All Hail the King – Nis­san Pa­trol

Nis­san Pa­trol

Indwe - - Contents - Text: Bernie Hell­berg Im­ages © Nis­san South Africa

To lead in the highly-com­pet­i­tive lux­ury SUV seg­ment to­day, brands have to con­sis­tently be at the top of their game. That seems to be Nis­san’s mantra for the new Pa­trol, a mighty beast of a ma­chine that has come to chal­lenge all in the bat­tle for lux­u­ri­ous off-road supremacy.

And while it has – on pa­per, at least – the power to smite all in its path, sev­eral equally mighty war­riors stand be­tween the Pa­trol and ul­ti­mate dom­i­nance. Not least of which is Mother Africa’s other favourite son, the Toy­ota Land Cruiser.

AN IL­LUS­TRI­OUS LIN­EAGE

The Nis­san Pa­trol can trace its lin­eage back to the 4W60, which be­gan pro­duc­tion in Ja­pan in 1951. De­signed at first to be a mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle, the 4W60 was soon re­placed by the more civil­ian­minded, sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion G60 se­ries.

Al­though never meek, nor mild, the Pa­trol evolved from func­tional de­vice to premium leisure ve­hi­cle through a se­ries of up­grades over sub­se­quent se­ries.

The fifth-gen­er­a­tion Y61 – avail­able here from 1997 to 2004 – was fol­lowed by the sixth-gen­er­a­tion Y61 facelift that was sold in South Africa un­til now, al­though it had been re­placed by the Y62 in other coun­tries from 2010.

De­spite the late ar­rival of Y62, the Pa­trol re­mains the “Big Man” to the en­tire Nis­san 4x4 line-up, and should be cred­ited with pro­vid­ing the DNA that spawned the cur­rent crop of Nis­san off-road­ers and crossovers, in­clud­ing the X-Trail, Qashqai, and even the lit­tle Juke.

Perched at the top of the Nis­san food chain, the new Pa­trol has come to take the fight for off-road supremacy to the wire.

BUILT FOR BUSI­NESS

For the Y62, Nis­san has done away with the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion 3.0-litre, V6 tur­bod­iesel found in the Y61 facelift car. The model is now bol­stered by a mas­sive 5.6-litre, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 that oblit­er­ates any ter­rain with its 298 kW of power and 560 Nm of raw torque.

But as Nis­san’s most lux­u­ri­ous of­froader to date, the pa­trol bran­dishes its “big stick” with a del­i­cate diplo­macy that un­der­lines its mod­ern-era abil­ity to over­whelm the rough with the smooth. Seven-speed au­to­matic in hand, the Pa­trol will thun­der all the way to a top speed of 210 km/h with­out break­ing so much as a sweat. In fact, if re­quired, the burly Nis­san can be a nim­ble sprinter too, rac­ing from stand­still to 100 km/h in a mere 6.6 sec­onds. Al­though this time is not of­fi­cially ac­knowl­edged, it is worth not­ing that not many 2.7-tonne be­he­moths can lay claim to that kind of sprint abil­ity.

Not that sprint­ing to an imag­i­nary fin­ish line is what the Pa­trol is renowned for. In­stead, its abil­ity to flat­ten al­most any sur­face, while main­tain­ing its charges in princely lux­ury, is the pri­mary rai­son d’être for this noble crea­ture.

To this end, Nis­san tasks its Hy­draulic Body Mo­tion Con­trol (HBMC) to do the job of main­tain­ing equi­lib­rium re­gard­less of how se­vere the ter­rain be­comes. A full suite of elec­tronic aids and en­hance­ments make up the Nis­san In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity Suite, which in­cludes blind-spot- and lane-de­par­ture warn­ings with in­ter­ven­tion, in­tel­li­gent cruise con­trol, and Nis­san’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary In­tel­li­gent For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing. This senses ob­sta­cles on the road ahead and acts ei­ther by an au­di­ble warn­ing or by ac­tively ap­ply­ing the brakes to avoid them.

LARGE & IN CHARGE

As big as it is, the Pa­trol sim­ply flat­tens ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing in its path. No won­der it is so preva­lent in the Mid­dle East, where the ter­rain may be vastly dif­fer­ent from the Bushveld con­di­tions here, but the life of a 4x4 is just as tough.

Stand­ing 1.94 m tall, the Pa­trol tow­ers above most other pre­tenders, even the mighty Land Cruiser 200 is 300 mm shorter. Does its size hin­der the car some­what, es­pe­cially in the un­pre­dictable bush? I would be ly­ing if I de­nied it. And the 1,995 mm-wide track doesn’t help to get this block of a car through tighter ob­sta­cles (or park­ing spa­ces) ei­ther.

De­spite this, how­ever, the Pa­trol doesn’t feel quite as large as it is. Few two-andthree-quar­ter-tonne ve­hi­cles tread as lightly as the Pa­trol, and with 272 mm of ground clear­ance, an ap­proach an­gle of 34.3 de­grees, and a de­par­ture an­gle of 26.2 de­grees, this car will dom­i­nate ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing with lit­tle more than a flick of the 4x4-mode and diff-lock se­lec­tors.

As Nis­san’s most lux­u­ri­ous of­froader to date, the pa­trol bran­dishes its “big stick” with a del­i­cate diplo­macy that un­der­lines its mod­ern-era abil­ity to over­whelm the rough with the smooth.

ALL THE BELLS & WHIS­TLES

At R1,299,000, the Pa­trol plays in a mar­ket seg­ment where one is spoilt for choice, and where the big Ger­mans – and the Ja­panese, mind you – are cur­rently in charge. But they don’t al­ways have all the lux­ury mod cons baked in, as is the case with the Pa­trol.

There are three rows of seats in the Pa­trol, with an 8” touch­screen up front and two screens in the front head­rests, pur­posed for the mid­dle row oc­cu­pants.

A Bose sound sys­tem, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion with 3D map­ping, and a chilled com­part­ment with a lid that opens both to the front and the back all add grav­i­tas to the no­tion that the Pa­trol has, fi­nally, tran­scended its util­i­tar­ian ori­gins.

FI­NAL SAY

Speak­ing softly and car­ry­ing a big stick may have worked for Roo­sevelt, but the Nis­san Pa­trol Y62 con­quers chal­leng­ing ter­rain, in­sur­mount­able ob­sta­cles, and ar­chaic per­cep­tions with ir­rev­er­ence, sheer power, and a level of lux­ury that the range has never seen be­fore.

By suc­cess­fully com­bin­ing its tal­ents as an in­ex­orable off-roader and sub­ur­ban limou­sine, the Pa­trol gets our nod to chal­lenge any other for the ti­tle of “King of Africa”.

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