2018 Nissan Patrol
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