SMALL CHANGE FOR BIG-MONEY PEOPLE MOVER

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It’s been a long journey for the Nissan Patrol since its inception, almost 70 years ago, taking it up to the big boys of the 4×4 market, especially the Toyota Land Cruiser. Now the rugged Nissan continues along the slip road to a quieter life with its MY20 model.

In 2013, the Patrol took on the role of a flagship with a big brother in the shape of ST-L, Ti and Ti-L variants. Last year, the ST-L was retired, leaving the two petrol-only options carrying the load.

For 2020, the remaining pair have been given a new look, plus a range of Nissan intelligent active safety features as standard equipment for an extra $3000 apiece, up to respective prices of $75,990 and $91,990, plus on-road costs.

Never one to aspire to the to the softer sports utility vehicle ethos, both the Nissan Ti (the test car) and Ti-L, have retained the robust tradition of the Patrol, that of a genuine off-roader / tough tow truck.

STYLING
A modern makeover front and back has given a sleeker look to both Ti and Ti-L, the former has gone sporty (sell sort-of sporty) up front, while the latter, through the bumper, takes on a premium character. Both feature new fender panels, front grille and LED lamps.

LED lights front and back have been brightened – 52 LEDs per headlight, plus LED foglamps, and a total of 44 out back. New boomerang shaped tail-lights and chrome nameplate are designed to improve visibility at night.

Eighteen-inch alloy wheels have also been updated and wrapped in tall 265 / 70 tyres, giving the ability to iron out surface defects on the bitumen.

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INTERIOR
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.

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 old-school foot-operated pedal.

INFOTAINMENT
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.

New to Patrol is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto access.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
A direct-injected, 5.6-litre, naturally aspirated alloy V8 petrol engine delivers 298 kW of power at 5800 rpm and 560 Nm of peak torque, the latter available from 1600 revs. It’s mated with a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode.

SAFETY
Both grades now include Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard.

While already standard on the Ti-L, the Ti has taken up Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Intervention, blind Spot Warning, plus Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Six airbags include curtain bags covering all three seating rows.

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DRIVING
The relatively new 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. This is enough to get the 3500 kg GVM hulk under way surprisingly sharpish and makes overtaking a breeze with the engine seemingly never in danger of running out of revs.

Power is put to ground through an advanced seven-speed automatic and a sophisticated, electronically controlled, all mode 4×4 system, with settings for Auto, 4H, 4L, diff lock and hill descent control.

The centre console mounted-control knob also incorporates Patrol’s terrain select system, featuring on road, snow, sand and rock settings for the serious off-road adventurer.

There were no surprises with the heavyweight’s fuel consumption which averaged 16 litres per 100 kilometres while cruising and topped 20 litres per hundred in heavy city going.

Owners can expect a more comfortable drive than previously thanks to a suspension retuning with improved dampers that have been enhanced to provide more dampening at a higher piston speed. This gives better on-road ride comfort.

At the press of a button on the key fob the electrically operated rear cargo door opens high and wide for fuss-free loading? Sorry, that’s reserved for the Ti-L toffs. Ti troops are called on to become weightlifters, wrestling with a tailgate that provides uncharacteristic opposition to being opened (or closed).

However, there’s still 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.

Thankfully for test car occupants, Patrol’s air-conditioning system had been upgraded, providing improved airflow, especially for rear passengers. Those seated in the front could not help but notice improved climate control with increased air flow for faster cooling.

With winter in mind, we are told, a larger heating map built inside the seat offers better heating performance.

SUMMING UP
Do the maths. Buying the MY20 Patrol Ti is between whether it’s worth the added $3000 cost for this year’s new look and upped active safety.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Nissan Patrol Ti 5.6 automatic $75,990
Nissan Patrol Ti-L 5.6 automatic $91,990
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan Patrol Ti 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

DRIVELINE:
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

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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