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Car reviews - Nissan - Patrol - Ti 5-dr wagon

Our Opinion

We like
Ride, refinement, steering, handling, off-road prowess, interior space and comfort, build quality, performance, engine note
Room for improvement
Styling inside and out, heavy fuel consumption, inexcusable lack of sat-nav

Gallery

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Nissan logo4 Mar 2013

Price and equipment

NISSAN has departed from the utilitarian, rough-and-tumble style of its Y61 Patrol, which lives on as the brand’s less expensive diesel option in similar style to the D22 and D40 Navara utes.

Instead, the Japanese company has clearly pitched the new eight-seat Y62 Patrol in direct competition with petrol variants of Toyota’s LandCruiser 200.

The $92,850 Ti variant tested here costs $1640 less than the equivalent 200-series LandCruiser VX and $3050 lower than the diesel-powered Land Rover Discovery HSE.

Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, eight-way electric front seat adjustment, height and reach adjustment for the leather multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone climate-control, cruise control, an electric glass sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth telephony and a trip computer.

A seven-inch colour screen controlled by a set of buttons and a rotary controller is linked with a single-disc CD/MP3/DVD player that can store 2GB of music is iPod compatible.

Underneath is speed-sensitive power steering and a clever motorsport-derived Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension system.

This replaces traditional sway bars and shock absorbers with a fluid-filled network of pistons, pipes and accumulators that both reduce body roll and increase wheel articulation.

Interior

INSIDE the Patrol is better than outside. We do not usually comment on a vehicle’s styling but we dislike its slabby, flabby, strangely rounded look that is also slightly ostentatious and tacky.

The huge external dimensions (it is 5140mm long, 1995mm wide and 1940mm high) make the Y62 bigger than a LandCruiser 200 and yield plenty of interior space, including limo-like legroom for the centre row and respectable amounts of space for the three-seat third bench.

Yes this thing seats eight, perfect for the fertile or the popular. Although potential breeding partners or friends may be put off by the looks.

The Patrol is a comfortable, quiet place to be. Everything feels solid and well made, but we were not convinced by the swathes of wood trim and the only available colour scheme is 90s bachelor pad black.

The seats are like vast armchairs and although the number of storage options is limited, what does exist is of the large variety, such as the door bins, glove-box and bin beneath the central arm-rest (featuring a handy two-way lid that can be opened by centre row occupants).

We tested the Patrol during hot weather and its powerful air-con system cooled down that black interior in no time, helped by activating the rear vents that blow cool air across the windows, killing heat from the hot Australian sun before it enters the cabin.

Apart from serving as a display for the excellent reversing camera, the Patrol’s central screen is a bit pointless in that there is no sat-nav, a glaring omission given it is available on the $28,900 Pulsar Ti.

Ironically for such a thirsty vehicle, the screen’s primary use appears to be displaying – in numerous formats – how much fuel the 5.6-litre V8 is slurping, in addition to readouts on the multi-function trim computer in the instrument pack.

Said trip computer (between the easy to read dials) is a bit clunky and dated and while we’re complaining, the indicators have no lane-change function, we dislike the old-school foot-operated parking brake and the massive centre row head restraints spoil what is otherwise good visibility.

Folding down the rear seats to turn the Patrol into a luxury van is easy, as is access to the rearmost row, helped by the centre row’s fold and tumble action.

Engine and transmission

BAD news. The Patrol devours fuel from its 140-litre tank like there is no tomorrow, while making tomorrow less likely given the prospect of climate change and international unrest once the crude oil runs out.

Officially it consumes 14.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Mainly suburban driving resulted in an average approaching 20L/100km, off-roading caused it to gulp an astonishing 30L/100km and during an hour of driving in city congestion, the trip computer reported upward of 40L/100km.

On a relatively flat freeway run at a constant 100km/h we saw an agreeable 10L/100km.

Be in no doubt, this thing will require regular $200 fill-ups of 95 RON premium unleaded, so get saving those supermarket dockets.

But the engine is an absolute gem, emitting an exotic V8 howl without ever being intrusive and packing plenty of punch in a smooth, effortless and refined manner.

It means the Patrol is always sprightly and responsive and has more than enough go for hauling this almost three-tonne beast across off-road obstacles.

Tackling a set of sweeping turns in third gear it positively whizzes along, with instantaneous responses that can only come from a powerful, free-revving naturally aspirated V8.

The seven-speed automatic transmission isn’t bad either, with quick shifts where required and blending seamlessly into the background during relaxed driving.

