nisan SUV Her­itage

Have you ever wanted to ex­plore a new city in a new coun­try with like-minded peo­ple in a con­voy of SUVs? Well, we did just that as part of the Nis­san SUV Her­itage drive in Dubai

Car India - - CONTENTS - Story: Har­ket Suchde Pho­tog­ra­phy: Nis­san In­dia

We go dune-bash­ing in Dubai and ex­plore Nis­san’s off-roader range

Along drive to the air­port, a quick flight, an even quicker lunch at the ho­tel, and I find my­self feel­ing the full blast of the af­ter­noon Dubai heat as I leave be­hind the tem­per­a­ture­con­trolled lobby and step out into the court­yard. An en­tire fleet of Nis­san’s SUVs were lined up, await­ing our plea­sure. The diminu­tive Kicks — com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the model that’s due to be launched here, mind — the Pathfinder, the X-Trail, and the mighty V8 Pa­trol all stood glis­ten­ing un­der the harsh mid-day sun. None of these all-road­ers make it to the Nis­san In­dia port­fo­lio, so it would be a novel ex­pe­ri­ence to drive them about in their left-hand-drive avatars in the City of Gold. Our des­ti­na­tion for the day was the dunes near the Bas­sata Camp at Ras Al-Khaimah, nearly 100 km each way.

I first got be­hind the wheel of the Pathfinder as we made our way out of Dubai and into the desert for some good ol’ dune-bash­ing. Driv­ing on the “wrong side” of the road took a lit­tle time to get used to, but soon enough I was in the groove of things. The Pathfinder is pow­ered by a tasty 3.5-litre V6 churn­ing out 271 PS and 340 Nm. The high­way was lined with speed-cams; so, of course, we stuck to the 120 km/h limit and didn’t stray be­yond. Nev­er­the­less, get­ting to that speed and hold­ing it was easy and fun in this com­pact seven-seater.

Now dune-bash­ing isn’t a unique ac­tiv­ity; in fact, it’s a sta­ple for tourists vis­it­ing this par­tic­u­lar jewel of the Mid­dle East. We were in for a bit of sur­prise when we saw a com­plete bat­tery of Pa­trols await­ing us as soon as we en­tered the desert. We were told that not only would we be driven around in the sand in these Pa­trols, we would also get to do a bit of dune-driv­ing our­selves. The full-sized SUV is pow­ered by a mam­moth 5.5-litre V8. That equates to 400 PS at 5,800 rpm and 560 Nm of twist at 4,000 revs. Tyres de­flated,

drive set to 4x4 and away we go! The meaty en­gine climbed the steeps and shal­lows of the dune-strewn desert as the con­voy made its way to big­ger and more sheer dunes. Here, the lo­cal Emi­rati dune ex­perts took over and we went along for a hair-rais­ing drive of slid­ing, climb­ing, and drift­ing in the sand.

Af­ter an ex­hil­a­rat­ing drive, it was back to the start point and into the smaller X-Trail this time. The 2.5-litre four wasn’t as po­tent as its big­ger si­b­lings but of­fered enough grunt to keep up with the pack none the less. We ar­rived at the ho­tel as dark­ness set in and, af­ter a quick din­ner, I gave in to the ex­er­tions of the day and hit the sack.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing, it was more driv­ing, this time in the ul­tra-com­pact Kicks. Driv­ing around in the city was fun in this car as it flowed through the traf­fic with ab­surd ease.

Our first des­ti­na­tion was the Dubai Frame. In­au­gu­rated as re­cently as Jan­uary this year, this is the largest photo frame in the world. This mon­u­ment is a golden, gleam­ing, and shin­ing ex­am­ple of Dubai’s thirst for ar­chi­tec­tural ex­cel­lence. Tow­er­ing 150 me­tres above us and span­ning 93 metr es across, the Frame is a marvel of hu­man in­ge­nu­ity . An el­e­va­tor takes you up 48 storeys in 75 sec­onds t o the up­per deck and the vie w from the top is ab­so­lutely mes­mer­iz­ing. A panoramic view of the glo­ri­ous Dubai sky­line and a trans­par­ent strip of floor give you car in­dia

a sense of won­der and ex­cite­ment.

Af­ter ex­plor­ing the Frame, it was back on the ground and into the cabin of the Pa­trol again, this time to see what it felt like to drive the V8 mon­ster within city lim­its. Af­ter a quick yet lux­u­ri­ous drive, com­fort­ably en­sconced in the leather seats, we ar­rived at the fa­mous Dubai Mall. We had come to this sec­ond largest mall in the world to grab a bite at a Lebanese restau­rant. The meal was sump­tu­ous, the cour­ses were al­most nev­erend­ing, and I was feel­ing contented as I made my way back to the park­ing lot and climbed be­hind the wheel of the Pa­trol for one last whirl back to the ho­tel.

The drive through Dubai was a fas­ci­nat­ing one and the ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing Nis­san SUV mod­els that aren’t avail­able back home was like fuel to my auto-en­thu­si­ast fire. The Ja­pa­nese mar­que is plan­ning a new of­fen­sive in the In­dian mar­ket and, apart from a be­spoke ver­sion of the Kicks (likely to be based on the Duster/Cap­tur plat­form), I, for one, hope that some of the other mod­els we drove in the Mid­dle East would also make it to our show­rooms in the fu­ture. For now, though, I can hold on to the plea­sur­able mem­o­ries of driv­ing them in one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing cities in the world to tide me over.

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