Nissan Patrol: A gas-guzzling conundrum?

patrolWhat is it?

Nissan’s Patrol has been the main competitor of Toyota Land Cruiser for more than four decades.

It has its own fan base with dedicated, hard core followers, yet it’s never really been seen as ‘the one’ to choose.

Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the Patrol from selling in sufficient numbers to guarantee its continued existence and, in late 2019, Nissan announced an update.

We spent a week with the revamped Ti model.


What’s it cost?

Patrol is available in two grades, Ti and Ti-L, both powered by the same petrol V8 engine.

The Ti is priced from $75,990, the Ti-L from $92,790 — with drive-away pricing starting from $85,606.

This gets you more than five metres of sheetmetal, and it stands 1940mm high and is just 5mm short of two metres in width.

Patrol is the proverbial block of flats on wheels, and dimensionally a smudge larger than Land Cruiser — believe it or not?

The wheelbase is long too, at 3075mm.

Rubber is Bridgestone Dueler with a 265/70 profile on 18 inch alloys 

The revamp covers the nose making it the best looking Patrol we’ve had for some time.

It features Nissan’s signature Vee grille, but it’s so wide that it looks more like a broad U than a Vee.

There is no escaping, the three-box design though.

In Hermosa Blue, it helps disguise the shape, however it’s still  a boxy, blocky look from any point of view.

The headlights are now full LED and mirror the U or Vee with a C and reversed C look.

They’re integrated smoothly into the front end and bring a futuristic look.

The rear has been remodelled too.

The tailgate is not powered and lifts to expose a third row of seats.

It’s spacious inside with more than enough second row legroom, and a third row that is only marginally compromised in this respect.

There is rear aircon with controls, but surprisingly no heating or venting for the front seats — nor is there DAB audio.

There is, however, a CD player.

The driver dash display has a pair of analogue dials with a small black and white info screen.

The upper dash features a pair of proscenium arches with faux wood trim either side.

It’s all a bit . . .  twee . . .  and points towards a certain demographic.

The dials and controls of the centre stack are well laid out, with the centre section and console also trimmed in walnut look wood.

A 360 degree camera is operated from a button in the console and the navigation screen looks like a digital version of the pages found in the now long-gone paper version.

The centre console also has the drive mode dial for off-roading.

Entry and exit is a little different due to the height.

With a ride height of 273mm, it means you step up and across — not across or down. 

Safety features highly, with Tyre Pressure Monitoring,  Intelligent Emergency Braking, and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Lane Intervention add to the package.

Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning shake hands with Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.


What’s it go like?

For a vehicle that weighs 2.7 tonnes dry, there’s some serious hustle.

Thanks to the 5.6-litre V8, that puts out 298kW and 560Nm, real performance is only a flex of the ankle away.

But with claimed fuel consumption of 14.4L/100km, it needs that 140-litre fuel tank.

On our mainly suburban test drive the wagon returned an average of 15.6L/100km. 

Getting drive to all four corners is a 7-speed auto.

It uses  the power and torque delivery figures nicely, swapping smoothly between cogs, and comes with the added bonus of a proper V8 soundtrack.

Although muted in tone, it’s there and noticeable.

What’s also noticeable, is how un-truck like the Patrol Ti feels.

The steering is light, the suspension firm with just the right amount of give, and any need to get somewhere quickly is on tap.

Nissan doesn’t quote a figure for zero to 100km/h, but seat of the pants suggests around six seconds.

Naturally the brakes are up to task as well.

Strangely, but not quite unexpectedly in hindsight, the front end didn’t like wet roads at certain velocities.

It exhibited push-on understeer several times thanks to the deluge Sydney was subject to during our drive week.

Circumspect driving brought this back to a more manageable level.

This suggests the off-road capable rubber is good for mud, but not necessarily greasy tarmac.

Carparks were a concern to start with, thanks to that long wheelbase, but quickly became easy enough — and again that was thanks to beautifully assisted steering.

It really minimises the sense of mass, bringing a feel of something much smaller to the vehicle.


What we like?

  • Good dynamics for such a big and heavy vehicle
  • Plenty of space inside
  • Switch gear layout


What we don’t like?

  • Premium price but no DAB or heating/venting for seats 
  • Tailgate is not power operated.
  • Evokes a Formula pit call: box box box!


The bottom line?

Up against Toyota’s Land Cruiser, which offers more trim levels, and missing basics found in smaller, cheaper, vehicles — the Patrol Ti presents a conundrum.

The woodgrain trim and monochrome driver’s display are at odds with its largely high quality driving dynamics.

Patrol is well suited to those who live in rural areas with the necessary income that comes from living on the land.

It’s not, however, entirely suitable to any other environment — irrespective of its mild manners on tarmac.

With no alternative, the petrol V8, is questionable too, leaving a question mark with no real answer in the wings.

That question? Who does Nissan expect will buy the Patrol? 


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Nissan Patrol Ti, priced from $76,990
  • Looks - 7/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 4/10
  • Practicality - 6/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 6.5/10