Twin Test

Drives

THIS MONTHíS NEWCOMER TAKES ON THE CLASS BENCHMARK

SPECS

NISSAN NAVARA

FORD RANGER

Equipment and value

Its $65,990 sticker is the fractionally more expensive here, 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 to offer better off-road ability than the standard Navara. It also gains a steel bumper bar and a sizeable bashplate, new wheels, chunky tyres and flares. Itís covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. 17/25

The limited-edition Wildtrak X has two engine options: a 2.0-litre twinturbo four, or the cheaper, $65,890 five-cylinder version we have here. Differentiating the ĎXí from the regular Wildtrak are black 18-inch alloys, wheelarch flares, front nudge bar with LEDs and a snorkel. AEB with pedestrian protection, active cruise and lane keeping are standard, but arenít offered in the Warrior. Warranty is the same on both utes. 19/25

Space and comfort

Apart from the orange highlights and embroidered headrests, there isnít much visually to tell you youíre in a Warrior. There is an 8.0-inch infotainment display (with dated graphics), and itís enabled with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.†Overall cabin space is generous, just not as roomy as the Ford, and there is no reach adjustment for the steering wheel. The nifty electric rear window is a handy addition, but the off-road-biased tyres do create roar inside. 17/25

The design and feel of the Rangerís cabin is much more car-like than the Navara, which will appeal to some. Itís a more ergonomically friendly design, though, like the Warrior, thereís no reach adjustment for the steering wheel.†The 8.0-inch touchscreen houses Fordís SYNC3 infotainment, and itís vastly better than Nissanís system. Space is a touch more generous than the already roomy Warrior, while NVH levels are better than its rival, too. 20/25

Ride and handling

Premcar focused on making the Warrior softer, with progressive bump stops, larger-diameter shock absorbers and dampening rods for firmer control, yet itís easier to upset than the Wildtrak X 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 offers a distinct lack of traction on wet bitumen in RWD mode. 16/25

The Wildtrak X doesnít have the Raptorís sophisticated Fox shocks and uses leaf springs, so itís not as talented as its range-topping sibling. Yet itís still composed enough to easily see off the Warrior. It doesnít jump or skip as much, while its lighter and somewhat benign steering feels more in-tune with off-road driving.†The Ford uses road-focused Bridgestone Duelers and is the one to pick if youíre sticking largely to bitumen. 19/25

Performance and economy

Despite all the changes made to the Warrior, the 2.3-litre twin-turbo fourcylinder unit is unaltered. It offers 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 Warriorís trump card is its fuel economy, which is rated at 7.0L/100km; thatís†1.7L/100km better than the brawnier Wildtrak Xís five-pot oiler. 17/25

Okay, itís 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). Itís the stronger unit here, with ample mid-range oomph, while it also delivers 7kW and 20Nm more than the Navara. However, its claimed fuel consumption is far higher at 8.7L/100km. 17/25

THE VERDICT†

67 /100†

75 /100

Hook up with the X

The Warrior is a commendable improvement over a regular Navara thanks to its tough looks, off-road chops and genuine Aussie engineering knowhow. However, it still isnít enough to snaffle victory out of the Rangerís tub. The popular Ford dual-cab deserves all the plaudits it garners, and while it isnít 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.