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Nissan Patrol 2021 review: Ti-L

The inside of the Patrol is just as big as the outside.

Looking for a large SUV that will take you off-road? You’ve come to the right page. The Nissan Patrol is exactly that. Very large, and very much an off-roader. With seven seats and a large boot, it functions better than most large SUVs for bigger families, but how does it fare in the city and suburbs? 

I test drove the Nissan Patrol Ti-L which is the top-of-the-range and comes in at $93,365. It competes with cars like the Toyota LandCruiser Prado and Land Rover Discovery, and I drove it over seven days for this week’s family review. 

Read more about the Nissan Patrol

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How does it look?

Like a car version of The Rock. Big. Intimidating. Scary, but nice at the same time. That’s the Nissan Patrol. It’s got a huge front with a butch grille. It’s quite rectangular in shape but does have rounded corners. The overwhelming impression is… large. Very large

This Patrol delivers on style. (image credit: Dean McCartney) This Patrol delivers on style. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

Inside is surprisingly glossy, even if it's a tad dated. There are wooden panel accents throughout the front centre console, and this car being the top-of-the-range you’ll get leather seats, a leather steering wheel, and a sunroof. 

The piano black effect is splashed about with free abandon and it all feels rather luxe, especially for a large SUV where you often find they’re more about the off-road capability than the interior. This Patrol delivers on style. 

Inside is a tad dated. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Inside is a tad dated. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

How easy is it to use every day?

The front seats are power adjustable, heated, and cooled. The park brake is a foot brake, which seems medieval, but actually works well. The thing you most have to get used to is the height of the car off the ground. It’s high. There is a step to get up which everyone, even tall people, need to use. The kids positively had to launch themselves up to climb in. 

And the boot is very high off the ground, so hoisting the groceries into the boot becomes a bit of a throw. Thankfully, the tailgate opens and closes when you press a button, because I can only imagine how heavy it would be to pull manually. 

Up front are two center cupholders. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Up front are two center cupholders. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

For storage there are two cupholders in the front, a spot for a phone and keys, a large centre storage bin and bottle holders in the doors. The second row also has two cupholders in the centre armrest, along with climate control for rear passengers. 

Third row passengers get bottle holders to themselves and directional air vents for some air flow back there. 

How spacious is it?

Talk about a strong point. The Patrol is huge. Huge! Sitting in the front is very comfortable with loads of leg and headroom. Tall passengers will be happy in there and there is lots of room between shoulders from the driver’s seat to the front passenger.

Inside, the Patrol is huge. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Inside, the Patrol is huge. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The second row is also roomy. My two children, aged seven and nine, looked positively tiny in there. I’m 161cm (5'3") and I also have lots of space to stretch out, lounge-room-style in the back seat. Taller adults fit well and you can easily get three adults or three child car seats across the second row. 

The second row is roomy. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The second row is roomy. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The third row is a little tighter, which is to be expected, but it doesn’t slide (which you’ll find in some other large SUVs), so the space you see is the space you get. I can fit easily, but I think taller people might struggle over long distances. 

The third row is a little tight. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The third row is a little tight. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The boot suits the car, in that it’s huge, too. Even with all three rows in use, it’s still a large 468L, which is as much as a regular, five-seat, mid-size SUV and pretty much unheard of in the seven-seat category. Claps all round! With two rows in use, it grows to 1413L of space. Again, enormous. 

  • With all seats in place, boot space is rated at 468 litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney) With all seats in place, boot space is rated at 468 litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • The Patrol is almost unrivalled for cargo capacity. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Patrol is almost unrivalled for cargo capacity. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

All this interior space and the large size of the car has to come at a cost, unfortunately. A caveat: I drove the Patrol around the suburbs, doing a highway drive only once. And on the highway, she shines! 

A giant 5.6L V8 engine means it has all the power you could ever hope for. It lives to overtake cars on the highway and generally be driven around on country dirt roads, regularly driving from the farmhouse to the gate and beyond or on very wide, tarmac-like roads (with not many cars parked on either side). 

The V8 engine has so much power it wants to lurch forward. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The V8 engine has so much power it wants to lurch forward. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

In the city, it doesn’t fare as well. Firstly, there’s the sheer bulk of the car. But more importantly, the 12.5m turning circle means even a normally wide U-turn becomes a three-point turn, and regular three-point turns become five-point-turns. 

On a busy day in a busy suburb, I missed all the parks in the area because I couldn’t turn around fast enough to race back and get them, and ended up parking quite far away. 

The steering wheel turns easily, but when the wheel is all the way turned, the car is reluctant to go forward or back, so you have to un-turn it slightly for the car to move more easily while you are manoeuvring into a park, or the three-point turn, which means you need to go forward and back more often to get it right where you want it. 

The Nissan Patrol is not a city car. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Nissan Patrol is not a city car. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

When you’re trying to parallel park and need to squeeze in between two cars, it’s hard to move a tiny bit forward and a tiny bit back, so you can weasel your way in there. The V8 engine has so much power it doesn’t want to go forward a tiny bit. It wants to lurch forward, and this makes you think you’re going to hit the car in front. 

This all makes me think that the Nissan Patrol is not a city car, or suburban car if your suburb has small streets with not many parks. It’s much more suited to the open road and sprawling suburbs that will easily fit the car, and then this bothersome 'trying to squeeze into parks and do three-point turns' won’t matter at all! For a detailed review on the Patrol’s off-road capabilities, check out the CarsGuide review in our Adventure section

What’s the tech like?

The tech needs to be updated because while there is an 8.0-inch multimedia screen, which feels small for this sized car, there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which is fairly standard in the industry now and the benchmark for good technology

It means you have to rely on Nissan’s own tech system where the sat nav is fine but clunky compared to a Maps app. It does have Bluetooth connectivity, but I found the radio tricky to figure out. 

It makes up for it with 13-speaker Bose audio and screens on the back of the front seats for rear passengers (complete with headphones and remote control). 

How safe is it?

The Patrol hasn’t been assessed by ANCAP, but there are airbags to cover the driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend all the way to the third row. 

For advanced safety, you’ll get auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane keep assist. 

There are three top tether points and two ISOFIX locations to secure child seats in the second row, plus one top tether in the third row. That means you can get four kids under four years old in the Patrol. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Nissan Patrol Ti-L costs $93,365, before on road costs, and fuel consumption is something you really need to think about. 

The large engine’s official combined cycle fuel figure is 14.4L/100km, which is high. Our real world figure, doing mostly suburban driving (which, to be fair, is not typical for this car), was 19.5L/100km and it needs 95RON fuel to fill up the tank. 

It’s covered by Nissan’s five year/100,000km warranty. Servicing is recommended every six months or 10,000km which is on the short side, although capped price servicing is available.


The Wrap

The Nissan Patrol would be a great family car if you live on a large property and do mostly highway or wide road driving (at least larger roads than the average suburban street). It’s got a huge interior, is very comfortable and has great safety, but the tech is dated, and the large exterior coupled with the clunky driving while turning makes it difficult to drive and park on regular roads every day. 

I gave it a family rating of 6.5 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same. They loved the screens in the back but thought it was too big for our driveway. 

Likes

Interior design
Interior space
Boot space

Dislikes

Lack of mobility while turning
Huge turning circle
High fuel consumption

Scores

Nedahl:

3.3

The Kids:

3.3

$93,365

Based on new car retail price

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