patrol
patrol

Nissan Patrol: Larger than life

Riley Riley

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What is it?

Still no diesel.

How many times must these words have been written in relation to the Nissan Patrol.

It’s going on 10 years since the current, petrol-only Patrol was launched here and buyers must be wondering what they did wrong to deserve such punishment?

To put this in perspective, the vast majority of SUVs sold in Australia are diesel.

We know and understand the benefits of powering big, truck-like rigs with torquey, slow-turning diesel engines, rather than thirsty petrol V8s like the Americans.

To placate a loyal diesel buyer base, Nissan kept selling the previous Y61 diesel model alongside the new Patrol for three years before it was finally put to bed in 2016.

Why no diesel after all these years?

In a nutshell, Nissan says it’s the cost.

Although Patrol is sold worldwide, there’s simply insufficient demand to justify the development costs of putting a diesel in the big 4×4 wagon.

You can’t argue against that, or can you? The demand was certainly there for a diesel before, here and overseas — where did it go?

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What’s it cost?

Introduced in 2010 (2013 here), Nissan Patrol is a competitor for the big Toyota Land Cruiser, recently updated to the 300 Series.

It was also sold here briefly as the Infiniti QX80 before Nissan pulled the pin on the luxury brand in 2019 (yet again).

Patrol received a top and tail in 2020 and has just been updated again, but with only minor cosmetic changes.

The latest update brings changes to the bonnet and fender panels, front grille, LED front lamps and the front bumper.

Ti offers a sporty black grille, while Ti-L (L is for luxury) retains a slatted chrome radiator grille in keeping with its premium positioning.

There’s only the two models: Ti is priced from $89,599 and Ti-L, from $103,199 driveaway.

The big difference between the two grades is that Ti seats eight, whereas Ti-L is a seven-seater.

Standard kit includes leather trim, tri-zone climate air with second row controls, power adjust front seats that are heated and cooled, power adjust steering wheel, and driver’s seat memory with two settings, including side mirrors and steering column.

There’s also push-button start, intelligent rear view mirror, off-road monitor, around-view monitor with emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, puddle lights, cooled centre console box, side steps, rear spoiler and a powered tailgate.

Infotainment comprises 13-speaker premium Bose audio with an 8.0-inch touchscreen system that features satellite navigation, CD/DVD, AM/FM radio, MP3 and USB /iPod connectivity with Bluetooth audio streaming.

It misses out on DAB digital radio, plus Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Two USB charging ports located behind the centre console and there are four 12V power outlets (front, centre console, second row and rear luggage area).

Rear seat passengers get two second row seat 8.0-inch screens with headphones and remote control (USB/DVD/HDMI).

Five-star safety includes driver and passenger front and side airbags, as well as curtain airbags for all three rows and active front headrests.

It’s also equipped with auto emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise Control, lane departure warning, lane intervention and blind spot warning intervention.

Patrol is covered by a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with service intervals every six months or 10,000km.

At an average of 20,000km per year that brings the total service cost to $5482.

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What’s it go like?

Both Ti and Ti-L are powered by the same 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine, with 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

It’s paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC).

Power is transmitted to the ground through an Intelligent 4X4 system with electronic 4WD selection, a rear Helical limited-slip diff, off-road monitor, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist Control.

When it comes to the Patrol any discussion revolves around the sheer size of the vehicle and the merits or otherwise of a petrol V8.

The wagon weighs in at 2750kg, and is 5175mm long, 1995mm wide and stands 1955mm tall, with a long 3075mm wheelbase (distance between axles).

It sits on relatively small 18-inch wheels with chunky 265/70 series Bridgestone rubber, skewed more towards off road than on-road performance, with a full size alloy spare supplied.

The large Volvo XC90 that we drove recently rode on 22-inch wheels.

Suspension is double wishbone front and back, with a trick suspension system called Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC).

It consists of two hydraulic systems connected by cross-link pipes that help absorb bumps and reduce body roll during cornering.

Because it’s a mechanical system, it does not require a power source, so there is no trade-off in fuel economy.

Off road, each wheel is able to move independently, rising or falling based on conditions, absorbing vibrations caused by off-road bumps and holes.

Patrol is a monster, that’s for sure, but my wife reckons it’s easy to drive — although she’s quick to add that it’s too big for everyday life.

Apart from the sheer size, it sits high and getting in and out requires some agility, and use of the grab handles and side steps provided.

Older people, particularly, could find it’s one step beyond them.

The ride quality is old school 4×4 and the steering wanders and delivers little feedback.

Braking is sudden and forceful.

Once inside, however, it’s a bit like the lounge room in your home, with oodles of room front and back as well as side to side, with centre consoles for both the front and second row (front is cooled).

It’s super quiet too apart from the noise of the silky smooth V8, making for easy conversation.

Diamond-stitch quilted leather seats with added padding provide a luxurious feel, as does the hand-stitched steering wheel.

But the old school walnut wood trim has a distinctly 70s feel. When are manufacturers going to move on?

Front and rear sensors, plus a 360-degree overhead camera help to park the beast, but the images are too small and the resolution is too low, and it becomes almost unusable in bad weather.

Talking of bad weather, for some reason it misses out on auto wipers. Try as we may, we couldn’t find an auto setting. What the hell?

At almost two metres in height, that’s without roof racks, be careful about entering underground parking. It could scrape and you find it difficult to manoeuvre.

Recognise that it is just not going to squeeze into some spaces.

In fact, we had a hotel booking during our time with the car and had to ring ahead to check out the parking situation.

Long story short, they reserved a space for us outside for us, parked next to a dual cab ute. It made the utility look small.

While discussing parking, the foot-operated handbrake is a pain in the butt. The X-Trail we are driving now has one too.

The gimmicky “Intelligent Rear View Monitor” turns the rear view mirror into a video screen.

It enables the driver to see traffic conditions behind the car through a camera, as well as use the rear view mirror to check on passengers and pets in the rear.

Lights are all LEDS, with 52 LEDs for the headlights (count them) and a total of 44 LEDs at the rear, with front LED fog lights as well.

Off road, the Patrol is right up there.

The 4WD shift switch offers auto, 4 High and 4 Low settings with mode a selection of On Road, Sand, Snow or Rock.

Ground clearance is an impressive 273mm, impressive because the new 300 Series Land Cruiser has only 235mm.

Helping the vehicle to move forward are an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor.

As always, however, you’re more than likely to dent the side steps.

With a 140-litre tank, fuel consumption is a claimed 14.4L/100km, but that’s a rather optimistic figure (it takes premium too).

We clocked up just over 600km at the rate of 15.1L/100km, but that was with a very light right foot.

Around 16.0/100km is more like the mark.

Finally, given the $35,000 price difference between top of the range Patrol and Land Cruiser — that money will pay for a lot of petrol.

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What we like?

  • Big
  • Comfy
  • Plenty of room
  • Serious off-roader
  • Great for touring
  • Tows 3500kg

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What we don’t like?

  • Thirsty V8
  • Foot operated parking brake
  • No auto wipers
  • Small low-res touchscreen
  • No digital radio
  • Mapping out of date
  • No head up display
  • Tiny sunroof

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The bottom line?

Patrol is a big, comfy, well appointed, supremely confident off-roader that can haul a 3.5 tonne van or boat.

It can be a handful around town because of its size, but makes for a beautifully smooth and quiet tourer. If only it wasn’t powered by an equally large, thirsty V8 engine — one that takes premium unleaded.

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Nissan Patrol Ti-L, priced from $103,199
  • Looks - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Performance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Safety - 8/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 5/10
    5/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
7.4/10
7.4/10
Riley

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