The bench­mark


4 x 4 Australia - - Report Card -

PER­HAPS it’s a re­flec­tion of a lack of se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion in the large 4x4 wagon mar­ket, but sales of the 200 con­tinue to grow, climb­ing some 13 per cent in the first six months of 2018 com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2017. And that comes off the back of two years where sales grew by 20 per cent and 30 per cent be­fore that.

In fact, the 200 has never sold bet­ter de­spite be­ing more than 10 years old. A few years back the 200 was hov­er­ing out­side the top 10 best-sell­ing 4x4s, but is now well es­tab­lished at num­ber seven and clos­ing on the Navara.

The 200 has no doubt ben­e­fit­ted from the fact Nis­san’s Pa­trol Y62 is petrol-only, and you haven’t been able to buy a diesel Y61 Pa­trol for more than a year. And all in a mar­ket where diesel rules – Toy­ota of­fers the 200 with a very sweet 4.6-litre petrol V8, but only 1.0 per cent of 200 Se­ries buy­ers take up the of­fer.

Nor does the new Land Rover Dis­cov­ery of­fer much sales com­pe­ti­tion to the mighty 200 – in the six months that 6581 LC200S were sold, Land Rover sold 1026 Dis­cov­erys and Nis­san just 716 Pa­trols.

The 200’s sales have ac­cel­er­ated since its facelift back in 2016. That facelift brought dis­tinc­tive new styling, a raft of new safety and tech kit, and Euro 5 com­pli­ance via a DPF, im­proved fuel econ­omy and even a slight jump in over­all power.

As ever the 200 is ef­fort­less to drive both on and off the road. The en­gine may be a bit ‘truck-like’ in terms of re­fine­ment, but it does ev­ery job asked of it with­out rais­ing a sweat. And while the 200’s on-road dy­nam­ics aren’t the sharpest, the ride com­fort is ex­cel­lent on even the nas­ti­est of roads.

To im­prove the on-road dy­nam­ics of the ven­er­a­ble 200 (and the of­froad abil­ity even more), tick­ing the KDSS op­tion box on the GXL diesel is a very good idea.

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