The Nissan Patrol has for years attracted a loyal band of 4WD enthusiasts. The current model has existed for 16 years and undergone only relatively minor upgrades during that period. It’s become a tried and tested machine for those looking to tackle ‘big red’ or join the grey nomad highway.
Now finally a new breed of Patrol has landed. An entirely new beast that shares absolutely nothing with its almost truck like predecessor.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
Climbing into the mammoth Patrol V8 for the first time requires a carefully planned strategy. Thank goodness for the sidesteps, this machine is enormous. Over five metres long and a tick under two metres wide.
Interior space is approaching tennis court dimensions. The gap between you and the front seat passenger reminded me of Sydney Heads. Over your left shoulder is a cavernous seven or eight seat cabin, we joked about parking this week’s other test car the Mitsubishi Mirage back there.
Push the ignition button and fittingly joining the super size offering is a creamy, meaty V8. At idle it feels like you have a coal-fired power plant at your disposal, under acceleration it’s more like a bullock train. Not neck snapping pace, but sheer, relentless pull.
You would think that dwarfing everything barring trucks and buses would lead to an intimidating drive experience. In actual fact the heavily assisted light steering quickly sees the massive frame shrink around you. With time you find yourself easily darting in and out of traffic with surprising ease.
Newfound plushness brings to the table an excellent interior experience. It feels very high-end and convincingly luxurious. Large swathes of wood grain trim and premium plastics are a consequence of its Infiniti heritage, Nissan’s luxury arm.
Ins and outs
Propelling the Patrol is a 5.6 litre 298kW V8. If Newton Metres are your thing then 560Nm will induce a knowing nod. The engine is what the Nissan Altima is based on for the Australian Supercar series.
A 7-speed auto distributes all this power with ease. It’s precise and always up to the task, although perhaps a little hesitant to downshift at times. Manual shift mode can also be selected.
EFTM spent hours behind the wheel of the top spec Ti-L and base ST-L models.
Standard features include full-time four wheel drive with selectable multi terrain options – gravel, sand, snow and rock. 6-speaker stereo, parking sensors, reversing camera and privacy glass.
But over the ST-L, Ti-L models leave you wanting for little.
Centrepiece is Nissan’s Body Motion Control suspension (HBMC). The system automatically tames excess body roll keeping the near three tonne Goliath bolt upright through corners. While a noticeable and worthy inclusion, it doesn’t equate to a massive advantage.
The technology red carpet really starts to roll out with Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Warning and prevention, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Brake Assist even a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The higher spec model also misses out on one extra seat, having a total of seven ensuring the comfort of all.
There’s heated and cooled leather accented seats, with eight-way power adjustable drivers seat and memory, 6 way for the passenger, tilt and telescopic electrically adjustable steering column, satellite navigation with 3D mode and a larger 8″ display, two second row 7″ entertainment screens with headphones and remote, Bose audio system with 13 speakers with a 9.3 Gb music hard drive, and a cooled centre console box.
Exterior enhancements include a sunroof, power tailgate, automatic Xenon headlights, fog lights and folding heated outside mirrors.
Off The Beaten Track
EFTM took the Nissan Patrol V8 through two extremes, mud and snow.
There seems to be a level of cynicism surrounding the new Patrol’s ability off road, particularly from owners of the rugged and more agricultural existing model (Y61).
We can report the Patrol V8 slays just about any situation you could reasonably throw at it.
Perhaps foolishly on one occasion we piloted the Ti-L through an unexpectedly deep and rutted mud hole. After engaging 4 L we plunged deep into what for a moment seemed impassable, waves of mud rose over the bonnet onto the windscreen. But with steady throttle application the Patrol miraculously surged growling out of the quick sand without a second thought.
Seconds later our travelling companion attempted the same crossing in a 2009 Nissan Navara, it stopped dead in its tracks completely surrounded downed by syrupy mud that even flooded the cabin. The Patrol retrieved the marooned Navara via tow rope with ease.
In the Alpine region of Australia the ST-L also ploughed an effortless path. Selecting the ‘Snow’ mode sees the 4WD system calibrated perfectly for icy loose traction conditions.
For enthusiasts the Patrol V8 has an approach angle in degrees of 34.1, departure is 25.9. Ground clearance sits at 283mm.
Off road The Patrol V8 with all its electronic systems working in harmony makes an average driver look semi professional.
The Patrol V8 has the ability to make Toyota Prados, Jeeps, Land Rover’s etc look like Suzuki Vitara’s.
Size wise it has no equal.
It’s a staggeringly impressive machine that will blow the minds of mates and neighbours alike.
But there are some glaring drawbacks as large as its hulking presence…
The hip pocket
Owning something that’s more at home in the oil rich Middle East comes at a price. Prices start a $82,000 for the ST-L. The ongoing older diesel model is $28,000 less! The mid range Ti model hits $92,850 while the range topping Ti-L is $113,990.
Even more painful is the potential for obscene fuel efficiency. On a 1300Km round trip from Sydney to Thredbo we managed 14.9 l/100 not bad against the claimed 14.5. However heavy off road use or utilising its 3.5 tonne towing capacity will see this figure sky rocket past 20 l/100 quite easily.
A 140 litre fuel tank equates to over $200 per fill at the bowser. Expect a range of around 700 – 800 km’s. Only 95 octane and above fuel is tolerated.
Unless you own an orchard of money growing trees the Patrol V8 is not for you.
EFTM Rubber Stamp.
Up until now we have ignored the giant elephant in the room, no diesel option. There’s little point arguing this point, in Australia we simply don’t have the bargaining power to argue for one. The Patrol V8 exists purely for the US and Middle East markets, it is what it is.
As a machine and feat of engineering EFTM grants the 2013 Nissan Patrol its inaugural Distinction Rubber Stamp! Compared to the price you’ll pay for the big European rivals, it’s actually a bargain.