The Nissan Patrol has a long-time reputation as a nice-driving large 4WD wagon with real off-road capability and a proven track record as a great towing platform.
And current-generation Y62 Patrols, powered by a 5.6-litre petrol V8, are selling like motorised hotcakes.
With Y63 Patrols expected here in 2024 and tipped to be powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6, do current-generation Patrols, now with mild design tweaks, represent your last chance to buy a brand-new petrol V8 4WD wagon?
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
Our test vehicle, the Ti, is the entry-level variant in a two-Patrol range. This eight-seater has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $82,160 (plus on-road costs), but our Patrol also had metallic paint, which adds $650 to the price, bringing this vehicle’s ‘price as tested’ to $82,810. That price-tag is climbing up there, but the Patrol packs a fair amount of standard features into the mix and it’s still good value for money when compared to a rival like the 300 Series Toyota LandCruiser.
18 inch alloy wheels. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The Patrol’s standard features list is as large as the Patrol itself and includes an 8.0-inch multimedia display with sat nav, Bluetooth for hands-free phone use, power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, side steps, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
There’s no getting around its size – 5175mm long (with a 3075mm wheelbase), 1995mm wide, and 1940mm high – but the Patrol wears its considerable dimensions well.
In terms of styling, it's had a mild redesign – the front grill looks good with the new NASA-style badge – and the air vents either side are sleeker than before – but this is a big unit and its blockiness may not be to everyone’s liking.
As always, I’m not your life coach so make up your own mind.
the front grill looks good with the new NASA-style badge. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
The Patrol has a 5.6-litre petrol V8, which produces 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm, and it has a seven-speed automatic transmission, a full-time 4WD system, selectable off-road modes (sand, snow, rock), and a rear diff lock.
The V8 has plenty of grunt, the auto is mostly cluey and, all in all, the Patrol is a great driving vehicle.
The Patrol has a 5.6-litre petrol V8, which produces 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
How practical is the space inside?
The interior certainly feels comfortable, spacious and real-life friendly, even if it all feels like it’s been brought here from the 1970s via a time-machine.
Upfront, there’s an abundance of glossy woodgrain-look panelling and expanses of soft-touch surfaces, and it all has the feel of a throwback to the disco era, but I reckon it all comes together; it’s a nice premium space with plenty of practicality about it.
The interior certainly feels comfortable, spacious and real-life friendly. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
There are a heap of the usual storage spaces for driver and front passenger – glove box, cup holders, bottle holders in the doors etc – but there are also a few concealed spaces (with pop-up lids) for keys, phone and your bits and pieces.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen is too small and it tends to be a bit muddy looking when you're viewing the reversing camera image or while you're trying to operate apps on that screen.
As mentioned, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – which is a real letdown in this day and age – and I struggled a bit with Bluetooth connectivity with my phone, but that might just be me, luddite that I am.
The centre console is a confusion of buttons, dials and knobs – and if you haven’t spent much time in a Patrol then it's not quite clear what you should be pressing or twirling to operate things, but if you’re familiar with a Patrol’s in-cabin machinations then it’s easy enough to navigate your way around the controls.
The second-row seats have a top tether point and an ISOFIX point on both of the outer seats. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
Second-row passengers get very comfortable seats, as well as two USB charge points, and temperature and fan controls in the back of the centre console. Those in this row also have sneaky access to the back of the centre console.
There are cup holders in the fold-down armrest, and map pockets in the seat backs and bottle holders in the doors.
The second-row seats have a top tether point and an ISOFIX point on both of the outer seats.
The third-row seats are flat and hard compared to the other seats and, in terms of space, are really only for kids, or adults for very brief stints.
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 seats are flat and hard compared to the other seats and, in terms of space, are really only for kids, or adults for very brief stints. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The third row has one top tether anchorage point.
The rear boot area has cargo tie-down points and a 12V socket, as well as tyre-changing tools under the floor. The full-sized spare tyre is underslung at the rear.
The Patrol has a great reputation as a touring vehicle and in terms of packability, nothing has changed.
(Image: Glen Sullivan).
