2018 Nis­san Pa­trol

Alpine Observer - - Northeast Motor Guide - ALIS­TAIR KENNEDY

WITH each road test that we carry out it’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to hear the first im­pres­sions the ve­hi­cle makes on rel­a­tives, friends and even passers-by. Re­sponses gen­er­ally vary de­pend­ing on the in­ter­ests of the viewer but not so with this week’s test, the Nis­san Pa­trol Ti-L, where the re­ac­tion has been all-but unan­i­mous …. “Isn’t it big.”

The tale of the tape con­firms that vis­ual im­pres­sion. It’s nearly 5.2 me­tres long and just un­der two me­tres wide and high, larger all round than its only real com­peti­tor the mar­ket lead­ing Toy­ota Land­Cruiser.

Only two vari­ants are of­fered, both at the top end of Nis­san’s equip­ment range, Pa­trol Ti and Ti-L. Note that the ‘L’ stands for Lux­ury un­like other brands’ SUVs where it can mean long wheel­base. The Ti has eight seats with a cen­tre bench in the mid­dle row. The Ti-L drops down to seven seats with two large in­di­vid­ual cen­tre seats sep­a­rated by a large arm­rest.

The Ti is priced from $71,990 and the Ti-L from $88,990. STYLING The Nis­san Pa­trol (nee Dat­sun), has been on sale in Aus­tralia for more than 50 years and for most of that time it has fea­tured the square, an­gu­lar looks that pre-SUV 4WD buy­ers loved. With the ar­rival of the cur­rent Y62 model in 2016 it switched to a slightly softer, more rounded styling in line with chang­ing buyer ex­pec­ta­tions.

Its size still clearly iden­ti­fies it as a Nis­san Pa­trol but there’s a new bumper and grille, re­vised tri­an­gu­lar fog­light hous­ings and dis­tinc­tive 18-inch al­loy wheels. Although it at­tracted some crit­i­cism from Pa­trol tra­di­tion­al­ists in our view it strikes a nice be­fore-and-af­ter bal­ance. IN­TE­RIOR Once in­side the Pa­trol - and that won’t be as easy as it sounds for smaller oc­cu­pants - the cabin is spa­cious with plenty of head and legroom for the oc­cu­pants of the first and sec­ond rows. As is usu­ally the case the two third-row seats are best suited to pre-teens.

The outer seats of the sec­ond row fold and tum­ble for ac­cess to the third with the lat­ter able to move for­ward and aft for in­creased leg or cargo room. The sec­ond row can also be folded if you need to haul large items but doesn’t fold flush, so keep that in mind.

There are plenty of stor­age op­tions in var­i­ous sizes and shapes in­clud­ing a very clever cen­tre con­sole that can be ac­cessed from ei­ther the front or sec­ond row seats.

Even with all seats in place there’s 550 litres of boot stor­age. With the third row down that ex­pands to 1500 litres and with the cen­tre row folded there’s a van-like 3000 litres. The Ti rear door is man­u­ally op­er­ated, the Ti-L’s is pow­ered. EN­GINES / TRANS­MIS­SIONS As the Pa­trol is aimed pri­mar­ily at the US mar­ket there’s no diesel op­tion. Both vari­ants are pow­ered by a 5.6-litre V8 en­gine with 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque, 90 per cent of the lat­ter is avail­able from just 1600rpm.

Trans­mis­sion is through a near-seam­less seven-speed au­to­matic.

The 4WD drive sys­tem en­gages all four wheels when re­quired, oth­er­wise it de­faults to the rear wheels. There is per­ma­nent 4WD, low-gear­ing and a diff lock for off-road for­ays. You can also use a ro­tary con­trol to choose from snow, rock or sand sur­faces. IN­FO­TAIN­MENT The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem works via an 8-inch colour touch­screen, which is fairly small for a ve­hi­cle of this size. Both mod­els get satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion with 3D map­ping and traf­fic mon­i­tor­ing. There are steer­ing wheel mounted au­dio con­trols, and a pair of USB ports on the cen­tre con­sole.

