A raunchy V8, body-on-frame construction and proper off-road credentials are all things the Patrol has going for it, but how does this 4WD stack up in 2022?
While the Toyota Land Cruiser seems to be the large four-by-four hogging the headlines these days, there’s another seriously buff 4WD that’s been around just as long – the Nissan Patrol.
The current Y62 version – only the sixth new Patrol generation in 70 years – has been around for over 10 years now (though it didn’t launch in Australia until February 2013) whereas its arch nemesis – the Toyota Land Cruiser – has just arrived in Australia in all-new 300 Series guise. But that doesn’t mean you should write the Patrol off.
Everyone knows that 300 Series stock is incredibly difficult to get your hands on at the moment, so might it be wise to consider the much less expensive Nissan Patrol over waiting in line for a ’Cruiser?
You’ll definitely be doing your wallet a big favour. The range-topping, seven-seat Patrol Ti-L tested here costs $95,115 (before on-road costs) – an amount that would only buy you a steel-wheeled, cloth upholstered, five-seat Land Cruiser 300 GX ($89,990 before on-road costs).
The eight-seat Patrol Ti ($81,160) is more affordable again – in fact, on price it’s comparable to the smaller Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in top-spec Kakadu trim ($87,807).
If price alone isn’t enough to pique interest in the Patrol, it’s also powered by a smooth 298kW 5.6-litre petrol V8 that is far more energetic and endearing than the Prado’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four. In an emissions-regulated world, maybe this is your last chance to enjoy an old-school petrol V8 in true land-yacht form.
As for appearance, the facelifted Y62 Patrol landed in Australia in February 2020 with its bluff exterior amped by (perhaps a bit too much) chrome detailing and sharp new LED headlights, as well as new tail-lights with sequential indicators. Wearing Moonstone white paint like our test car, Nissan’s Y62 Patrol has all the ‘get-outta-my-way’ attitude you could ever want from a V8 4WD.
The Patrol has little ambition to be more than what it is: a 4WD that measures 1995mm wide, 1955mm tall and tips the scales at over 2.7 tonnes. But when you’re aware of (and willing to work with) those gargantuan figures, the Patrol Ti-L does have its charm.
The jewel in the crown is its decidedly Dubai-spec 298kW/560Nm 5.6-litre direct-injection petrol V8 which is gloriously smooth when ticking around town before opening its lungs to growl from 3500rpm to its 6000rpm redline – all while providing ample grunt for an unladen Patrol.
While the petrol Patrol does lack the Toyota Land Cruiser’s 700Nm twin-turbo-diesel torque wallop, its large-capacity V8 has enough legs to keep it steamrolling towards the horizon.
Teamed with a seven-speed torque-converter automatic with tall sixth and seventh ratios, the Patrol is very relaxing on the highway, yet there’s still plenty of punch off-the-line thanks to a usefully short first gear and full-time four-wheel drive
For all its 4WD purchase, trying to hustle the Patrol on tarmac can be unnerving however. Approach a corner with the big Patrol poised and the front pointing in and it can cover serious ground, but once it’s set up, don’t think about stabbing the throttle too eagerly because the Patrol can flop into understeer at the flick of a switch. This full-frame 4WD requires – and rewards – finesse when attempting to drive briskly on challenging roads.
The couch-like suspension tuning means the Patrol effortlessly deals with choppy dirt roads, and when you near the suspension bump-stops the Patrol’s control is immense – even better than it is at low-speeds.
But on Sydney’s patchily surfaced inner-west roads, rolling around town in the Patrol can be quite tiring – not due to heavy steering because the rack is finger-light, but rather its vast size and the fact it never settles over expansion joints, and therefore constantly jostles its occupants.
The Patrol shines bright off-road, owing partly to the inclusion of full-time 4WD, a low-range transfer case and a locking rear differential. It also features clever aids that automatically select the best settings for sand, mud, and rock-crawling to make off-roading in a Patrol V8 hassle-free.
With 273mm of ground clearance, a 28-degree approach and a 26.3-degree departure angle, the Patrol ought not to get stuck on much. The standard fitment of 265/70R18 all-terrain tyres gives the big wagon decent off-road traction in dry conditions too.
Finally, the safety scorecard on the Patrol, which has not been tested by ANCAP. The Patrol range is equipped with adaptive cruise control, AEB with pedestrian detection and a lane-keep assist program that brakes individual wheels to keep you within the lines.
