What’s hot: The most luxurious way to carry eight passengers across Big Red.
What’s not: No diesel option; bowser-sucking thirst
X-Factor: That bristling 5.6 litre V8 soundtrack: no working diesel gets close
Engine: 5.6 litre petrol V8 | Power/Torque: 298kW/560Nm
Fuel Consumption listed: 14.5 l/100km | tested: 13.8 l/100km (highway) 16.6 l/100km (on sand)
Vehicle style: Upper-Large SUV
Selling alongside the current GU model, the all-new Y62 is bigger, more comfortable, safer, more refined, and a whole lot more powerful than its progenitor.
Before you ask though, the 5.6 litre petrol V8 is the sole engine choice for the Y62 - there's no diesel option.
However, this is not the shot in the foot it may appear; the 298kW/560Nm V8 balances plenty of fuel-saving tech with great dollops of performance.
Aside from its size, newfound comfort levels, and the adoption of independent suspension at both ends, the new car has lost none of the older model’s off-road or load-lugging abilities, and it has all the vital stats to back it up.
TMR looked at the Y62 model back in 2010 in left-hand drive Middle East-spec, but Nissan invited us back to experience the Australian-spec product at its national press launch near Mount Gambier, South Australia.
We sampled all three ST-L, Ti, and Ti-L variants and found that even the base ST-L is a cosy, cosseting drive.
Its soft velour trim offers little compromise over the leather-clad Ti and Ti-L, and all grades feature woodgrain detailing, and several controls and design elements reminiscent of the Infiniti range.
Front seats on all are very broad but quite flat; comfortable on a straight road but lacking support off-road.
The leftward mounting of the gear selector and All Mode controller are a hangover of the Y62’s left-hand drive origins, but the indicator stalk has been thoughtfully located on the right hand side of the steering wheel.
As you’d expect, there’s plenty of room all round, and the cabin width permits a centre console bin that could swallow a football in the non-refrigerated ST-L and Ti models.
This console bin also features clever front and rear hinges for access by both front and second row occupants.
Second row seating is probably the greatest strength of the Y62 Patrol’s interior, with its 225mm wheelbase advantage over Toyota’s 200 Series LandCruiser making for limousine-like rear legroom.
Combined with the Y62’s generous width, this second row drew no grumbles with three seated across it.
Third row seating will accommodate adults on short trips, while any compromise to legroom is balanced by reclining backrests, along with the significant cargo area that remains with the third row upright.
Both rearward rows fold to make a flat load area, contrasting with the older model’s side-folding third-row arrangement.
The full-size spare wheel is accessed from beneath the vehicle, so there’s no need to eject luggage in the case of a puncture.
ON THE ROAD
Nissan’s drive route for the Y62’s launch was almost entirely straight 110km/h highway driving.
This gave us the chance to assess the new Patrol’s kilometre-eating ability and open-road fuel economy.
Sitting near 2000rpm in seventh gear at a steady 110km/h, the Patrol returned an average low of 13.8 l/100km on 95RON (against an official 14.5 l/100km combined figure).
Although still a fat thirst and far from empirical (on the basis of one drive), it suggests a total range potential of over 1000km from the Patrol’s 140 litre fuel capacity.
The 5.6 litre V8 might be a stone crusher but it's a modern design with twin overhead cams, variable valve timing and direct injection.
When stoked, it responds with a throaty induction-snarl matched by impressive acceleration, particularly when overtaking.
The seven-speed auto will happily kick down a couple of cogs when asked, and, for the way it bolts, all thoughts of the Patrol’s 2700kg are instantly forgotten.
'Economy' may not be its middle name, but this big bus blows the socks off its 3.0 litre turbodiesel stablemate (and plenty of others).
There was no opportunity to test the Patrols' hill-climbing ability, but with 90 percent of the V8's 560Nm available from 1600rpm, low-down urge won't be lacking.
At highway speeds, the Patrol’s excellent wind and tyre noise insulation is apparent. Overall, it's generally quite refined if a little more stiffly sprung than the armchair-on-wheels ride we expected.
Perhaps our load of two passengers and little cargo was not enough for the Patrol’s suspension to work at its best.
That aside, its 765-855kg payload or 3500kg braked towing capacity is nothing to be sneezed at, nor the maximum towball download of 250kg when laden to the Y62’s 3500kg GVM.
For the new Patrol's off-road workout, Nissan chose to showcase it's sand-driving capabilities. This had us lined up along a stretch of beach near Robe, SA.
The Y62 Patrol’s four-wheel drive system is controlled by a console-mounted ‘All Mode’ controller. You simply move between 2H, 4H, and 4L, as well as 'on-road', 'sand', 'snow', and 'rock' modes. It also controls the rear diff lock and hill descent control functions.
So, with the Patrol's 265/70/R18 tyres reduced to a Nissan-recommended 14PSI, we selected 4H and sand mode (which permitted the degree of wheelspin necessary)..
This combination proved ideal; and, surprisingly, the V8’s abundance of low-down torque meant that there was no need for low-range at all on the day.
The abundant torque under the bonnet also meant an impressive worst fuel figure of 16.6 l/100km on the dunes. So, if heavy work is involved, that thirst is not too bad - better in fact than some smaller SUVs when forced into hard graft.
In all, it was difficult not to be impressed with the new Patrol's ease away from the blacktop.
While our sand experience hardly taxed its off-road capabilities, our earlier pre-launch drive experience suggests it is capable of much more.
The Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC) system fitted to the Ti and Ti-L models is designed to reduce bodyroll on-road, but it also improves articulation off-road by forcing opposing wheels downwards.
Also helping off road is increased ground clearance thanks to the all-independent suspension (which allows the diff centres to be mounted closer to the body).
The Y62’s quoted ground clearance of 283mm is 73mm greater than the solid front/rear axle current Patrol, and 58mm greater than the solid rear axle LandCruiser 200 Series.
Similarly, the Y62 model boasts LandCruiser 200 Series-beating clearance angles of 34.1 degrees (approach), 24.1 degrees (ramp-over), and 25.9 degrees (departure), compared to 30/21/20.
Also, the new Patrol matches the Toyota's maximum wading depth of 700mm, but breathes through the left-side guard vent, simplifying the fitment of an aftermarket snorkel.
FIRST DRIVE VERDICT
It’s been a long wait, but we came away with a positive impression of the big Y62 Patrol.
The lack of diesel option will certainly hinder sales in Australia - it has a V8 petrol thirst - but its huge power and torque will make it an effortless tow-wagon.
And you'll be comfortable wherever you go. Its ability to combine premium-sedan levels of luxury with a readiness to take you anywhere will surely appeal as executive transport far away from the coastal fringes.
While the 5.6 litre V8 may not seem the ideal choice today, it harks back to a time when big-capacity petrol V8s were celebrated. You just need to feel the surging power (and accompanying soundtrack) to remember why.
It’s also priced squarely with one obvious Japanese rival in mind; the LandCruiser 200.
If you’re in the market for an upper-large SUV, take the new Y62 Patrol for a test and judge it for yourself.
Patrol ST-L - $82,200 ($90,500 drive-away)
Patrol Ti - $92,850 ($101,680 drive-away)
Patrol Ti-L - $113,900 ($123,780 drive-away)
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