Three crossover snowmobiles with a go-anywhere attitude

No matter where you live in the U.S., this winter has been a weird one. Some parts of the country are slammed with snow, and sometimes, the usual combination of AWD and cold-weather rubber just won’t cut it. When the white stuff is deep and the interstate looks like a ski resort, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Enter the Winter Warriors – three one-off crossover concepts from Nissan that are here to battle the elements with powder-churning treads and little regard for low-grip conditions.

Slated to debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the one-off Winter Warriors started life as stock-spec examples of the Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue. Nissan then added extreme capability with outrageous new running gear, complemented by a list of out-door accessories and a unique exterior look.

The result is… well, the word extreme certainly comes to mind.

Updated 02/16/2016: We added a series of images taken during the Warrior’s official at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Check ’Pictures’ tab to see them.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts.

Exterior

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior
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Excluding those enormous treads in the corners, the Winter Warriors are actually not too far off from the stock crossover models you’d find at your average Nissan dealership (aesthetically speaking, of course). The body pieces are pretty much unmodified, with the odd piece of cladding and extraneous plastic removed to accommodate the treads.

The body panels gain a custom matte-red wrap, which comes with the “Nissan Winter Warrior” logo across the side, plus a black track mark running across the rear flank.

The body panels gain a custom matte-red wrap, which comes with the “Nissan Winter Warrior” logo across the side, plus a black track mark running across the rear flank. More black striping can be found on the hood, accenting the v-shaped grille design, and the individual model name is emblazoned in red along the passenger-side edge of the windshield.

Up top, each vehicle is outfitted with factory accessory roof rail crossbars, while the rear gains the factory accessory bumper protector.

I gotta admit – it looks pretty cool. Throw in those matte-black track frames and set the background to a stark-white snow landscape, and the Winter Warriors look like the vehicle lineup for a squad of superheroes out to defeat a mad scientist bent on melting the polar ice caps.

Go, go, go!

Interior

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior
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One of the benefits of outfitting a crossover with snow treads is a large cabin space that can go pretty much anywhere. Compared to a traditional snowmobile, the ability to take a slice of civilization into the wilderness is a big plus, and the added cargo capacity isn’t so bad either.

Overall, interior modifications are basic, but effective. Nissan says it installed factory accessories like cargo area protectors and all-season floor mats. I think it’s safe to assume seat warmers are included as well.

Nissan also says it included 9x9-foot hatch tents for “true hardcore winter camping enthusiasts,” turning the Winter Warriors into a mobile caravan ready for long stints away from it all.

Drivetrain

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior
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Here’s the good stuff. Each Winter Warrior is equipped with a heavy-duty track system from American Track Truck. Based out of the Chassell area in Northern Michigan, American Track Truck has been modifying light- to medium-weight passenger vehicles with extreme capability off-road treads since 2005.

Each Winter Warrior is equipped with a heavy-duty track system from American Track Truck.

Their latest product is the Dominator series. Each tread is 48 inches long, 30 inches tall, and 15 inches wide, spreading the vehicle weight over a large surface area to keep it from getting stuck. Each tread weighs 170 pounds, which isn’t bad considering what it can do.

Of course, the suspension was hugely modified to make sure it all fit, and there’s still travel to keep the body floating over the moguls. A tremendous amount of ground clearance makes hidden obstacles a nonissue.

Surprisingly, each vehicle uses an engine and transmission package that’s completely unmodified from the factory spec. Powering the Rogue is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, which is routed to all four wheels via an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Meanwhile, both the Murano and Pathfinder use a 3.5-liter V-6 with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, also paired to a CVT and AWD system.

Competition

Ford F-150 RaptorTRAX

Ford F-150 RaptorTRAX by Hoonigan Racing Exterior
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Don’t get me wrong – the Winter Warriors are awesome, no doubt about it. But if you’re looking for a little more muscle with your all-terrain capability, then Ken Block has a solution. Say hello to the RaptorTRAX, a 650-horsepower, V8-powered F-150 created by Hoonigan Racing to rack up the YouTube views and generally run amuck. Because after all, you can’t take the Hoonicorn everywhere, can you?

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior
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I love stuff like this. Any time you take a run-of-the-mill passenger vehicle and bless it with some wild and crazy equipment, the result is bound to be pretty good. It’s like deploying helicopter blades to get around traffic, or engaging submersible mode when the bridge is out. A snowmobile crossover just makes sense, especially this time of year.

I love the capability, and I love the search-and-rescue-mission good looks. I even like the off-road/camping accessories. However, I’m not the biggest fan of the engine and transmission setup. If you’re heading to the mall, then sure, 260 horsepower and a CVT will be just fine. But if you’re out to conquer Mother Nature, then you need more – a lot more. I’m talking about a supercharger and large-pipe exhaust with flames shooting out of it. Throw a rocket launcher onto the roof too, just because.

But hey, I’m getting carried away. I gotta give it up to Nissan for making these things in the first place, rocket launcher or no. After all, these are still serious off-roaders, and this sort of experiment needs to be encouraged in all its glorious forms.

  • Leave it
    • * Stock engines? Really?
    • * Crazy, but could be crazier

Press Release

There’s winter, then there’s Warrior Winter. Snowfall, ice, drifts – conditions that challenge even the most capable of all-wheel drive vehicles. But not these aggressive Nissan models.

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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In celebration of the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan is giving three of its popular crossovers a little competitive edge – creating one-off versions of its popular Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue equipped with sets of heavy-duty snow tracks. The three custom Nissan "Winter Warrior" crossovers are ready to tackle even the record-breaking snowfalls experienced by many parts of the country already this year.

"Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder are proven all-wheel-drive crossovers that are very popular with customers, judging from exceptional sales results in 2015 and now in January 2016," said Christian Meunier, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, Inc. "With the Winter Warriors, we wanted to take that idea to the extreme, enhancing the vehicles’ advanced systems with special snow tracks, Genuine Nissan Accessories, and a custom exterior appearance."

All three Nissan Winter Warriors feature custom heavy-duty track systems with custom matte-black finish frames. The DOMINATOR® Tracks, from American Track Truck, Inc., are 48 inches long, 30 inches high and 15 inches wide and replace the vehicles’ wheels and tires. The suspensions and wheel wells were modified to fit the snow tracks, but otherwise all drivetrain components, including the engines and Xtronic transmissions, are factory fresh.

2016 Nissan "Winter Warrior" Concepts High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan Design America (NDA) created identical, custom matte red-chrome body wraps featuring a unique "track" design and Nissan "Winter Warrior" signage. A range of Genuine Nissan Accessories are also fitted to the three Winter Warriors, including cargo area protectors, all-season floor mats, roof rail crossbars and rear bumper protectors. They also each feature 9x9-foot hatch tents for true hardcore winter camping enthusiasts.

"With their solid Nissan underpinnings and exceptional ground clearance, these Winter Warriors are serious, extreme weather machines, not toys," said Meunier. "But, they sure are fun – just like our entire lineup of family adventure-ready Pathfinders, Muranos and Rogues that you can drive straight off the showroom floor."

Nissan SUV and crossovers have experienced record sales in recent years. In 2015, Murano sales increased 33 percent, while Rogue set an all-time record of more than 287,000 units – an increase of 44 percent. The sales momentum has continued in 2016 with a record-setting month for Pathfinder, Rogue and Murano, to the tune of 5 percent, 26 percent and 46 percent increases, respectively.

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