Nis­san SUV Ex­pe­ri­ence

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Off the reg­u­lar fan­fare of the touristy lo­cales of Dubai lies end­less kilo­me­tres of desert. Add a pow­er­ful SUV to the pic­ture and a rush of child­ish fun is in store as Ab­hik Das found out

The day started with a pre­sen­ta­tion. As most me­dia drives do, there wasn’t re­ally any­thing much dif­fer­ent about this one ei­ther. While my body clock was com­ing to terms with the lack of sleep from the early morn­ing flight, I was nearly zon­ing out when my ears caught a few words. “Ev­ery fifth SUV here will most likely be a Nis­san Pa­trol.” Tall claim I thought and al­most dis­missed the state­ment im­me­di­ately, think­ing that this was noth­ing out of the or­di­nary as far as me­dia pre­sen­ta­tions go.

Dubai, the land of mega struc­tures, opu­lence and king sized ev­ery­thing. Fast su­per cars to huge SUVs are com­mon­place. The fact that my col­leagues and I were lu­di­crously pick­ing out the more hum­ble hatch­backs and sedans from the med­ley of ex­otics should give you a fair idea of the au­to­mo­tive scene in the city. Heck, even while snugged away in my ho­tel room, the sound of rum­bling,

DUBAI, THE LAND OF MEGA STRUC­TURES, OPU­LENCE AND KING SIZED EV­ERY­THING. FAST SU­PER CARS TO HUGE SUVS ARE COM­MON­PLACE

roar­ing and scream­ing V8 en­gines in var­i­ous forms of cars were om­nipresent as back­ground score in an au­to­mo­tive en­thu­si­ast’s dream.

Nis­san is a big player in this part of the world. A drive ex­it­ing the city and head­ing to­wards the Al Wadi Desert brought back that state­ment made in the pre­sen­ta­tion. Ac­cu­rately, ev­ery fifth SUV was a Nis­san Pa­trol with in­stances where the fre­quency of spot­ting the SUV went up even higher. A 5.6-litre, torquey V8 mo­tor pow­ers the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Pa­trols. And just for that rea­son alone, it’s easy to be enamoured

by the full-size SUV. As we ap­proached the desert, it be­came even clearer as to why Dubai loves the Pa­trol so much.

Great driv­ing man­ners aside, the sheer size and room in­side the cabin has to be a draw for the prag­matic buy­ers while the ap­peal of its butch yet slightly pol­ished vis­age draws in buy­ers who’d opt it purely for its im­age. The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine likes its drink of gaso­line straight with the help of di­rect in­jec­tion and it’ll have none of that turbo lag non­sense. The re­sul­tant throt­tle re­sponse is as di­rect as press­ing the trig­ger and fir­ing a shot while you’re pushed back into the seat by the thrust of 560Nm of sand churn­ing torque. Out in the desert, the limited slip dif­fer­en­tial along­side lock­ing rear dif­fer­en­tial find an ally in the

NIS­SAN IS A BIG PLAYER IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD. EV­ERY FIFTH SUV WAS A NIS­SAN PA­TROL WITH IN­STANCES WHERE THE FRE­QUENCY OF SPOT­TING THE SUV WENT UP EVEN HIGHER

Ac­tive Brake Limited Slip tech­nol­ogy that uses the feed from the ABS to fur­ther en­hance trac­tion.

“Driv­ing on sand is just like surf­ing.” If these words from the in­struc­tor leave you per­plexed as they did so for me due to my knowl­edge of surf­ing amount­ing to zilch; the con­text to be de­rived was to flow with the sand as surfers do with an on­com­ing wave to ride it. A quick burst of power to climb the dune and de­cel­er­at­ing while steer­ing the SUV with the flow of the de­scend­ing sand. It's the com­bi­na­tion of driv­ing skills and the tech laden 4x4 sys­tem of the Pa­trol that will see you have fun while dune bash­ing rather than dig­ging it and your­self into trou­ble.

Apart from the Pa­trol, Nis­san sells a com­pact SUV called the Kicks in the Mid­dle-East­ern mar­kets. Come Jan­uary of 2019 and the Kicks brand will be­come an im­por­tant name for Nis­san to in­clude in their In­dian line-up of ve­hi­cles. How­ever, the Kicks seen here is com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the one that will make it to our shores. While In­dia will re­ceive a car that would be based on the man­u­fac­turer's B plat­form that un­der­pins the Ter­rano (and the Re­nault Duster, Cap­tur), the Kicks we were driv­ing was more ba­sic and a bit of an od­dball in its di­men­sions. Mea­sur­ing over 4.2 me­tres in length, it has a longer wheel­base than the Hyundai Creta but the body is shorter and nar­rower than the Maruti-Suzuki Vi­tara Brezza. In its ba­sic S trim, the Mid­dle-East­ern ver­sion of the car fea­tures a ba­sic stereo sys­tem, tilt and tele­scopic steer­ing ad­just­ment and a CVT gear­box that's

mated to a 1.6-litre, 118bhp en­gine. None­the­less, the Kicks that will be sold in In­dia will of­fer many more fea­tures and dif­fer­ent en­gine op­tions while of course be­ing a much larger car.

The two-wheel-drive, mid­dle east­ern Kicks is best kept on the road and with more dunes in sight, it was time to step back into the V8 beast that the Pa­trol is.

The Nis­san Pa­trol was con­ceived in the early ‘50s and over the years, it kept get­ting up­dated into this very form that it is in to­day. Un­for­tu­nately, our mar- ket con­di­tions, de­mands and tax­ing struc­ture would place the Pa­trol closer to the Toy­ota Land Cruiser and it's dop­pel­gänger, the Lexus LX570. Un­likely to be man­u­fac­tured or as­sem­bled in In­dia, the Pa­trol would have to bear the full brunt of the im­port du­ties as a CBU. Ad­di­tion­ally, both for­merly men­tioned brands en­joy a higher badge value than Nis­san, leav­ing the Pa­trol strug­gling in its path even be­fore its launch. Thus mak­ing its en­try into the In­dian mar­ket highly un­likely.

THE KICKS THAT WILL BE SOLD IN IN­DIA WILL OF­FER MANY MORE FEA­TURES AND DIF­FER­ENT EN­GINE OP­TIONS WHILE OF COURSE BE­ING A MUCH LARGER CAR THAN THE ONE WE DROVE IN DUBAI

Ab­hishek Ma­ha­p­a­tra, VP, head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions gives us a quick brief of Nis­san's SUV her­itage while also di­rect­ing guide­lines to tame any ex­ces­sive en­thu­si­asm of the bunch present at the do

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