Blue­tooth pair­ing, pre­vi­ously a weak­ness in Nis­sans, is now much more in­tu­itive. Un­usu­ally nei­ther Ap­ple CarPlay nor An­droid Auto is avail­able.

The two cen­tre row seats in the Ti-L have 8.0-inch DVD screens mounted on the rear of the front seat­backs with head­phones, re­mote con­trols and the choice of USB, DVD or HDMI in­puts. Ti-L also adds 13 Pre­mium Bose speak­ers; SAFETY In ad­di­tion to the manda­tory and in­dus­try-stan­dard safety fea­tures both Pa­trol mod­els, given their bulk, get very use­ful ma­noeu­vring fea­tures in front and rear park­ing sen­sors and In­tel­li­gent Around-View Mon­i­tor which uses four cam­eras to pro­vide mul­ti­ple views around the ve­hi­cle; and with Mov­ing Ob­ject De­tec­tion which can de­tect nearby mov­ing ob­jects and pro­vide alerts. There’s also Hill De­scent Con­trol, Hill Start As­sist, Isofix child seat re­straints in the outer sec­ond row seats and tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing.

Pa­trol Ti-L also gets In­tel­li­gent Cruise Con­trol; For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing; In­tel­li­gent Dis­tance Con­trol; Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing and In­ter­ven­tion; Blind Spot Warn­ing and In­ter­ven­tion and In­tel­li­gent Brake As­sist. DRIV­ING With ground clear­ance of 285 mm get­ting into the big Pa­trol can be a chal­lenge for smaller oc­cu­pants although there are stan­dard run­ning boards and grab han­dles to as­sist.

Our week in the Pa­trol Ti-L fit­ted in very nicely with our lo­cal foot­ball club’s an­nual golf day and we man­aged to load it up with four oc­cu­pants, a cou­ple of in­dus­tri­al­strength cooler boxes, three sets of clubs and var­i­ous other odds and ends.

With three pas­sen­gers in the cen­tre seats rear vi­sion was all but oblit­er­ated but the prob­lem can be over­come via the In­tel­li­gent Rear View fea­ture which con­verts the rear view mir­ror to a con­stant rear-view cam­era. It works re­ally well dur­ing day­light hours but less so af­ter dark.

Around town the big Nis­san isn’t as dif­fi­cult to han­dle as its bulk would sug­gest. The high driv­ing po­si­tion is a plus while steer­ing is light in the Amer­i­can fash­ion and the var­i­ous park­ing aids over­come much of the po­ten­tial park­ing is­sues. The turn­ing cir­cle of 12.5 me­tres is pretty rea­son­able for a ve­hi­cle of its size and there’s good side­ways vis­i­bil­ity.

On both the mo­tor­way and open coun­try roads the Pa­trol ac­cel­er­ates smoothly and purrs along ef­fort­lessly, a per­fect longdis­tance cruiser with the fam­ily on board. Hills and bends re­quire di­verse treat­ment, the for­mer are treated with dis­dain but the lat­ter need to be ap­proached with cau­tion.

Now to the ele­phant in the room – fuel con­sump­tion. A boxy 2.7-tonne ve­hi­cle with a big V8 petrol en­gine can only mean big num­bers and, even us­ing Nis­san’s con­ser­va­tive fac­tory gen­er­ated fig­ures they start at 14.4 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres on the com­bined ur­ban/high­way cy­cle. With our usual 50/ 50 split of city and mo­tor­way driv­ing we were able to keep our av­er­age down to ‘just’ 15.8 L/100 km.

The sort-of good news is that the fuel tank holds 140 litres although once the low fuel warn­ing light starts to flash be pre­pared for a big hit to your credit card es­pe­cially if you fol­low Nis­san’s rec­om­men­da­tion and use pre­mium un­leaded .

GI­ANT: Nis­san Pa­trol is big and bold

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