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Nissan Patrol 2020 review: Ti off-road

The Nissan Patrol has long been considered a real adventure machine, a large 4WD wagon with a rock-solid rep, and the capability to tackle tough terrain.

It had been in a long-time tussle with the Toyota LandCruiser for large SUV supremacy in Australia’s – but that all changed when the Nissan became a petrol-only proposition with all-round independent suspension and a posh interior. It has since lost a bit of credibility as a tourer and it has also lost a chunk of ground in terms of sales.

The Nissan Patrol has a solid rep as a very capable and comfortable adventure touring wagon. The Nissan Patrol has a solid rep as a very capable and comfortable adventure touring wagon.

But the Patrol is still selling – and for a big, expensive, petrol 4WD that’s quite an achievement in this day and age.

Well, this is the new Patrol, facelifted for 2020 and beyond. It has a freshened-up appearance, new safety tech (including AEB) and it also has a heftier price-tag than its predecessor.

So, is the new Patrol worth your money? Read on.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Nissan Patrol Ti, the entry-level Patrol in a two-variant range, has a list price of $75,990 (plus on-road costs). The base Patrol is now $3110 more expensive than it was before.

The Ti we tested had a tow kit fitted ($1375, dealer fitted) and premium paint (Hermosa Blue, $595), bringing its price as tested to $77,960 (plus ORCs).

The Patrol has a 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, full-time 4WD system, selectable off-road modes and a rear diff lock.

The new Patrol, facelifted for 2020 and beyond. The new Patrol, facelifted for 2020 and beyond.

It has an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit, steering-wheel-mounted controls for pretty much everything.

It has a new-looking front – with revised grille and bonnet – and a new back end. 

It also has LEDs galore in its head-lights and tail-lights, and newly designed 18-inch wheels. (There are apparently 52 LEDs in the headlights and 44 in the tail-lights – suffice to say, I didn’t bother counting them.)

As mentioned, our tester’s exterior has a premium paint (Hermosa Blue) – other colours include Brilliant Silver, Black Obsidian, Gun Metallic, Galaxy Gold and Moonstone White.

The exterior of this patrol has a premium paint, Hermosa Blue. The exterior of this patrol has a premium paint, Hermosa Blue.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

I’m not going to beat around the bush: the Patrol is a big beast of a thing – it looks huge – but it wears its size well and looks good with it.  

This beefy wagon is 5175mm long (with a 3075mm wheelbase), 1995mm wide, 1940mm high and it weighs 2812kg. It’s long, wider and heavier than the LandCruiser 200 Series but it’s marginally shorter (30mm, in fact).

It takes up plenty of real estate, when stationary, and it looks even more impressive when it’s rumbling along the road – like an armoured mini-bus – and I mean that in a good way.

The Patrol is a big beast of a thing. The Patrol is a big beast of a thing.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Patrol has a 5.6-litre V8 engine producing 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm, big numbers you’d expect out of a big power plant.

The seven-speed auto with manual mode and adaptive shift control – whatever that is – and this is a great driving transmission, very cluey.

The Patrol has a 5.6-litre V8 engine. The Patrol has a 5.6-litre V8 engine.

How practical is the space inside?

Nissan claims that cargo space is 467.7 litres in the boot (with second and third row upright), 1413.4 litres (with third row folded flat); and 2623.2 litres (with second and third rows folded flat). That’s a lot of room but remember those seats don’t fold flat or entirely out of the way, so practical packing space is impacted.

The boot space has cargo hooks and a 12V socket, as well as tyre-changing tools under the floor. (The full-sized spare tyre is underslung at the rear.)

  • Nissan claims cargo space is 467.7 litres in the boot with second and third row upright. Nissan claims cargo space is 467.7 litres in the boot with second and third row upright.
  • 2623.2 litres with second and third rows folded flat. 2623.2 litres with second and third rows folded flat.
  • 1413.4 litres with third row folded flat. 1413.4 litres with third row folded flat.
  • There's a lot of room but remember seats don’t fold entirely out of the way. There's a lot of room but remember seats don’t fold entirely out of the way.

The third row has one top tether anchorage point. It’s pretty ordinary back here – the seats are flat and unsupportive – and it’s very squashed.

All three rows get aircon – there are roof-mounted vents – and there are a few handy storage spaces in the third row, but no cup-holders. 

The third row has flat and unsupportive seats. The third row has flat and unsupportive seats.

The second-row seats have a top tether point and an ISOFIX point on both of the outer seats.

And it’s very comfortable: there's generally plenty of space in such a cavernous cabin and when I sat behind my driving position there was ample leg room.

The second-row seats have a top tether point and an ISOFIX point on both of the outer seats. The second-row seats have a top tether point and an ISOFIX point on both of the outer seats.

There are cup holders in the fold-down armrest as well as controls for the aircon on the back of the up-front storage bin.

Up front, it’s a well-appointed interior – there’s leather everywhere, as well as soft-touch, padded and durable surfaces. 

Fit and finish is very impressive and it’s all rather stylish if your idea of style is your grandad’s 1970’s pool room. Lucky for me, I reckon that’s true style.

Fit and finish is very impressive. Fit and finish is very impressive.

The dash is like an aircraft cockpit – it’s a confusion of dials, knobs and switches – and it takes awhile to work it all out.  

There’s that 8.0-inch touchscreen I mentioned earlier, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted everything, eight-way power-adjustable seats, and more. There are enough USB points to keep phones and tablets charged and ready. 

Featuring a 8.0-inch touchscreen. Featuring a 8.0-inch touchscreen.

