Nis­san Pa­trol 5,6 V8 Premium 4WD 7AT

The ven­er­a­ble Nis­san Pa­trol fi­nally gets a new-gen­er­a­tion re­place­ment. Sort of...

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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