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Nissan’s Patrol is facing an uphill battle against its long-time Toyota LandCruiser rival, and that’s even before the much-anticipated new-generation LC300 lands in local showrooms from December.
So far this year, Toyota has sold a staggering 12,470 units of the outgoing 200 Series LandCruiser as buyers rush to snap up the last of the V8-powered models, which represents a substantial 51.5 per cent jump in sales over the same period last year.
But the Patrol, which has found 2251 new homes to the end of August, has also increased its sales by 52.0 per cent this year, and the Nissan will have a few aces up its sleeve to combat the hot-selling Toyota, the first of which will be its price positioning.
Kicking off from $81,160 before on-road costs for the entry-level Ti, the Patrol is $8830 more affordable than the cheapest LandCruiser ($89,990 for the GX).
In fact, even the top-spec Patrol Ti-L is only $94,115, making it more affordable than all but the base LandCruiser grades.
For those that want to get into a large off-road SUV while keeping costs down – or simply want to leave room in the budget for accessories and modifications – the Nissan Patrol is no doubt a more attractive proposition.
For the money, Nissan’s Patrol comes with a 5.6-litre petrol V8, which outputs a healthy 298kW/560Nm to all four wheels via a seven-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission.
Want to go off-roading? There’s also a dual-range transfer case for that.
And despite the current sixth-generation Patrol debuting in 2010, the significantly facelifted model sports the latest in safety, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), forward collision warning and rear cross-traffic alert as standard.
Crucially though, the Toyota LandCruiser rival comes with diesel power, namely a 227kW/700Nm 3.3-litre turbo V6, which sends drive to a permanent four-wheel-drive system via a 10-speed automatic.
Being an all-new model, the LandCruiser also comes with an advanced safety suite, including AEB and rear cross-traffic alert, but adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and lane-keep assist as standard.
Another advantage for Nissan will be quicker delivery times, though don’t expect to head over to a showroom now to drive away in a Patrol.
Pent-up demand and low supply for the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series means wait times have blown out to up to four years for some variants, according to some reports.
Now, it’s important to understand that this isn’t all Toyotas fault, there is an ongoing global pandemic and semi-conductor shortage that is playing havoc with, well, everything, but its important to note that the long wait time might turn off some buyers.
And it’s not like there won’t be a waiting list for the Patrol either, though it was only at around six months the last time we checked.
However, for those looking to get out bush sooner rather than later, the Patrol seems like the better option over the LandCruiser.
Nissan’s final gambit is actually one of its worst-kept secrets, and that is the development of a new flagship Patrol variant under the watchful eye of local engineering firm Premcar.
Premcar has built a top-shelf vehicle for Nissan before in the form of the Navara Warrior, and looks to apply the same treatment to the Patrol SUV, which was hinted at all the way back in 2019.
Exactly when they will reveal this car is unknown, but it is likely before the end of the year for a 2022 market introduction – just in time to steal the limelight away from the soon-to-launch LandCruiser.
What exactly will stand the Patrol Warrior apart from the rest of the SUV range is unknown, but expect to see much of the same upgrades as seen in the Navara Warrior, meaning beefed-up underbody protection, all-terrain tyres, jacked-up suspension and a unique look.
Will all this be enough to steal sales away from the Toyota LandCruiser? Only time will tell, but Nissan is certainly putting a compelling case forward for its Patrol SUV.