With the automotive world's focus on lightweight platforms and ever-smaller engines the 2.75-tonne V8-powered Patrol is a bit of a rebel without a cause. Not practical for touring compared to a diesel LandCruiser – or any seven-seat diesel four-wheel drive - and ready to melt your credit at the bowser, the Patrol’s days can only be numbered. Which is a pity, because for a battle ship-size car it’s a lot of fun to drive.
Unlike the Y61 Patrol there’s no diesel powertrain on offer in the Y62, and the line-up consists of just two models – the Ti and Ti-L – that come with a thumping big 5.6-litre petrol V8 producing 298kW and 560Nm. Not a car for eco-warriors, there’s also no shortage of timber and hide inside this Ti-L model on test, but it lacks some of the latest and more refined technology on the market. On the plus side, there’s a huge amount of space, fantastic hauling ability and trick suspension underneath.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, full leather interior trim with heated and cooled electric front pews, two smart keys with memory function seats, 8.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, 12-speaker Bose sound system, twin-headrest rear seat 8.0-inch monitors with DVD function, reversing and 360-degree camera, parking proximity sensors, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, electric tailgate, intelligent camera rear view mirror and a cooled centre console/fridge.
The driveline isn’t short of features either, with a seven-speed automatic and dual-range transmission mounted to the 5.6-litre V8 for some serious four-wheel drive ability.
The Ti-L is priced from $88,990 plus on-road costs, which is $18,000 more expensive than the more basic Ti grade model, but it is a significant $25,590 more affordable than what it was just two years ago – if the Nissan badge or the gear is off putting, the Japanese maker’s offshoot Infiniti offer the same underlying package wrapped up in its own take, the QX80 S, at a hard-to-justify $110,900 plus on-road costs.
- 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
True to its size there’s a massive amount of space inside the Patrol that extends from the first row to the third. Even with the last two seats in use the boot measures 550-litres capacity which is 100L more than the Ford Everest. Fold the third row down and the space increases to a mammoth 1490 litres that’s bigger than most mid-size SUV with all seats flat. We put it to the test with a full-size bassinet pram (which kills the usable space in most boots) and luggage, slotting easily down the floor with room to spare. The Patrol is also rated to a 750kg payload capacity, so there’s not much you can’t pack for big trips.
Likewise, the legroom for each seat is impressive and not many cars come close to matching the amount of space available for passengers. The storage for each is also equally impressive, with more than one cupholder for each seat in total and pockets for bigger bottles and things like maps dotted throughout the cabin. Between the front seats is a big centre console bin that can be refrigerated to keep drinks cold.
Start looking at further creature comforts though and the Patrol’s age begins to show some cracks.
Rather than fit USB throughout the cabin, there are four 12-volt ports and just two USBs upfront. Those connect into the 8.0-inch infotainment system but there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, just an old iPod style connection or Bluetooth for streaming music. And the screen itself is low-res and not up to scratch compared to most units, let alone the overall appearance of the centre console which looks half a decade out of place. The 13-speaker Bose system however is a cracking unit with plenty of punch and clarity for around the camp site.
The outer second-row passengers also get 8.0-inch screens that can play DVD’s or USB-connected media, and each has their own headphone set so there’s no clash with the main system.
Seat adjustment for the driver is limited, offering a small range of height adjustment and tilt-and-reach steering movement, but the seats themselves are comfortable and the dash, despite being plain in design, is open and airy.
The foot operated mechanical park brake is another old bit of kit and it’s good to remember to make sure it’s disengaged as the Patrol has more than enough herbs to go on without it.
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
The Patrol is still built on a ladder frame chassis but the latest underpinnings have come a long way from what they used to be.
Still carrying great off-road performance, the new model has a much more compliant ride that’s effective at soaking up bumps on the road with its to inter-link suspension setup.
It uses hydraulic cylinders for both spring and damping instead of a traditional spring and shock absorber setup. The cylinder can also provide active stabilisation control, so the chassis inhibits some body roll when cornering.
The result is impressive over most poor surfaces and though too soft for any good dynamic character the minimised roll helps on twisting roads. There’s plenty of sound dampening around key contact points for stray stones too, so over gravel the ride is and quiet, smooth and calm.
The steering isn’t as well matched with a light and indirect feel on input. It’s good enough to feel planted when travelling on the highway but around corners and off-road it isn’t connected with what’s going on underneath. But the lightweight and quick rotation helps for manoeuvring around the city and suburbs, and at over 5 metres long, the Patrol isn’t easy to plonk into a car park. It does however get a 360-degree camera that helps with positioning and there’s also a constant live camera feed for the rear-view mirror if you’ve got a lot of cargo (a feature that can be turned on and off).
But the fun begins when you plough the accelerator pedal for the first time and feel the brilliant V8 kick into life with an energetic growling hustle that pushes the back of the wagon onto its rear haunches. A lot of grunt is required to move almost 3000kg of metal so quickly and the V8 ploughs out almost 300kW of power right through the rev range. It’s helped by short gears in the first few cogs of the seven-speed automatic but there’s no doubt this is the sort of engine that would feel at home in something sportier. Still, it’s a blast of fun in such a large car that can easily step up the pace for overtaking regardless of payload, at least until you find a corner.
But there's a price to pay at the bowser with terrible fuel consumption regardless of even the most conscientious effort to be frugal. The claimed 14.4L/100km combined fuel consumption is purely optimistic, with a figure around 20L/100km easy to achieve in urban driving. Over a longer run up and down the alps we managed a milder average around 16.5L before settling on 18.4L with a mix of full throttle and boring highway kilometres.
Thankfully, the brakes do very well to pull up the huge amount of weight bearing forward and the pedal has some nice modulation through its stroke.
For towing, the Patrol is rated to 3500kg and we didn't put that to the test. While it would have enough grunt for easy pulling, it would likely eat through the 140-litre fuel tank rather quickly.
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
The Ford Everest is nowhere near as powerful but it is a good tow vehicle, with a much more friendly fuel consumption, and it has a well presented cabin with newer infotainment technology. It isn’t as large inside though.
The Toyota Landcruiser is a household name in four-wheel drive circles and its twin-turbo diesel V8 is a fantastic powerful but relatively efficient unit. It’s about as big inside and fantastic off-road.
The Chinese-brand Haval H9 is the budget choice among this group and by far the most underpowered with a four-cylinder petrol turbo engine. But if you’re not towing the recently update driveline will be much more efficient, plus it’s capable off-road and inside is well presented.
- Ford Everest
- Toyota Landcruiser
- Haval H9
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Nissan Patrol is a veteran off-roader and generations past continue to perform duties around Australia towing, touring and heading off track. Of course, they're nearly all diesel powered, and this petrol-only V8 fuel guzzler won't get a look in from that crowd. But if you don't care about driving to Woop Woop and your credit card is ready to make friends at the servo this one of the most polished and enjoyable models for everything between.
- Interested in buying Nissan Patrol? Visit our Nissan showroom for more information.