(Image: Glen Sullivan).
(Image: Glen Sullivan).
Cargo space in the boot 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 plenty of useable room but those seats don’t fold flat or entirely out of the way, so practical packing space is impacted.
What's it like as a daily driver?
If you’re unfamiliar with large 4WD wagons then you’d be forgiven for assuming that driving the Patrol might feel like driving a 2715kg couch on wheels along the road.
Well, it doesn’t.
Sure, this is a big vehicle with a turning circle of 12.5m, but the steering remains adequately precise, albeit quite light in hand, with a noticeable looseness to it – perhaps exhibiting a bit too much play to it, for my liking.
But while steering is not quite as on-point as I might like it, the rest of the package is impressive. The big petrol V8 is unreal: there’s so much grunt on tap – making for a lively on-road drive – and all the while the rumble of that 5.6-litre donk, especially under right-right-foot pressure, delivers a welcome soundtrack to your day.
Throttle response is sharp as long as you’re energetic with it, and the auto transmission is generally pretty cluey; it can get caught out up hills, holding higher gears for too long, but otherwise it's okay.
Throttle response is sharp as long as you’re energetic with it. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The Patrol’s suspension is mostly well sorted out – it’s quite firm actually. It has independent suspension – double wishbones and coil springs at every corner – as well as the Patrol’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, a network of hydraulic cylinders cross-linked between wheels, which works like a swaybar/swaybar disconnect. It automatically tightens up on road to keep the Patrol more controlled on firmer surfaces, such as blacktop, and then it loosens up, allowing for more flex in the suspension, when you’re 4WDing – but more about that later.
It’s also quiet inside with any noise from the outside kept to a low-level background hum.
The Patrol is not perfect on-road, but it is very comfortable and exhibits high levels of performance and refinement.
Any concerns you think you may have about it – it’s big, it's cumbersome, it drinks a lot of petrol – I reckon those will rapidly be dispelled when you get a chance to drive it, because once you experience the Patrol’s big torquey V8, you'll forget all of those things. And they’re non-issues anyway, once you become more familiar with driving this large SUV.
What's it like for touring?
One word: great.
Ride and handling are nicely controlled along dirt tracks, and the Patrol retains a stable and assured on-track stance that really lends itself to having a sure-footed driving-feel off-road, and it feels right at home 4WDing in the bush.
And when you get stuck into low-speed, low-range off-roading that's when this large Nissan finds its happy place.
Ride and handling are nicely controlled along dirt tracks. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The Patrol has an upright cabin, which offers plenty of all-round visibility, but the expansive bonnet impacts the driver’s vision to the front of the vehicle, especially when driving over a steep crest into a dry creek bed. As always, when faced with such a situation it’s best to get out of the vehicle and actually take a look.
It has high- and low-range 4WD and, while it doesn't have the low-down torque of something like the 300 Series, it has plenty of grunt when it counts. There’s ample torque for smooth-momentum low-speed 4WDing and the big petrol V8 keeps things ticking along without any stress. No doubt about it, the Patrol is right at home when 4x4ing.
The Patrol has three driving 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. Patrol’s terrain mode select has four settings: On Road, Sand, Snow, and Rock. Each mode adjusts throttle input, torque, gear changes and the traction control systems, among other things, to best suit the terrain. Unfortunately, there’s no Mud mode.
Off-road driver-assist tech (hill descent control, hill start assist etc) is non-intrusive and effective. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The Patrol has plenty of wheel travel helped somewhat by that aforementioned swaybar-disconnect system, and that articulation helps it stretch a tyre to the dirt for all-important traction.
Off-road driver-assist tech (hill descent control, hill start assist etc) is non-intrusive and effective.
The Patrol’s around-view monitor with moving-object detection is a handy addition, because it gives the driver a better idea of what the terrain looks like around the vehicle, via four cameras, especially of areas you may not be able to see clearly, or at all, from the driver’s seat. This system disengages at 8km/h, but up to that speed you’re able to switch between a few perspectives (front, 360 bird’s eye view, and rear). Don’t rely only on this system though; look around at the real world, get out of the vehicle and walk the track, rather than concentrating on the screen – that way you’ll see more in terms of obstacles, potential hazards etc.
