Six years ago, Nissan, on the way to the Middle East and the US, dropped off a big brother to its Y61 Patrol large sports utility vehicle. The good news is the Y62 giant is still going; the bad news, there’s still no sign of a diesel option.
Capable of carrying up to eight occupants, at more than five metres long and almost two metres wide, the top-of-the-range Ti-L, at $89,880, plus on road costs, can count its closest rival as the Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200 GLX, although the Patrol is specced more like the Sahara at $115,230.
Able to take up to eight occupants – this is the most luxurious and sophisticated Nissan offered in Australia – major gains have been won in fuel efficiency, comfort, luxury, quality and technology, for a top-class drive on and off-road.
The 298 kW of power, put through the seven-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled, all mode 4WD system, all combined faultlessly to have the Patrol Ti-L test vehicle pushing on with little effort and a lot of composure, while keeping occupants in the comfort to which we could easily have become accustomed.
Finally, Nissan has upped the ante with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty on all new vehicles obtained by private buyers and includes complimentary roadside assistance during that time. The latest Patrol Ti-L (the test vehicle) is no exception to the rule.
The super-size Patrol Ti-L is no coupe clone, sticking to the traditional square corners of a large SUV. The uncluttered exterior suits the SUV’s intent down to the ground – a smart on-road presence with a no-nonsense capability off road.
Wheels follow suit with sensible 18-inch alloys rolling on tall 265/70 tyres, giving the ability to iron out surface defects on the bitumen.
Touted as having seating for eight in leather seats, the third row offered a tight fit for grown-ups. Up front is unashamed comfort with driver and front passenger positions having eight-way electric adjustment and heating / cooling. The driver’s seat also has memory pre-sets.
Even with the third row of seats occupied there is enough space (550 litres) to stow a full-size cooler in the load bay. The luggage space can be upped by folding the back row seat backs by the single tug on a strap and further increased to a cavernous 3100 litres-plus by flicking a switch which rolls up the middle row of seats to fit snugly against the backs of the front seats, leaving an almost flat floor.
There is a deep centre console cool box, a boon on hot summer holiday journeys, taking up space where you find an electric parking brake on many of the latest vehicles. Here instead is an olde worlde foot-operated pedal.
Features across the new Patrol range include Bluetooth hands-free phone, large format front DVD player, 2GB music server with six speakers, iPod connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, intelligent key access.
Surprisingly there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto access but there are dual 7-inch DVD screens in the rear of the front seat headrests to add further entertainment to travellers behind.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The new generation V8 engine delivers 298 kW of power and 560 Nm of torque, with 90 per cent of the latter on call from just 1600 rpm. Power is put to ground through an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated, electronically controlled, all mode 4×4 system.
Six airbags, including curtain bags covering all three seating rows, are fitted. Active safety features include active cruise control, forward alert, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning and a tyre pressure monitor.
This is enough to get the 3500 kg GVM hulk under way surprisingly sharpish and makes overtaking a breeze with the motor seemingly never in danger of running out of revs.
On test there were no surprises with fuel use: up to 18 litres per 100 kilometres consumed in stop / start city work, dropping to an impressively low of 10 litres per 100 on the open road. Note that the engine demands super unleaded 95RON, which is seldom discounted to any real level.
Suspension is now independent all round, live axles having been left behind with previous generations, at no detriment to off-road performance. With a default on-road program, a wheel on the centre console enables the driver to dial up driving modes to suit even tougher going – sand, rocks or snow.
Unfortunately, there is no knob to twiddle to make parking easy. At more than five metres long and close to two metres wide, this Patrol is pushing it when it comes to shopping centre parking.
The reversing camera, all-round parking alarms and around-view monitor go some way to easing entry, but once there, getting in and out of limited door openings can be a pain. There’s also the stress of avoiding chipping the paintwork of the expensive sedan in the neighbouring spot while opening the wide door.
With its 3500 kg of braked towing capacity, smooth acceleration, steering stability and assured handling the Patrol delivers a towing experience to match most challenges.
The Patrol Ti-L is for those to whom size matters: those who want a giant shopping trolley; expansive people mover; or sophisticated prime mover that can pull a big boat or float, without paying top dollar. Others need not apply.
AT A GLANCE
Nissan Patrol 5.6 Ti auto $72,880
Nissan Patrol 5.6 Ti-L auto $89,880
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.
(Patrol Ti-L 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine, automatic AWD SUV)
Capacity: 5552 cc
Configuration: 5.6-litre, V8, seven-speed automatic
Maximum Power: 298 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 560 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 14.5 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions 343 g / km
Drivetrain: 7-speed automatic with manual mode and adaptive shift control
Transfer case: All Mode 4×4 with electronic 4WD selection. Rear differential lock, rear limited-slip differential
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5140 mm
Width: 1995 mm
Height: 1940 mm
Wheelbase: 3075 mm
Gross vehicle mass: 3500 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 140 litres
Turning circle: 12.5 m
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres