Large and imposing, Nissan Y62 series Patrol is comfortable on road or off.
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the new Nissan Patrol, with engine, safety, drive and verdict.
The latest Nissan Patrol was slated mainly for the Arab Emirates and the USA, but with the addition of right-hand drive, has made its way to Australia as well. Aimed at those looking for a luxurious people mover, but who may take it off-road from time to time it’s available only with a petrol engine - the preferred powerplant in the aforementioned countries due to the low cost of petrol there.
While this new Patrol is mechanically able to do serious bush bashing, who would want to subject the most luxurious and advanced Nissan 4WD to that sort of treatment? Its role is more likely to be towing the horse float, luxury caravan or big boat - anything up to 3.5 tonnes braked.
For those who do want to get down and dirty in the bush, Nissan Australia still sells its workhorse Y61 Patrol, including a turbo-diesel model with old-style live axles, alongside the new upmarket generation Y62.
Able to take up to eight occupants, the all-new Y62 series Nissan Patrol V8 showcases big improvements in fuel efficiency, comfort, luxury, quality and technology, for a top-class drive on and off-road.
The 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. Power is put to ground through an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated, electronically controlled, all-mode 4X4 system.
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, eight-way power assisted driver’s seat, a full complement of active and passive safety systems, drive computer, dual zone climate control, front, side and curtain airbags, active front headrests, and front and rear parking sensors with rear view camera.
The top-of-the-range Patrol Ti-L adds memory function for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and door mirrors; a deep centre-console cool box; a hard drive navigation system; premium Bose audio with 13 speakers, dual 7-inch DVD screens in the rear of the front seat headrests, Around View Monitor, intelligent cruise control, xenon projector headlamps with auto levelling and washers, puddle lamps and a power operated tailgate. A tyre pressure monitoring system is also added.
Nissan’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control on the suspensions of Ti and Ti-L models is aimed at reducing body roll on sealed surfaces, while maximising suspension travel in extreme off-road conditions.
Suspension is independent all round. While its default is to the on-road program, a wheel on the centre console enables the driver to dial up driving modes to suit 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 (all dimensions significantly eclipse its nearest rival), the Patrol is an unwelcome visitor to the average shopping centre parking space.
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 not chipping the paintwork of the vehicle in the neighbouring car while opening the wide door.
At the press of a button on the key fob the electrically operated rear cargo door opens high and wide for fuss-free loading.
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 substantially increased by folding the back row seat backs by the single tug on a strap.
A positively cavernous 3100 litres is available 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.
The maker tells us to expect fuel consumption in the combined city / highway cycle to be around 14.5 litres per 100 kilometres. The best we managed patrolling the urban jungle was on the high side of 16 litres per hundred kilometres.
Stuffed with expensive equipment, this huge Nissan Patrol Ti-L will set you back $113,900, plus on roads. Expensive for a Nissan, but a bargain compared with upwards of $170,000 for the lowest cost Range Rover Vogue we recently tested.
The all encompassing impression of driving a Nissan Patrol on the road is that of size. It’s a bulky vehicle and sits high -- the latter aspect making for excellent visibility, which is just as well because it seems to fill the traffic lanes.
Ride comfort is very good with bumps and dips well-damped even on rather rough and ready roads - which doesn’t necessarily mean those in the outback, as suburban streets seem to be getting worse by the day.
Handling is of secondary importance to comfort in the Nissan Patrol. While it’s competent at holding onto the road in bends, and there isn’t too much body roll, it’s obvious the big 4WD would rather travel in straight lines than around tight corners.
In a previous test we were able to do some serious off-road driving of the Patrol at the Mount Cotton driver training centre outside Brisbane. It’s impressive in the way its sheer bulk can tackle slippery surfaces, rocky outcrops and badly rutted tracks.
AT A GLANCE
Patrol ST-L 5.6-litre petrol five-door wagon: $82,200 (automatic)
Patrol Ti 5.6-litre petrol five-door wagon: $92,850 (automatic)
Patrol Ti-L 5.6-litre petrol five-door wagon: $113,900 (automatic)
Price: from $82,000
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Resale: 58 per cent (Source: Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 15,000km/6 months
Safety rating: three star (previous model)
Engine: 5.6-litre 32-valve DOHC direct-injection alloy V8, 298kW/560Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic; 4WD
Body: 5.1m (L); 2m (w); 1.9m (h)
Thirst: 14.5 1/100km, tank 140 litres, 95RON PULP; 343g/km CO2
Toyota LandCruiser 200
Price: from $77,49-$118,490
Engine: 195kW/650Nm 4.5-litre turbodiesel V8, 227kW/439Nm 4.6-litre petrol V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Thirst: 10.3-13.6l/100km, 91RON ULP, CO2 273-313g/km
Price: from $90,000-$128,800
Engine: 176kW/550Nm three-litre turbodiesel V6, 245kw/440Nm three-litre supercharged V6 petrol, 250kW/760Nm 4.2-litre turbodiesel V8
Transmission: six or eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Thirst: 9.1/10.7/9.9 l/100km, 239/249/262 gkm, tank 100 litres
Price: from $$99,400-$119,400
Engine: 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder, 190kW/620Nm three-litre turbodiesel V6, 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6, 300kW/600Nm 4.7-litre V8 petrol.
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive.
Thirst: 6.4-12.3 l/100km, 168-287 g/km CO2, tank 93 litres