Nissan Patrol is one of the best-known and longest established nameplates on the Australian 4WD scene having been on sale here for almost 50 years.
As popular as Patrol is in Australia we are well down the pecking order compared to the Middle East, Russian and USA markets and this led to a delay of around three years in the arrival of the latest, sixth generation, Y62 Patrol here with left-hand drive models taking precedence on the production line.
Explore the 2013 Nissan Patrol Range
Likewise, engine preferences from the same overseas markets led to the decision to only produce the new Patrol with a 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine. With prices of the Y62 Patrol starting at $82,200 and without a diesel option Nissan Australia has had little choice but to continue selling the previous fifth generation Y61 Patrol, with its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and $50,000 - $60,000 price tag, alongside the new Y62.
Although it is capable of handling serious off-road conditions the new Patrol Y62 is aimed fairly and squarely at the upper luxury SUV market. Its 3500kg towing capacity is far more likely to be employed towing a horse float or a luxury cruiser around town than working on the farm.
Nissan has so far resisted the temptation to badge the Patrol under its own, Inifiniti, luxury brand although it does so in its North American markets. Patrol Y62 is offered in three grades. The entry-level ST-L and mid-spec Ti are each eight-seaters while the flagship Ti-L is a seven-seater with increased comfort levels.
The big V8 engine delivers 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque, 90 per cent of which is available from just 1600 rpm. With that much grunt the new Patrol can make the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 6.6 seconds. Fuel consumption is listed at 14.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle using 95RON unleaded. Given that the Y61 turbo-diesel Patrol uses in the low 11s that’s a pretty impressive number, one that we were able to hover around during our recent real-life road test.
The V8 engine is mated to an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated, electronically controlled, all-mode 4X4 system. In Auto mode there’s torque split between the front and rear wheels on a 50/50 variable basis depending on road surfaces.
The switch then activates 4WD high for semi-serious off-road conditions or 4WD low for the really heavy stuff. Four terrain options are available: Sand, Snow, Rock and On-road at the touch of a button as are hill descent control and rear differential locks.
Standard in all three of the Y62 Patrol range are Bluetooth phone and audio streaming; large format front DVD player; a 2GB hard drive music server with six speakers; USB connectivity; steering wheel audio controls; intelligent key access; eight-way power assisted driver’s seat; drive computer, dual zone climate control, front, side and curtain airbags, active front headrests.
The $113,900 Patrol Ti-L gets satellite navigation; surround-view monitor; separate seven-inch DVD screens in the rear of the front seat headrests; a memory function for the driver's seat, steering wheel and door mirrors; centre console cool box; Bose audio with 13 speakers; intelligent cruise control; xenon projector headlamps with auto levelling; power operated tailgate; and tyre pressure monitoring.
The new Patrol is one of the largest cars that we’ve driven. It’s bigger in all exterior dimensions when compared to the both the Y61 Patrol and the Toyota LandCruiser and, not surprisingly, it’s also heavier. There’s plenty of interior space and the sort of comfort levels that you expect from a vehicle that can cost in excess of 100 grand including wood grain finishes, an upmarket dash layout and high quality finishes.
It’s functional as well and with all three rows of seats occupied there’s still 550 litres of storage space while by folding the second and third row seats new Patrol can provide 3100 litres with a virtually flat floor.
On the road the big V8 engine is beautifully quiet and smooth – clearly an ideal long-distance cruiser where you need to transport up to eight occupants. Adding to the enjoyment there’s that distinctive throaty V8 burble under heavy acceleration. Handling is enhanced through Nissan’s new Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC) on the suspensions of Ti and Ti-L models that uses hydraulic cylinders to reduce body roll.
As with its luxury rivals there’s that contradiction with the new Patrol of having so much off-road capability but having spent so much money that you’d be terrified of potential damage that you’re unlikely to inflict by challenging it. Nevertheless we did take it into a stretch of relatively steep bush tracks with some deep ruts all of which the Patrol absorbed with ease.
The Y62 Nissan Patrol’s size does make it a bit of a challenge when parking and it might be wise to avoid cramped car parks and do a little more walking to your final destination. Having said that there are a number of parking aids such as a reversing camera, all-round parking sensors and an around-view monitor. There’s also a powered rear cargo door operated by a button on the key fob.
This latest model takes the Nissan Patrol into new territory. It’s the most expensive Patrol ever breaching the $100,000 barrier by some way and competing against vehicles such as the Toyota LandCruiser Sahara; Lexus LX570; Mercedes-Benz GL-Class; and even the king of the luxury 4WDs, the Range Rover. Big shoes to try and fill but the quality and performance is certainly there.