It does get a bit confused when trying to hustle along a bendy back-road, but the manual override works well and elicits a sporty blip of the throttle on down-changes.

Ride and handling

HAVING recently driven the all-new Range Rover, the Patrol stacks up impressively well in the ride and handling department, especially this Ti variant with its fancy suspension system.

Attack a set of fast, sweeping bends and the Patrol feels more composed than the Rangie, and the speed-sensitive steering that is soft and fluffy round town becomes perfectly weighted, brilliantly direct and pin-point accurate – better than the Range Rover’s woolly feeling helm.

Negotiating gravel tracks at speed revealed a surprising nimbleness and adjustability on the throttle, with powerful brakes, rock-solid stability and loads of grip building confidence.

It all makes the Patrol feel much smaller than it is and is truly impressive for any SUV, let alone one this big.

The stability control system can get a bit intrusive, slowing the vehicle down rather than just helping keep it on the desired line but let’s face it, it is better to be safe than sorry in a big, hefty top-heavy vehicle.

Ride quality is pretty much spot on, ironing out almost all undulations and exhibiting none of the small bump shudder the Range Rover’s otherwise wonderfully wafty air suspension transmits into the cabin.

Despite continuing with a separate chassis design, it blows other hardcore off-roaders – that’s you, LandCruiser – into the weeds.

We were able to go off-road in absolute comfort and the Patrol’s imperious indifference to obstacles just made everything look and feel so easy.

So easy in fact that we fear it is all to easy to get out of one’s depth while off-roading. One track we encountered in Bunyip State Park on Melbourne’s eastern fringes provided two routes up a steep incline: a rock face or deep bulldust.

Alone on a hot day with no phone reception and stark reminders of the 2009 bushfire all around, we did not want to risk getting stuck and chickened out.

Climbing out of the Patrol to spot a line back down the hill we realised just how easy the vehicle had made this ascent feel – we found it hard to stand up and harder to make our shoes grip the surface.

The only ways out were to back into a turnout made of similar bulldust or reverse all the way.

Negotiating the turnout proved problematic – the Patrol proved no problem manoeuvring on the fine sand but its sheer size and reduced ground clearance caused by the side steps meant reversing was the only option.

So we can happily report the Patrol’s hill descent control function works great in reverse.

Safety and servicing

THE Y62 Patrol has not been tested by ANCAP.

All variants come with six airbags – the curtain bags extend along all three seating rows – anti-whiplash front head restraints, electronic stability and traction control, hill start assistance, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Servicing is every six months or 10,000km and under the MyNissan capped price servicing scheme, scheduled maintenance costs from $337.24 for minor intervals, with major intervals alternating between $555.32 and $766.71, while the 60 month/100,000km service costs $1140.26.

Verdict

NISSAN has again impressed us with its engineering prowess and ability to imbue its vehicles with an unshakeable sense of solidity.

As much as we love the fantastic V8 in the Y61 Patrol for its fantastic sound effects, smooth power delivery and effortless nature we question the logic of offering this as sole engine option.

Even people rich enough to buy luxury cars with six-figure price tags dislike paying for fuel – Audi has dropped petrol from its A8 limousine and most Range Rovers sold are diesel.

But apart from that, the new Patrol significantly raises the bar at its price point for its excellent combination of road manners and ruggedness, even showing the standard-setting Range Rover a thing or two in some areas.

That is not praise we give out lightly, so well done Nissan. Can’t wait for the facelift though.

Rivals

1. Land Rover Discovery: $68,900-$129,900 plus on-road costs. The long list of awards speaks for itself. As the Brits put it, the best 4x4 by far. Refined, brilliantly packaged, feels special inside, has efficient, refined drivetrains and goes further off-road than most., 2.

Toyota Land Cruiser 200: $77,490-$118,490 plus on-road costs. The Patrol’s main rival with bullet-proof reputation and prodigious off-road ability but road manners and interior packaging are a bit last century.

Specs

Make and model: Nissan Y62 Patrol Ti
, Engine type: 5.6-litre V8 petrol
, Layout: Four-wheel drive
, Power: 298kW @ 5800
, Torque: 550Nm @ 4000
, Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
, Fuel consumption: 14.5L/100km
, CO2 rating: 343g/km
, Dimensions: 5140mm long/1995mm wide/1940mm high/3075mm wheelbase
, Weight: 2785kg
, Suspension: Independent double wishbone with hydraulic body motion control system
, Steering: Speed sensitive rack and pinion
, Price: $92,850

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