Wading depth is listed as 700mm and, while we didn’t get close to testing those limits, we drove through at least one mudhole which revealed itself to be a bit deeper than expected.
Wading depth is listed as 700mm. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
Now for a few niggles of mine.
This is a big vehicle and it doesn't feel quite as nimble as some other large SUV wagons do. It can at times feel like you’re trying to manoeuvre a mini-bus between trees but that’s a sensation you can swiftly overcome with careful, considered driving – something you have to do a lot of in the Patrol.
It also looks quite low when traversing challenging terrain and it certainly feels that way when you’re driving it. For the record, it has 273mm* of ground clearance, and approach, rampover and departure angles are 34.4 degrees, 24.4 degrees and 26.3 degrees respectively. So, those measurements are par for the course when you’re talking about a large 4WD wagon, but that feeling of being vulnerable to underbelly scrapes and knocks lingers. Again, slow, steady and careful driving can help to avoid any unnecessary minor, or major, damage. (*The 300 Series has 235mm of ground clearance.)
Side steps on any large SUV are handy for driver/passenger ingress and egress but they jut out from the vehicle's body and when 4x4ing, the driver has to make sure that they don't grind those side steps while driving over the crest of rock steps or things like that – don’t use them as improvised rock sliders, which they are certainly not.
The Patrol’s tyres – Bridgestone Dueler 693II all-terrains (265/70R18) – are perfectly reasonable on-road, but really aren't that well-suited to hard-core 4x4ing and their off-road weakness were exposed through sloppy mud, and other surfaces of compromised traction. But, as always with less-than-ideal off-roading rubber, it’s an easy fix: simply replace the standard tyres with a set of decent, more aggressive all-terrains and you've instantly made your Patrol an even 4WD than it already is as standard.
Unbraked towing capacity is 750kg and it's braked towing capacity is 3500kg. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
Now, chances are, if you’re considering a Patrol as your next large SUV, then you tow stuff – boats, camper-trailers, caravans, horse trailers – so you’ll likely already know that its unbraked towing capacity is 750kg and it's braked towing capacity is 3500kg.
It has a listed payload of 688kg and the vehicle itself is long, wide and weighty and has ample grunt so it makes an appealing towing platform.
Another great thing about the Patrol is that, as well as there plenty of genuine Nissan products available, there is also a stack of add-on gear (lights, bullbars, storage platforms, awnings etc) available via Australia’s well-respected aftermarket industry (ARB, Ironman 4x4, et al).
How much fuel does it consume?
Official fuel consumption is 14.4L/100km on a combined cycle.
Our driver-info dash display was showing 19.2L/100km, but we recorded actual fuel consumption, fill to fill, of 22.9L/100km, but we did a lot of low-range 4WDing … and I may have been going pretty heavy with my right foot through some of the mudholes we encountered – for research purpose, of course.
The Patrol has a 140-litre fuel tank, so going by that on-test fuel-consumption figure you could reasonably expect a driving range of about 560km on a full tank – and that’s factoring in a safe-distance buffer of 50km.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
The Patrol does not have an ANCAP safety rating because it has not been tested.
In a world where we’re all barrelling towards an EV future, it seems to make little sense to buy a petrol V8 4WD wagon. And yet this Patrol makes a lot of sense.
In fact, the more I drive the Patrol, the more I like it.
It’s a very decent all rounder: comfortable on road, very capable off-road and, while not as ultimately refined as some of its rivals, it’s still commendably quiet and nice to drive.
The Patrol has consistently proven itself to be a solid tourer and as a tow vehicle it has few serious rivals in the realm of large 4WD wagons.
The standard features list is decent, that V8 engine is unreal – in a good way – and the Ti spec Patrol offers a nice mix of practical and premium.
Sure, you have to prepare yourself for some substantial fuel bills, the interior is a 1970s throwback, it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and it doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating but, for many fans of this model, those are small prices to pay for the overall V8 Patrol experience.
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.