It’s child’s play in a Patrol
The Nissan Patrol makes light work of anything on the hitch, whether it’s the biggest caravan on the market or a cargo plane.
The Nissan Patrol reminds you of that big guy in matric you didn’t want to mess with. You made sure you were friends because with him at your side you didn’t have to worry about anyone else. For 4x4 enthusiasts and caravanners, the Nissan Patrol is that guy: When you get behind the wheel of this monster nothing and no one is going to stand in your way. And the Patrol truly is a monster – at 2,7 t it’s one of the heaviest SUVs on our roads and there isn’t a caravan in the country it can’t tow.
A weighty affair
The Patrol is big inside and out – the black test vehicle we drove looked like something used to transport a politician and his six bodyguards.
Between the two front seats there’s more than a ruler’s length of space and there are cupholders for big and small cans – if you’re someone who enjoys an energy drink. Between the seats there’s also a cooler with enough space for six 500 ml bottles. Besides the grille, the Patrol’s bodywork has chrome finishes like the V8 badge on each fender. You’d think this V8 engine with its 5,6 ℓ capacity would be better suited in a hotrod, but this is what makes the heavy body move so effortlessly. It’s so willing you completely forget about the caravan on the tow bar.
When you pull away at a traffic light its brute power pushes you into the seat as if you’re in a plane that’s taking off. You can’t help but worry that you might have pulled the caravan’s chassis out from underneath its body. Luckily caravanners aren’t in such a hurry, but accelerating (at any speed) and overtaking other cars happens with the snap of a finger.
The newest model is the seventh generation Patrol. Nissan appointed the Patrol its strongman back in 2013. With 560 Nm and 298 kW, the Patrol hitched a cargo plane weighing 170 t and towed it for 100 m. It was a new Guinness world record for the heaviest object towed with a production vehicle.
And Nissan makes it easier for prospective buyers by producing just one version.
Where’s the hitch?
For such an excellent and luxurious 4x4 vehicle you’d expect a tow bar to come standard, but it’s actually optional. It costs roughly R7 000 extra and is of the permanently fixed type that doesn’t swing out electrically. The hitch is manufactured in the Czech
When you pull away at the traffic lights its brute power pushes you into the seat as if you’re in a plane that’s taking off.
Republic and has a D-value of 17,2 kN – that refers to the specific cargo test on the hitch and is equivalent to 1 754 kg. The nose weight is limited to 140 kg.
A section of the tow bar protrudes from behind the body and the ball itself is fixed to a goose neck arm. This means you can’t use a drop plate if you want to adjust the ball height. The onboard computer doesn’t register when you plug the caravan into the harness. So, when you reverse the park sensors think you’re going to crash into something. Luckily there’s a button on the reverse camera screen that you use to switch the alarm off.
Simplicity is the key to success
In this price range you’ll find a lot of computer-generated instrumentation. It doesn’t appear as if Nissan is bothered by this and instead stuck with conventional analogue dials. This includes a gauge on the left that displays the oil pressure and the charge level of the battery. This gauge measures 8-18 V, with 10,5–15,5 V the standard readout. In the middle of the dashboard is a small digital screen that looks like something out of the Eighties. It’s simple but it does show you what you need to know: from the range remaining to the fuel consumption. It’ll also alerts you when a door isn’t closed properly and displays the ambient temperature.
As soon as the analogue gauge shows the fuel tank is empty you’re going to fork out more than R2 000 at the filling station because the car has a massive 140 ℓ tank. Still, the Patrol’s fuel consumption with a caravan in tow isn’t too crippling considering its size:
22,2 ℓ/100 km (4,5 km/ℓ), which means you get just over 600 km on a tank. (That’s R3 per kilometre.) The mustard leather upholstery looks like it belongs in a millionaire’s mansion. You have to pull the sunroof’s blind back manually if you want to let sunlight in, and unlike many other vehicles in this class it doesn’t have an electric parking brake. The Patrol has a pedal to the left that you step on to secure the parking brake.
The kids will also not complain about the long road ahead. Behind both front seat headrests there’s a small flat-screen TV with a DVD player in the front console. Each of the screens have their own cordless earphones with one remote control for both. So if your teen daughter prefers to plug in her smartphone’s USB socket to listen to the latest chart-toppers, she can do it on her screen. >
NISSAN PATROL 5.6 V8 LE
EVERYTHING YOU NEED. The Patrol has a big body, but you won’t see unnecessary clutter. It’s stylish and you can tell just by looking at it how powerful it is.
LAP OF LUXURY. Animated lines on the screen indicate in which direction the wheels are turned. Between the seats is a large cooler box and the kids can watch TV at the back.