As well as being a real premium space, the cabin has a practical feel about it: there are plenty of storage spaces, which is not a surprise because there’s a heap of room, and it’s functional and comfortable.

What's it like as a daily driver?

On-road, the Patrol is surprisingly nimble for such a big beast.

It’s so tightly controlled, it carries its weight very well and never ever feels like a bus to drive as you might be forgiven for expecting because of its size. Driving it takes a little getting used to, but you then settle into a Patrol state of mind fairly quickly.

Steering is sharp and precise for such a bloated vehicle.

Steering is sharp and precise for such a bloated vehicle. Steering is sharp and precise for such a bloated vehicle.

It’s quiet – with only that V8 growl and even it’s welcome soundtrack to your drive.

Acceleration is race-fast from a standing start and when you want to overtake there’s plenty of surge on tap.

The seven-speed auto is top-notch with smooth and intuitive shifts up and down, right when you need them, never intrusive and never clever.

Retuned suspension with improved dampers keeps the big wagon’s movements subdued, making it very comfortable at low and high speeds.

There’s very little body-roll for something so massive. There’s very little body-roll for something so massive.

There’s very little body-roll for something so massive – and the Patrol’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control, a system of hydraulic cylinders cross-linked between wheels, which acts as a stabiliser, is partly to thank for that.

On-road, its levels of performance and refinement are great.

Note: It does have a foot-release park brake so you’ll feel like you’re performing in Riverdance every time you engage and disengage that.

What's it like for touring?

Off-road, it is very capable.

The Patrol rides and handles well on dirt tracks, but it feels even more like it finds its happy place in the bush than it ever does on the gravel or bitumen.

It has three modes in its 4X4 system – Auto (AWD) for general driving, 4H for light-duty 4WDing, or 4L for low-speed more challenging 4WDing. All are selectable via a dial near the auto shifter.

The Patrol has three modes in its 4X4 system. The Patrol has three modes in its 4X4 system.

Patrol’s terrain mode select has four settings: On Road, Sand, Snow, Rock. Each mode modifies throttle input, torque, gear changes and the traction control systems, among other things, to best suit the terrain.

There’s plenty of low-end torque for consistently smooth low-speed 4WDing and the big petrol V8 keeps things ticking along nicely. 

The Patrol has plenty of wheel travel, plenty of flex, so that helps it get a tyre to the dirt when you need it to, for all-important traction.

The Patrol has plenty of wheel travel and plenty of flex. The Patrol has plenty of wheel travel and plenty of flex.

Speaking of traction – the Patrol’s traction control system is really well dialled into whatever terrain you’re driving on: it only ever chips in when needed and it’s never abrupt or overly aggressive.

No need to worry about off-road measures either because while the Patrol looks low and ponderous, it has 273mm of ground clearance, and approach, rampover and departure angles of 34.4 degrees, 24.4 degrees and 26.3 degrees respectively.

Its wading depth is 700mm but we never came close to challenging that because the creeks on the NSW property we visited were low.

It also feels surprisingly manoeuvrable and though its turning circle is 12.5m, it still feels easy enough to steer around a property full of hidden challenges and obstacles.

The patrol's wading depth is 700mm. The patrol's wading depth is 700mm.

The Patrol has a tall, upright cabin offering ample all-round visibility, however, the large bonnet does impact your vision to the front of the vehicle, especially when driving over a steep crest into a dry creek bed. Best to get out and look.

The Patrol’s around-view monitor with moving-object detection also comes in pretty handy, giving the driver a broader view of what the terrain looks like around the vehicle, via four cameras. It disengages at 8km/h but up to that speed you’re able to switch between several views (front, 360 bird’s eye view, rear). Word of warning though: don’t rely on this monitor when you’re low-speed 4WDing. Look around at the real world, outside the vehicle, rather than concentrating an the on-screen depiction of it – you’ll see more in terms of obstacles, moving objects etc.

I also field-tested the Patrol’s brakes heavily on two separate occasions – one of those was a real emergency-braking scenario – and both times its ventilated disc show-stoppers hauled the almost-3000kg wagon to a sharp, controlled halt.

The Patrol Ti has a payload of 688kg, an unbraked towing capacity of 750kg and a braked towing capacity of 3500kg. It’s long, wide and weighty and has ample grunt so it makes a great towing platform.

All in all, the Patrol is a smooth and effective blend of 4WD mechanicals and driver-assist aids.

How much fuel does it consume?

Fuel consumption is a claimed 14.4L/100km on a combined cycle. The Patrol has a 140-litre fuel tank, so the fuel-consumption figure would give you a theoretical driving range of more than 900km.

It was showing 17.5L/100km on our driver display when we drove it, but after more than 150km, including plenty of low-range 4WDing, we calculated a whopping 22.9L/100km.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 14.4L/100km on a combined cycle. Fuel consumption is a claimed 14.4L/100km on a combined cycle.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Nissan Patrol Ti is a massive adventure machine, packed with features.

It drives surprisingly well in all situations for something so big – and it’s very comfortable on-road and very capable off-road.

Sure, you do get a solid kick in the guts every time you fill the fuel tank, but the cash you saved buying a Patrol and not a more expensive LandCruiser will likely balance that out.

If you want even more Patrol, the top-spec Ti-L ($91,990 plus on-road costs) gets second-row entertainment screens, driver-seat and mirror memory, a Bose sound system, a sunroof, roof-rails, and heated/cooled front seats – but I reckon the Ti is plenty good enough.

The Patrol is not perfect – yep, the fuel bill, plus that third row is very squeezy and the Patrol needs a decent set of all-terrain tyres – but it’s right up there in terms of functional space, features, performance and capability.

$75,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.9/5

Adventure score

3.9/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'