Nissan has given its two-model Patrol range a little pep both inside and out. Little things, mind, but considered approaches to keep its largest SUV positioned as a value proposition. And let’s not forget fun.
With this Nissan Patrol, big is definitely better. The Patrol is a hard vehicle to miss, as much for its presence as its size. Nissan has updated this loveable beast with a new bumper and grille pairing as well as revised triangular foglight housings and distinguishing 18-inch alloys.
The look is bold and brassy with slightly softened edges to appeal to the townsfolk. The Patrol announces itself with ease – at 5.1m long and 2.0m wide it has that luxury – although the front end is a touch more fashionable than a flat rear marked by a rather interesting light combination.
The Patrol’s size translates into one of the roomiest cabins we have seen for a while with oodles of head and leg room for all passengers, even if those in the third row may need to be slighter in stature.
You will have to use the sidesteps to enter and exit but it is easily done and adds to the experience. Lodgings for those in the front seats are most comfortable of course, thanks to good support, easily adjustable pews and great storage options.
The interior is more subdued than you would expect despite a good standard of fixtures and finishing. It wouldn’t hurt if the 8.0-inch colour touchscreen was a bit bigger, if there were fewer buttons and dials and if the instrument display was jazzed up a bit. A digital speedo wouldn’t go astray either.
Still, the Patrol makes up for that with other efficiencies, with its generous inclusions and boot space that proves very useful even with all three rows in use.
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 storage room. The second row, too, can be folded if you need to haul large items but doesn’t fold flush so keep that in mind. There are two IsoFix fastenings and top tethers in the outboard seats of the second row and one in the third.
We liked that the storage bin in the centre console can be accessed by passengers in the second row, that there are roof mounted air vents and cleverly thought out spaces for water bottles, bags and all those essentials we don’t seem to be able to live without these days.
Our entry-mode Patrol Ti came superbly equipped with keyless entry, eight-way powered seats, sunroof, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers as well as tri-zone climate control, sat-nav, sidesteps and a six-speaker sound system with CD player (yes, really).
The Patrol Ti gets an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with an infotainment system that has been upgraded to be much more intuitive. It is responsive and simple to operate working through the menu in logical fashion but to be honest it could be a little trendier in looks and design.
Bluetooth connectivity is great as is the 9Gb hard-drive, accessible USB charging ports and four 12V outlets. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto though, which some drivers may miss.
Patrol Ti-L gets two 8.0-inch DVD screens in the second row which is an advantage with children and long trips.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
This Nissan Patrol comes only with a 5.6-litre V8 engine only. It is, however, a thing of beauty from its perfectly pitched song to the 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque at its call.
A smooth seven-speed automatic transmission completes the pairing and can be relied upon for a near seamless performance.
The Patrol Ti is equipped with front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger with curtain airbags to all three rows.
Driver aids include blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic assist as well as an Around View Monitor which allows you to see, well, all around the vehicle.
You will have to hand over more cash for the Ti-L if you would like features like Blind Spot Intervention, Forward Collision Warning, Distance Control Assist or the cool new review mirror that allows you to see “through” the rear seat passengers.
The Patrol has not yet received a rating from ANCAP.
Hold on to your breeches because that V8 unit moves the Patrol along in ridiculously exciting fashion. Despite its size and 2.7-tonne weight, this is a very easy drive, more than that, it is fun. The high ride is great for forward and side visibility with the Patrol easy enough to manoeuvre in the city or on the open road.
Yes, ok, multi-level carparks are not your friend and you have to show some caution when negotiating tight roundabouts but that’s a compromise I can live with.
The Patrol is a willing participant, and with that lusty V8 and 90 per cent of peak torque available from 1600rpm, you will rarely finding it wanting whether it’s taking from the lights or hustling along on the motorway. The brakes are excellent, hardly drawing a sweat in pulling the Patrol up quickly which gives you the confidence to be a little more adventurous.
Settle in for longer trips or short with the Patrol easing its way quietly over most surfaces, even surprise potholes and rain ruffled roads having little effect on overall comfort. That is thanks to the Patrol’s independent suspension and Hydraulic Body Motion Control system which works by adding pressure to the corner of the car that most needs it, minimising body roll when cornering and offering up a smoother, quieter ride.
An automatic four-wheel-drive system engages all four wheels when needed, but for the most part, the Patrol is driven by the rear wheels. There is permanent 4WD, low-gearing and a diff lock for off-road forays and you can also use the easy dial to choose from snow, rock or sand surfaces.
Perhaps the only downer for the Patrol is its great thirst for the premium petrol. Official figures of 14L/100km are nigh on impossible to replicate in the real world with our week hovering closer to 18L/100km. A large 140-litre tank helps to some degree but that is $200 a pop to fill it.
Nissan offers the Patrol with a 3 years/100,000km warranty with servicing at six months or 10,000km. The Servicing Certainty program offers capped-price servicing for the first 60,000km averaging $608 per visit.
We super-loved our week in the Patrol. It is comfortable and easy to drive and has the space and off-road nous that many families need. True, it is hardly the environmental poster-child but it is great fun and a disruptor for the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Discovery. Well, it should be.
Nissan Patrol Ti pricing and specifications:
Price: from $71,990 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 5.6-litre V8 petrol
Output: 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed auto, 4WD
Fuel: 14.4L/100km (ADR Combined)Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Safety Rating: No ANCAP rating yet
What we liked:
What we didn’t:
Thirsty on fuel