Never has so much occupied one suburban driveway. In an ocean of SUVs, the Nissan Patrol V8 is the volcanic island. Even the Land Cruiser 200-Series is dwarfed by 150mm in length, 25mm in width, 35mm in height and down 100kg.
Do we need a 4WD this size? Why is there only a thirsty petrol V8 and no diesel option? And given all this, can loyal Patrol owners justify the entry-level $82,200 price tag? Here's the answers.
It's called the Patrol V8 to separate it from the ongoing diesel-only Patrol Y61 that has been plugging along since 1997. Nissan has discontinued the ancient Y61 in all global markets - except Australia.
Explore the 2013 Nissan Patrol range
So, if you want a new Patrol and you want a diesel, you are stuck with the old wagon. That old wagon, by the way, costs $27,810 less than the entry-level Patrol V8 that is $82,200 for the ST-L. Justifiable?
Not for hard-core 4WD enthusiasts and caravan owners. It's also $92,850 for the Ti tested here and $113,900 for the sumptuous Ti-L that competes with the Land Cruiser Sahara and Lexus LX570.
It's expensive and expansive and if the fuel bills don't cut deep - I averaged 18.5 L/100km - then the service costs will hit hard. It needs two services a year with a three-year total of $2889 compared with the Land Cruiser's $1260 bill for the same period.
But the price of the Ti reflects its position and its competition. It gets sunroof, 10 airbags, three rows of seats for adults, leather, a premium audio and a sophisticated drivetrain and suspension system.
Yes, it's a whopper. That's because it isn't actually made with Australia in mind, rather it's pointed at the Middle East and the US buyers where cabin room is king and petrol is plentiful and the liquid's price is irrelevant.
Why is it so big? It's an extension - literally - of the US market wanting more room for family, friends and luggage. The three rows are lavish in room, very comfortable and with curtain airbags that stretch down the length of the wagon, safe.
Acres of leather and strips of wood are appealing, though the neat-looking dash design is muddled by a complexity of switches. The centre dial for the monitor is effective but I was surprised that its surrounding buttons activate only minor functions - until I realised you have to get the top-line Ti-L model to get more meaningful switches. Though huge, the park sensors and reverse camera and the box-shape of the wagon make parking almost joyful. Almost.
No diesel because the US and Middle East prefer petrol. Simple. There are thoughts that, at one day in the future, the big Patrol will get Renault's 170kW/550Nm 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel (it's in the Navara) but that's not confirmed.
The 5.6-litre 298kW/560Nm V8 petrol is a long-standing Nissan product, offered in the US SUV and ute models and in 5-litre form for Infiniti and tweaked for the Altima V8 Supercar.
It drives a seven-speed auto then a two-speed transfer case to all wheels. There's a four-mode terrain-assist system that dials up varying off-road conditions to maximise traction. The suspension is a derivative of the WA-designed and developed Kinetic system that Nissan call Hydraulic Body Motion Control.
Toyota also bought the licence from Kinetic though its system relies more on a mechanical interplay of suspension arms. The Nissan is a hydraulic system that replaces traditional dampers and roll bars to automatically compensate for off-road conditions - where long-travel is required - and road surfaces where bodyroll is kept to a minimum. Traction is further improved by a mechanical limited-slip differential at the back, an electronic centre diff and electronic braking on individual wheels.
It hasn't yet been crash tested. Doubtless its size will have a bearing on occupant protection, as will the 10 airbags, electronic stability and traction control, hill descent and hill-start assist, all-wheel drive, front and rear park sensors with a reverse camera, and full-size spare wheel.
Ride comfort is outstanding. The quietness and the plush nature of the Patrol puts it almost into prestige-car league. I was so impressed - up to the point where I borrowed a Range Rover SDV8 for a spin and realised that the Japanese still have a couple of metres to go to catch the big Brit.
And, yes, I know the Rangie is twice the price. I was expecting a lot of wallow but the Kinetic suspension keeps the wagon relatively flat through the corners and it's only the slippery seats and highly-geared steering ratio that makes things a bit unpleasant through fast bends.
The steering is typically over-assisted and the numerous turns required interrupt the sensory nature of the drive and serve to enforce just how big this thing is. The engine is sweet.
It tells you through the auto's torque converter wind-up that it's hauling about 3-tonnes but still manages to be responsive and deliver a delightful V8 burble, first as a murmur around 2000rpm and then upwards to a roar around 6000rpm.
Fuel economy is the deflator. I averaged 18.5 L/100km but 20 L/100km showed up off the road. In the dirt the suspension compensates for the weight penalty.
It stretches the wheels out to find traction where other 4WDs would fumble and the low gearing of the transfer case, switchable terrain-assist mode and gobs of low-end torque make it a very competent machine in difficult off-road conditions. All this while maintaining supple ride comfort.
Comfortable, extremely roomy and a luxurious drive. It's as good on the road as off. But fuel economy and price detract from the cleverness. Needs a diesel.