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
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.