NIS­SAN PA­TROL 5.6 V8 LE PRE­MIUM

Con­quer­ing the out­doors in lux­ury

Driven - - Contents - Re­port by BERNIE HELLBERG | Im­ages © NIS­SAN SOUTH AFRICA

WHEN ASKED TO IMAG­INE SOME OF THE MOST ICONIC FOUR-BY-FOURS THAT HELPED SHAPE THE HIS­TORY OF OFF-ROAD­ING IN AFRICA, TOY­OTA’S LAND CRUISER, THE LAND ROVER DE­FENDER AND THE NIS­SAN PA­TROL COME TO MIND. BERNIE HELLBERG HAS TESTED THEM ALL, THE LAT­EST BE­ING IN SOME RE­SPECTS, THE GREAT­EST OF THEM ALL.

When I was grow­ing up, the sternest of off-road­ers were those who drove one of three overland tools: the Nis­san Pa­trol, the Toy­ota Land Cruiser, or the Land Rover De­fender.

These boxy, func­tional, and unashamedly agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles weren’t meant to look good, and they didn’t, but they cer­tainly could go any­where.

As the age of ad­ven­ture grad­u­ally made way for the era of the leisure trav­eller, comfort, prac­ti­cal­ity, and lux­ury sur­passed func­tion­al­ity as the pri­mary pur­pose of the all-pur­pose off-roader. It should come as no sur­prise, then, that our three bundu be­he­moths have had to adapt or die and, in at least two of the cases, that is pre­cisely what has hap­pened.

NEW DI­REC­TION OR LAST

STAND?

While the Landy De­fender has been rel­e­gated to the an­nals of his­tory – now thor­oughly beaten to the top of the Land Rover food chain by their Dis­cov­ery – both Toy­ota and Nis­san per­sist with larger for­mat off-road­ers in an age where smaller, and lighter, SUVs and crossovers rule the roost.

To un­der­stand the think­ing be­hind what seems like mount­ing odds against them, one could say that ve­hi­cles like the Cruiser 200 and Pa­trol are relics of a dis­tant past where the fuel price lin­gered lazily around the R10-per-litre mark. Or you can see them for what they are: niche off-road tanks that ex­ist only to be big­ger, and more ca­pa­ble off the beaten track than any­thing else.

Do looks mat­ter much? Prob­a­bly not, but why should it when you’re lit­er­ally the big­gest SUV on the road? Should you care how thirsty they are? If you’re shop­ping at this end of the scale, you’re un­likely to be phased by some­thing as mun­dane as fuel con­sump­tion.

All you need is to have enough power for ev­ery pur­pose, that your ve­hi­cle de­liv­ers on the level of lux­ury you’re pay­ing for, and that it can con­quer ev­ery bit of nasty ter­rain that you throw at it.

DRIV­ING THE PA­TROL

The new Pa­trol ticks all three needs boxes, mainly thanks to its 5.6-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 that oblit­er­ates any ter­rain with 298 kW of power and 560 Nm of raw torque. Con­sid­er­ing the ve­hi­cle’s hefty 2,800 kg bulk, the Pa­trol is sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful and no­tice­ably so.

“ONE WOULD THINK THAT THE THOUGHT OF SITTING IN TRAF­FIC IN SUCH A BEAST WOULD BE

TER­RI­FY­ING”

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