Nissan SUV Experience
Off the regular fanfare of the touristy locales of Dubai lies endless kilometres of desert. Add a powerful SUV to the picture and a rush of childish fun is in store as Abhik Das found out
The day started with a presentation. As most media drives do, there wasn’t really anything much different about this one either. While my body clock was coming to terms with the lack of sleep from the early morning flight, I was nearly zoning out when my ears caught a few words. “Every fifth SUV here will most likely be a Nissan Patrol.” Tall claim I thought and almost dismissed the statement immediately, thinking that this was nothing out of the ordinary as far as media presentations go.
Dubai, the land of mega structures, opulence and king sized everything. Fast super cars to huge SUVs are commonplace. The fact that my colleagues and I were ludicrously picking out the more humble hatchbacks and sedans from the medley of exotics should give you a fair idea of the automotive scene in the city. Heck, even while snugged away in my hotel room, the sound of rumbling,
DUBAI, THE LAND OF MEGA STRUCTURES, OPULENCE AND KING SIZED EVERYTHING. FAST SUPER CARS TO HUGE SUVS ARE COMMONPLACE
roaring and screaming V8 engines in various forms of cars were omnipresent as background score in an automotive enthusiast’s dream.
Nissan is a big player in this part of the world. A drive exiting the city and heading towards the Al Wadi Desert brought back that statement made in the presentation. Accurately, every fifth SUV was a Nissan Patrol with instances where the frequency of spotting the SUV went up even higher. A 5.6-litre, torquey V8 motor powers the latest generation of Patrols. And just for that reason alone, it’s easy to be enamoured
by the full-size SUV. As we approached the desert, it became even clearer as to why Dubai loves the Patrol so much.
Great driving manners aside, the sheer size and room inside the cabin has to be a draw for the pragmatic buyers while the appeal of its butch yet slightly polished visage draws in buyers who’d opt it purely for its image. The naturally aspirated engine likes its drink of gasoline straight with the help of direct injection and it’ll have none of that turbo lag nonsense. The resultant throttle response is as direct as pressing the trigger and firing a shot while you’re pushed back into the seat by the thrust of 560Nm of sand churning torque. Out in the desert, the limited slip differential alongside locking rear differential find an ally in the
NISSAN IS A BIG PLAYER IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD. EVERY FIFTH SUV WAS A NISSAN PATROL WITH INSTANCES WHERE THE FREQUENCY OF SPOTTING THE SUV WENT UP EVEN HIGHER
Active Brake Limited Slip technology that uses the feed from the ABS to further enhance traction.
“Driving on sand is just like surfing.” If these words from the instructor leave you perplexed as they did so for me due to my knowledge of surfing amounting to zilch; the context to be derived was to flow with the sand as surfers do with an oncoming wave to ride it. A quick burst of power to climb the dune and decelerating while steering the SUV with the flow of the descending sand. It's the combination of driving skills and the tech laden 4x4 system of the Patrol that will see you have fun while dune bashing rather than digging it and yourself into trouble.
Apart from the Patrol, Nissan sells a compact SUV called the Kicks in the Middle-Eastern markets. Come January of 2019 and the Kicks brand will become an important name for Nissan to include in their Indian line-up of vehicles. However, the Kicks seen here is completely different to the one that will make it to our shores. While India will receive a car that would be based on the manufacturer's B platform that underpins the Terrano (and the Renault Duster, Captur), the Kicks we were driving was more basic and a bit of an oddball in its dimensions. Measuring over 4.2 metres in length, it has a longer wheelbase than the Hyundai Creta but the body is shorter and narrower than the Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza. In its basic S trim, the Middle-Eastern version of the car features a basic stereo system, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment and a CVT gearbox that's
mated to a 1.6-litre, 118bhp engine. Nonetheless, the Kicks that will be sold in India will offer many more features and different engine options while of course being a much larger car.
The two-wheel-drive, middle eastern Kicks is best kept on the road and with more dunes in sight, it was time to step back into the V8 beast that the Patrol is.
The Nissan Patrol was conceived in the early ‘50s and over the years, it kept getting updated into this very form that it is in today. Unfortunately, our mar- ket conditions, demands and taxing structure would place the Patrol closer to the Toyota Land Cruiser and it's doppelgänger, the Lexus LX570. Unlikely to be manufactured or assembled in India, the Patrol would have to bear the full brunt of the import duties as a CBU. Additionally, both formerly mentioned brands enjoy a higher badge value than Nissan, leaving the Patrol struggling in its path even before its launch. Thus making its entry into the Indian market highly unlikely.
THE KICKS THAT WILL BE SOLD IN INDIA WILL OFFER MANY MORE FEATURES AND DIFFERENT ENGINE OPTIONS WHILE OF COURSE BEING A MUCH LARGER CAR THAN THE ONE WE DROVE IN DUBAI
Abhishek Mahapatra, VP, head of communications gives us a quick brief of Nissan's SUV heritage while also directing guidelines to tame any excessive enthusiasm of the bunch present at the do