Traditional safety features such as six airbags including curtain and side airbags are fitted, not to mention the fact you simply tower over other vehicles. There’s also generous 358mm ventilated front disc brakes and 350mm rear discs which provide solid stopping performance considering the Patrol’s 2746kg mass.
The Patrol’s 5.6-litre V8 may sound a little old-school, but it’s actually the cabin that dates this 4WD. That said, a commanding driving position and robust build quality do give the Patrol a certain relaxed confidence.
Yes the controls are scattered almost at random across the centre console, and the 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability (in Australia) and looks small in the context of a 4WD as vast as the Patrol.
There is a CD player though, so you can play lossless audio through the Ti-L’s powerful 13-speaker Bose stereo which goes some way to making up for the lack of smartphone mirroring.
The big-fonted analogue dials mean the fact there is no digital speedo isn’t so bad, though interfacing with the 4.2-inch TFT screen requires the driver to reach forward and operate buttons on the instrument cowl.
The leather-appointed seats are built for someone with a larger frame than mine and aren’t armchair soft, but they are electrically adjustable with lumbar support, heating and fan-cooling – the tiny rotary control for which is almost impossible to see.
And while the mottled wood trim and ruched leather on the door cards aren’t to my taste, the Patrol’s fundamental build quality is outstanding. The solidity of this wagon inspires confidence that over its inevitable 500,000km (or more) life there won’t be cabin rattles to worry about.
Moving into the second row, the expansive Patrol boasts palatial leg and headroom, with a three-position backrest for whatever level of reclination takes your fancy. Additionally, the Ti-L scores screens in the back of the headrests which can play DVDs or other devices through an HDMI input with personal infra-red headphones as well as a separate climate-controlled zone in the rear.
Second-row passengers can even flip the front centre armrest up from behind and grab out an icy cold beverage from the cooled bin. Only the middle seat’s firm and elevated cushion impacts the middle quarters of the Patrol, making it a touch uncomfortable for a fifth passenger to travel in the centre.
The third row isn’t all rosy, with not much legroom available owing to the lack of a sliding second row – even though it is incredibly simple to get in with Nissan’s easy-folding bench. Beneath this Ti-L, the Ti offers a three-wide bench (bringing the total to eight seats like a Kia Carnival) which is unique for Australia in the full-size 4WD and SUV segments.
With the third row stored in the boot floor, the Patrol offers 1413 litres of space which is plenty of room for a week (or month) away providing you keep the total weight below the Patrol’s 750kg payload.
With three rows in action, the 468-litre boot is still bigger than a Hyundai i30 hatch (390 litres).
Understandably, the Patrol is a thirsty old beast with a claimed combined consumption figure of 14.4L/100km. We bested that, recording 14.0L/100km on our test loop, though in subsequent urban driving the computer was reading as high as 20.0L/100km.
Even with our recorded fuel consumption, the 140-litre tank means the Patrol is capable of travelling 1000km without refuelling, and that’s pretty impressive.
Nissan backs the Patrol with a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty in Australia. With the use case of the Patrol, Nissan has set service intervals every six months or 10,000km, which is identical to a Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series.
This is really a preventative measure given the complex 4WD systems, electronics, and the fact that Patrols are often tackling more difficult terrain than your average SUV. The Patrol does feature capped-price servicing and three years or 60,000km of maintenance will set you back $3236.
The Patrol Ti-L is a vehicle that charms across many aspects, and falls shy of being really impressive due to some calibration, tuning and interior presentation issues.
Of course some of this is personal taste, but ruched leather and that woodgrain don’t look quite right in 2022 and the scattered switchgear can be tricky to navigate. Not offering Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in today’s climate is also odd.
Mostly, the negatives fall away when you crack open the throttle and the raunchy bearhug of a 5.6-litre V8 at full noise sends the Patrol’s nose skywards. Add to that the price of entry, and this Nissan looks like amazing value next to a new Land Cruiser.
Ultimately, while the Nissan Patrol’s bones are good, it needs some attention and the tuning of its suspension on-road to make it more than just a fantastic off-roader and touring vehicle, but also a complete and cohesive 4WD.
Toyota Land Cruiser
For the first time since 2007, Toyota has a new-generation Land Cruiser ready to rock – the all-new 300 Series – boasting up-to-date technology, comfort, refinement and driving dynamics without messing with this iconic 4WD’s proven formula
Variant tested Ti-L (4x4)
Key specs (as tested)
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