standard dual cab? Aussie company Premcar was tasked with upgrading the suspension package, a bone of contention with the Navara. Visually it also gains a steel bumper bar and a sizeable bash plate, new wheels, chunky tyres and flares. It’s covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

At $65,890, the five-cylinder is the cheaper of the two Wildtrak X versions (the other is the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four). So, what do you get for the extra spend? The pack includes black 18-inch alloys, wheelarch flairs, front nudge bar with LEDs and a snorkel. AEB with pedestrian protection, active cruise control and lane keeping are standard, but aren’t offered in the Warrior. The Ranger is also covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

WINNER: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X

SPACE AND COMFORT

Apart from the orange highlights and embroidered headrests, there isn’t much visually to tell you you’re in a Warrior. There is an 8.0-inch infotainment display (with dated graphics), and it’s enabled with Apple CarPlay and Android auto. Overall cabin space is generous, just not as giving as the X, and there is no reach adjustment for the steering wheel and the off-road-based tyres create roar inside. The nifty electronic rear window is a quirky/handy addition.

Read next: 2020 Isuzu D-Max vs 2020 Ford Ranger on paper

The design and feel of the Ranger’s cabin is much more car-like than the Navara, which will appeal to some. It’s a cleaner, more ergonomically friendly style. Yet, there is also no reach adjustment for the steering wheel. The 8.0-inch touchscreen houses Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment and it’s vastly better than Nissan’s system. Space all round is a touch more generous than the already spacious Warrior, while NVH levels are reduced over its rival, too.

WINNER: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X

RIDE AND HANDLING

Premcar focused on making the Warrior softer with progressive bump stops as well as larger diameter shock absorbers and dampening rods for firmer control. Yet, it’s easier to upset over ruts and corrugations and remains a stiffer set-up. The suspension tuning includes a 15mm overall lift, while the Cooper Discoverer tyres add another 25mm. They mean business in the bush, but they offer a distinct lack of traction in the wet in RWD mode.

Read next: Nissan Navara N-Trek review: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger rival

The Wildtrak X doesn’t have the Raptor’s sophisticated Fox shocks and it uses leaf springs, so you’d think it isn’t going to be as talented as its range-topping sibling. Yet it returns a more settled ride quality than the Warrior. It doesn’t jump or skip quite as much, while its lighter, and somewhat benign, steering seems more in-tune with off-road driving. The Ford uses road-focused Bridgestone Duelers and is the one to pick if you’re sticking largely to bitumen.

WINNER: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X

PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMY

Despite all the changes made to the Warrior, the 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder unit is unaltered. It offers up decent grunt with 140kW and 450Nm for hauling loads, and its seven-speed automatic behaves amicably. It has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, which is the same as the Ranger. However, the Warrior’s trump card is its fuel economy, which is rated at 7.0L/100km;  that’s 1.7L/100km better than the brawnier Wildtrak X’s five-pot oiler.

Okay, it’s not the newer, higher-output 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel. However, as a towing workhorse, the single-turbo 3.2-litre five-pot diesel is the engine of choice due to its extra cubic capacity (and the tough six-speed auto). It’s the stronger unit here with ample mid-range oomph, while it also delivers 7kW and 20Nm more than the Navara. Although its claimed fuel consumption is far higher at 8.7L/100km. 

VERDICT: CASE OF THE X

It’s got the looks, bulging wheelarches and chunky off-road tyres to boot. It’s not a mere sticker pack, thanks to genuine Aussie engineering built into the Warrior package. However, it still isn’t enough to snaffle victory out of the Ranger’s tub. The popular Ford dual cab deserves all the plaudits it garners, and while it isn’t as rough and tumble as the Warrior, the X adds proper off-road kit to the Wildtrak spec. The Ranger delivers a more car-like cabin, better ride quality and an overall dynamic edge that renders it the winner in this test. The Warrior still looks tough, though.