Nissan has replaced the 'old skool' live axles with an independent double wishbone suspension. Photo Gallery
The Nissan Patrol will continue with aging diesel engine.
Nissan is covering its tail by continuing to offer the ancient Y61 diesel Patrol for the time being alongside Y62. Presumably that will be until there's so much pressure from Patrol buyers for a new diesel that Nissan finds one from somewhere. It's been 14 years since the previous model was introduced - a long time and the result has been two pronged - considerable pent-up demand for a new Patrol from existing owners and a sales haemorrhage to other makes.
But the new (7-8 seat) model will have appeal in the luxury end of the market up against Toyota's formidable Landcruiser. New Patrol comes in three grades, ST-L, Ti and Ti-L priced at $82,200, $92,800 and $113,900 in ascending order.
All share the same powertrain which consists of a 5.6-litre, V8 petrol engine (basis of the new Nissan V8 Supercar donk), a seven-speed conventional automatic transmission and Nissan's clever All-Mode 4x4 system with 4H and 4L incorporating Sand, Rock, Snow and On-road modes. There's a rear diff' lock and the vehicle scores hill start assist and hill descent control.
Everything is selected from a dial on the dash. The engine is good for 298kW/560Nm thanks to direct fuel injection and variable valve timing and lift on the inlet side. It gives fuel economy benefits and a claimed 14.5-litres/100km on premium. That's much better than the earlier 4.8-litre petrol six in the Y61 model which drank prodigiously.
Something that will be liked or loathed by new Patrol owners is the all independent double wishbone suspension that replaces the 'old skool' live axles. Traditionally, the latter is preferred in arduous off-road driving because live axles lift the vehicle up out of a hole or over a rock whereas independent suspension sees the wheel disappear into the wheel well with the body hitting the dirt.
On the two high grade Patrols, there's a clever new suspension featuring adaptive dampers that act to prevent body roll in cornering and also to maintain clearance off road. It's called Hydraulic Body Motion Control. Driver assist technologies are available on the higher spec' models such as Blind Spot Warning and Lane Assist among others. A body on chassis design is retained.
The body (on chassis) is larger than before with styling that you either like or not. We fall into the latter category suggesting that the front looks too much like a Pathfinder and the overall look is bland and uninspiring. Inside are three seat rows with plenty of room for all passengers and an esky down the back with the third in place.
The Y62 Patrol has been around for some time already in Arab countries and features a raft of goodies designed to cater for those looking to be pampered.
Standard kit includes Bluetooth phone, a DVD player (two in the higher range models), two gig music register, multiple steering wheel controls, intelligent key access, dual zone climate control, rear view camera, front and rear park assist, drive computer and an eight way power adjust driver's seat. Ti and Ti-L get more.
New Patrol has a 140 litre fuel tank and can tow 3500kg braked. Some local development work went into the design effort which sees low levels of noise inside the cabin and a single lift up tailgate among other refinements.
We'll take it into the bush before forming any conclusions. It would have been a better proposition from our point of view with a new, high-tech 3.0-litre turbodiesel six under the bonnet. There's one in the Pathfinder.