Nissan Australia is looking to expand the ‘Warrior’ program it runs with Premcar and has picked out its other 4X4, the Patrol, as an ideal candidate.
Fresh off a facelift, the Patrol is Nissan’s only other proper 4X4 that can follow in the wheel-tracks of the Navara with increased off-road ability.
“We want to make sure the Warrior badge means something – and is applied only when it delivers on stronger looks and increased capability, as well as any other customer demands," a Nissan spokesperson told CarAdvice.
“We think the Patrol would be an ideal candidate for this type of treatment.”
Currently, Premcar converts Navara N-Treks into N-Trek Warriors at a new 6300m² facility in Epping, Victoria. This includes fitting bigger all-terrain tyres on new alloy wheels, upgraded suspension, protection, and additional accessories.
Premcar was involved with the Navara Warrior programme from the very beginning, and handled the development and engineering of the modifications.
Since starting in November, Premcar boss Bernie Quinn explained that the team has been finessing the Navara production line to increase overall output from the current number of around ten per day.
“It was originally just a straight line, but we recently put (in) two parallel hoists, and so that's allowed us to get our cycle time down to closer to 30 minutes, is what we're targeting, and which would get us to around 13 per day pretty quickly.”
While this work will satisfy Nissan’s demand for Warrior-spec Navaras around the country for the time being, the increased efficiencies also opens up opportunity for new models on the Premcar production line.
“This infrastructure is put in place to support other future programmes as well. So I think the two hoists in parallel give us flexibility.”
When asked about future programmes, Bernie stopped short of highlighting exactly what he was working on. However, his comments indicate that the Nissan Patrol is the most likely of future ‘Warrior’ candidates.
“The commentary is already coming from the Nissan side about some products, which lend themselves well to the Warrior treatment, let's call it.
“And I think there's a lot in that. We're a keen and willing participant in those discussions.”
Already equipped with 32.5" tyres and 272mm of ground clearance, the Patrol could become a unique offering in the segment with enhanced suspension, tyres and protection.
While the turbo-diesel driveline of the Navara wasn’t modified to improved performance, Nissan’s naturally aspirated 5.6-litre petrol V8 does open up the possibility of power modifications as well.
Premcar has a long history of modifying high-performance V8s for more power, including supercharging V8 Falcons as part of the Ford Performance Vehicles treatment.
When quizzed about the possibility of supercharging a Patrol Warrior, both Nissan and Premcar were hesitant to be positive.
"It’s too early to make this call," the Nissan spokesperson said. "But this would significantly increase development costs due to the required levels of testing and validation."
"In addition, the vehicles that could possibly be targets for this program already have extremely strong powertrains, and we have not received widespread feedback that that is in fact the type of enhancements consumers are looking for. It's more around presence and capability than speed."
MORE: Building a Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior
MORE: 2020 Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior v Ford Ranger Raptor v HSV Colorado SportsCat off-road comparison
MORE: 2020 Nissan Patrol review: Is it value for money?