Nissan is currently exploring a high-performance Navara variant to take on the Ford Ranger Raptor, one of the company's global executives has revealed.
“It’s something that we are considering and monitoring,” Nissan Senior Vice President of Global Planning, Ivan Espinosa told Australian media in a briefing this week. However, he pointed out a performance variant of the Navara is a big undertaking in terms of engineering.
“It’s not so easy to execute, because obviously you need to plan it from the very beginning; having maybe some frame countermeasures, some suspension travel changes,” Mr Espinosa said.
“We’re talking about next generation... It’s something that we are considering seriously.”
Emmanuel Toledo, Chief Product Specialist, singled out the Australian-developed Navara N-Trek Warrior as paving the way for a future high-performance Navara.
"We have a great impression of the N-Trek Warrior. We are taking this as an example of a very good cooperation with Premcar, and we are thinking something global," Mr Toledo said.
"I cannot say more things, but the impression we got from the performance of these vehicles was amazing."
While the Premar project was able to improve the off-road capability and performance of the Navara with the locally-developed N-Trek Warrior, it doesn’t go to the same engineering extent as Ford did with the factory-developed Ranger Raptor.
While both performance-oriented utes have all-round coil springs, the Ranger Raptor uses a bespoke chassis to accommodate a wider wheel track, bigger tyres, more suspension travel and high-end suspension components.
In comparison, the Navara N-Trek Warrior increases wheel track more modestly via wheel offset, and also has larger diameter all-terrain tyres. While things like springs rates, bump stops and larger shock absorbers are unique to Warrior specification, they aren’t nearly as hardcore as the Raptor’s Fox-derived shock absorbers.
"[A competitor to Ranger Raptor is] something that we are looking at, but not in the short term,” Mr Espinosa continued.
For those wanting a go-fast Nissan Navara to take on the Ford Ranger Raptor, they will likely be waiting for the next-generation model, which is still quite a few years away.
As part of the newly-formed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Mitsubishi and Nissan will share resources and development for their respective upcoming Triton and Navara 4X4 utes.