NISSAN SAYS THE CURRENT GENERATION 2016 PATROL WAS SPECIFIED FOR THE MIDDLE EAST MARKET. The awesome V8 petrol engine, massive proportions, obvious interior space and luxury were thus non-negotiable inclusions.
And massive it is, and powerful, and sumptuously luxurious. It’s like a cruise ship of the road, like the Allure Of The Seas… (Google it).
So, those of us with memories of the legendary GQ Patrol, and even earlier generations like the hoary old G60 (pictured below goofing it up with V8 Supercar's Kelly brothers), will just have to accept that “nothing stays the same”. (And get used to all that pampering.)
Vehicle Style: Large Prestige SUV
Price: $69,990 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 298KW/560Nm 5.6 litre V8 petrol | 7sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 14.5 l/100km | tested: 16.8 l/100km
Despite the popularity of SUVs and Australia’s appetite for luxury rigs, Nissan has found that when it launched the all-new V8 Patrol with a price range from $82,690 to $114,490, it was a tad ambitious in this market.
Not surprisingly, at the first model update, the entry-grade Patrol ST-L V8 was ditched, the mid-grade Ti V8 saw a price ‘correction’ from $93,390 to $69,990 (that’s a $23,730 slash) and the range-topping Ti-L V8 came down from $114,490 to $86,990 (that’s a drop of $27,500).
And, no, there hasn’t been a ‘clean-out’ of specifications and technology – the opposite in fact.
The model realignment now includes items like Hydraulic Body Motion Control, leather seats, satellite navigation, ‘Around View’ monitor and the tyre pressure monitoring system as standard.
As well, the gear lever for the seven-speed automatic transmission has been relocated from its ridiculous left-hand-drive location on the centre console to a more Australian-friendly (right-hand-drive) position. Lastly, both ‘Ivory Pearl’ and ‘Gun Metallic’ have joined the paint colour palette.
The effect is that the Nissan Patrol V8 Ti and Ti-L now shapes-up very competitively, for price and features comparisons, with the Toyota LandCruiser (VX and Sahara).
These are vehicles for large families, the equine set and those with large caravans and/or boats to tow.
And, for any who doubt the strength of that market, we’ll simply refer you to the Pacific Highway from late Autumn when the ‘Grey Nomads’ hit the road for their ‘northern escape’.
TMR got behind the wheel of the seven-seat Nissan Patrol V8 in Ti grade. Crikey it likes a drink.
- Standard Features: Leather seat trim; 8-way power adjustment for the drivers’ seat (6-way for the front passenger); climate control air-conditioning (with rear air-con controls); 60:40 split-fold second and third row seats. Surprisingly, sat-nav is an option, as is heated and cooled seats (each standard on the Ti-L)
- Infotainment: Six-speaker with 2.0GB music hard drive, CD/DVD, AM/FM with MP3 and USB connectivity, Bluetooth with hands free connectivity
Space and quality materials highlight the interior of the Nissan Patrol V8 – it looks, feels and smells like a luxury vehicle. But the plastic-woodgrain on the centre console had a few of us turning up our noses.
Seat height adjustment and rake/reach adjustment for the steering wheel combine for a nice driving position (in a vehicle of this size the term ‘commanding view’ seems superfluous) and the dashboard with its seven-inch display screen is easy on the eye.
What isn’t as easy on the eye is witnessing your average-height TMR correspondent entering/exiting the high-riding Nissan Patrol. It’s a big step up, and, in Mt Everest ascent terms, you need to make ‘base camp’ on the standard side sill before embarking on the final assault for the seat itself.
This is not going to appeal to a lot of women, nor some of the junior members of the family, and is worth bearing in mind if you’re thinking of ‘family wagon’ duties. (But maybe the target is ‘big boned’ miners and outback station owners.)
Certainly, once in, space has its rewards. And this, let me tell you, is one BIG bus.
The seats are wide like armchairs and thickly padded, and there is ample room for a few of the lads from the Broncos in the second and third rows. It is a big space, and there are lots of storage bins and cubicles.
Access to the third row seats is also straight-forward (but, on second thoughts, maybe not for the Broncos).
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 298kW/560Nm 5.6-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8
- Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with manual mode and adaptive shift control
- Suspension: Independent wishbone/coil springs front and rear
- Brakes: Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
- Tow rating: 3500kgs (braked trailer) and 750kgs (unbraked); towball download up to 350kg
Underneath the big Patrol are massive 18-inch alloy wheels with road-biased 265/70R18 tyres.
But while the tyres are road-biased, a recognition that most of its work will be on the black-top, the Patrol’s capability extends a long way off-road. That capability comes from Nissan’s ‘All-Mode 4WD’ high and low range system offering ‘Auto’, ‘4H’ and ‘4L.
