Nissan Patrol 5,6 V8 Premium 4WD 7AT
The venerable Nissan Patrol finally gets a new-generation replacement. Sort of...
FORTUNE, they say, favours the brave … and brave is certainly what Nissan is being with the launch of this new Patrol in our market. On the face of it, it would be easy to condemn the big bruiser. This model is, after all, already seven years old – the Y62 Patrol was launched abroad in 2010 – and it comes in at a whopping R500 000 more than the vehicle it replaces.
The Patrol is also a range of one, with this Premium derivative the only model on offer, and that leaves us with none of the usual “good car but there are better value propositions further down the range” opinions to soften the blow, either. Nissan has put its Patrol eggs into one basket.
But also quite canny. Considering the Patrol’s DNA – a goanywhere, dependable off-roader that will traverse continents – the vehicle’s USP starts to come into focus. While it remains slightly old school, this is, in fact, exactly what its customers want, especially those who. If you require a vehicle with which to do long trips, often away from civilisation or repair centres, you are not looking for fancy electronics and temperamental engines.
Keeping it simple has long been the Patrol’s calling card and the new model comes with a naturally aspirated, V8 petrol engine delivering 298 kw and 560 N.m of torque through a seven-speed torque-converter transmission. The engine has hydraulically adjustable valve timing, plus electrically controlled lift, to compensate for less dense air at high altitudes. Drive is normally
to the rear wheels, but automatically switches to all-wheel drive when necessary. A low-range transfer case with various off-road programmes can also be selected via controls on the centre console. Naturally, hill-descent and a rear diff lock are at your disposal, too.
Appearance-wise, the Patrol has an imposing presence with styling that, while a little dated, is attractive. For those who recognise more than a whiff of Infiniti QX80 in this big Nissan, you’d be spot-on, as they are indeed siblings. It is a big vehicle, though, and whereas the sheer bulk makes it tricky to manoeuvre around urban spaces – even with the camera aids – it does mean Nissan could employ an residential interior decorator to look over the styling inside.
The Patrol thus comes with supple leather upholstery (in beige/biscuit or black), loads of legroom and three smaller seats at the back, providing seating for eight even though it is officially called a seven-seater. Open the powered tailgate and you find something rare in seven-seater vehicles … luggage space. With the third row in operation, there’s still an impressive amount of room for your groceries.
The Patrol now comes with NIM, or Nissan Intelligent Mobility. This adds various modern safety features to detect blind spots, help with lane departures and automatically brake the vehicle to avoid collisions. A 360-degree camera also helps to guide the massive vehicle and a rear-view camera image can be displayed in the rear-view mirror. You get a DVD system for rear-seat passengers as standard, as well as a sunroof, triple-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen and electric front seats that are heated and cooled. The cabin is packed with clever little touches such as sunvisor extensions and USB and 12 V outlets in various places, plus the large centre armrest houses a refrigerated cool box.
On the road, the Patrol is extremely comfortable, with a cosseting ride that exhibits little body roll thanks to active suspension hydraulics. The big, naturally aspirated V8 makes for effortless acceleration accompanied by a softly audible V8 note but, with seven ratios, there is quite a lot of cog swapping. Braking is, thankfully, well up to hauling the 2,8-tonne beast to a stop.
Unlike the 21-inch wheels fitted to the QX80 we tested in November 2015, Nissan has sensibly fitted perfectly sized wheels to the Patrol. The 265/70 R18 Bridgestone Dueler A/TS have the ability to soak up potholes with ease, freeing the vehicle’s owner of the worry that the rims could be bent. The launch route also incorporated some serious rock crawling and the only thing that might be missed is the inability to adjust the ride height to scale really large rocks. We did hear the odd underbody scrape.
So yes, given what else is available in South Africa for R1,3 million, Nissan has been brave in launching a vehicle that is a little long in the tooth. However, with its legendary reputation, there is likely to be an older, wealthier clientele looking for exactly this: a big, luxurious off-roader that can both tow their large caravans or boats (it has a 3 500 kg braked tow rating) or traverse the continent’s most rugged terrain in style.
Open the tailgate and you’ll find something rare in seven-seaters ... luggage space
clockwise from right Ostentatious interior is dripping in ruched leather, wood grain and extensive brightwork; clean lines go some way to hiding the sheer size; it’s certainly more attractive than the ungainly Infiniti QX80; wide body means sitting three abreast is no hardship across rows two and three.