It’s deployed via a centre console rotary dial selector for four modes (‘On Road’, ‘Sand’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Rock’) and operating with a lockable rear helical limited slip differential. Certainly, most buyers, beyond hauling a horse float out of a boggy paddock, will likely rarely see 4L and most will never pick their way along a deeply rutted firetrail.
And, on the tarmac, the big Nissan has an imposing presence and brutish power.
Nail the throttle and the surge from Nissan’s 298kW 5.5-litre V8 is impressive, easily outpacing Toyota’s LandCruiser. Also impressive is the seven-speed transmission that shifts with surprising smoothness, despite handling all that torque and hauling 2.7-tonne of bulk.
However, despite Nissan’s HBMC system (Hydraulic Body Motion Control), the Patrol V8 can’t disguise its size and weight, especially when the road gets seriously twisty.
Things work ok through flowing corners and undulations; in these conditions the HMBC works well and Nissan’s V8 SUV sits reasonably flat.
In fact, on most secondary roads you may be surprised by the ride comfort and the V8 Patrol’s ability to swallow long kilometres. But when the road gets tighter in the hills, you will find yourself working against some significant body roll and a vague feel to the steering.
And, no doubt, some sea-sick third-row passengers.
So while the Patrol’s driving dynamics are on-par with its major Japanese rival, comparisons with large SUVs from Germany and even Nissan’s own Infiniti QX80 – all of which cost more - aren’t especially flattering.
Nonetheless, with a 3.5 tonne tow-rating (with the power to pull it easily), it is certainly capable of hard work. And, true to its heritage, Like Toyota’s big 200 Series Landcruiser, that 4WD system under this big Patrol can get you and a caravan into and out of some of Australia’s more spectacular adventure destinations.
We’ve had it on sand, and up deeply rutted fire-trails – its performance off-road is certainly impressive. But, we think, there will be few drivers who would consider risking those expensive sills and panels in getting right off-road.
The truth of it is, that, while the capability is there, this big powerful and comfortable SUV will more likely spend its time on the tarmac as a weekend tow vehicle, a family bus for the well-heeled, or as an ‘open cut’ staff car.
The penalty for that powerful V8 engine is in truly awful fuel consumption. We averaged 16.8 l/100km in mostly light driving.
Hitch a boat or a horse float behind, or spend an hour or more a day in the city commute, and that figure will quickly worsen.
This is the Patrol V8’s Achilles heel, and one you will need to consider carefully if you’re a private buyer. It has a 140 litre fuel tank, but it will need it.
ANCAP rating: Not yet tested.
Safety Features: Reversing camera; ‘around-view’ monitor, dynamic and traction control; ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); hill descent control; hill start assist; front and rear ventilated disc brakes, rear differential lock, rear Helical limited slip differential (LSD), speed sensitive power steering, tyre pressure monitoring system, six airbags including side impact and curtain airbags; front active headrests.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Three year/100,000 kms warranty, 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Program, myNissan Capped Price Servicing
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Nissan’s Patrol V8 goes head-to-head with Toyota’s top-selling LandCruiser. We’re talking the 200 Series in VX ($92,500) and Sahara ($113,500) guise.
While Toyota’s 4.6-litre V8 is outgunned with 227kW/439Nm and the transmission is one ratio shorter than the Patrol (LandCruiser runs a six-speeder), we think the Toyota behemoth is a shade in-front for driving dynamics – the steering is just that bit sharper in response and body control is marginally better.
If you’re shopping in this neighbourhood, the Patrol’s close cousin, the Infiniti QX80 is a confrontingly-styled but super-luxurious consideration.
Our recommendation though would be to look seriously at the diesel competition in the Toyota Prado Kakadu, and the top-spec Ford Everest Titanium.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Here’s the thing: after a week behind the wheel, we came to enjoy driving Nissan’s Patrol V8 Ti. The key is to accept it for what it is – none of these uber-luxury full-size SUVs have been engineered to set lap records around a race circuit.
What the Nissan Patrol V8 Ti does very well is cosset you and your family in spacious and luxurious surroundings while packing the immense reserves of a powerful V8 under the bonnet.
That V8 will flatten any hill, and tow a large van absolutely effortlessly.
Some of the diesel twin-cabs and their SUV variants may match that 3500kg tow rating, but none will haul it as easily as the Patrol. And that alone may be a deal clincher.
It will also do all of that, with the load hitched behind, and access nearly any off-road destination you’re capable of finding on a map.
So in that context, there is a place for this big, solid, very well-built Patrol. But think about that fuel consumption carefully before you make the leap.
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