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Diesel engine for Nissan Patrol hangs in balance

Petrol only: Nissan's new Patrol has a class-leading petrol V8 - but no diesel alternative ... yet.

Nissan Australia sweats on Daimler approval for transplant diesel for all-new Patrol

20 Oct 2010

A VITAL diesel engine for Nissan’s all-new Patrol is hanging on negotiations between Nissan and Daimler.

As it stands, the large SUV will be sold only with Nissan’s thumping new 298kW/550Nm direct-injection 5.6-litre petrol V8 when it goes into Australian showrooms in in 2012 – two years after being revealed in the Middle East in February this year.

Back then, Nissan Australia had hoped to launch the new, more upmarket offroader in 2011, by when it had hoped a suitable diesel engine could be sourced from either Renault or Daimler to meet the growing demand for 4x4 oil burners in this country and keep it in step with rivals from Toyota and Land Rover.

Now it seems to be all down to Daimler as the only logical source for the diesel powerplant, and even that could be a bit shaky.

Asked about the chances of a diesel Patrol, Nissan Australia managing director Dan Thompson said last week: “It depends if we have a breakthrough with Daimler.”

Although there has been no mention of a specific engine that Nissan would like to transplant into its new Patrol, the German manufacturer makes a 3.0-litre V6 diesel for its own GL-class luxury offroader, producing 165kW and 510Nm – a step up on the current GU Patrol’s optional 118kW four-cylinder diesel engine.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan Patrol V8. Below: Current Nissan Patrol.

However, that engine would still leave a diesel Patrol’s performance well short of Toyota LandCruiser’s 4.5-litre V8 diesel with 195Kw and 650Nm.

Mr Thompson said Australia had been the only market to put up its hand for a right-hand drive Patrol, and also had been the only country to request diesel.

He said Nissan did not have a suitable diesel engine in its powertrain line-up, leaving it to try to source one elsewhere.

“It is impossible to say when a diesel would be launched,” he said.

The new MkV11 Patrol – a luxury unit packed with technology and comfort features – is being shown in Australia for the first time at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

Designed primarily for the big-ticket Middle Eastern market where buyers like their dune-bashers to be loaded and powerful, the Y62 Patrol will be launched alongside the 12-year-old current model which will continue into the future on a two-model strategy in a similar fashion to Nissan’s split D22/D40 Navara range.

The new model will target Toyota’s 200-series LandCruiser, which starts at $77,414 for the 4.7-litre V8 GXL.

Mr Thompson told journalists in Sydney that the new vehicle would be “worth the wait for right-hand drive development”.

Mounted on a new steel, ladder-frame chassis that Nissan claims has twice the lateral rigidity of the previous model, the bigger Patrol has a freshly styled body that is unlikely to scare off previous owners.

The headline act is the new VK56VD 5.6-litre V8 engine that is the most powerful in the class, including the LandCruiser’s 202kW/410Nm 4.7-litre petrol V8 and Land Rover Discovery’s 5.0-litre 287 kW/520 Nm V8 (but not the Range Rover’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with 375kW and 625Nm).

The Nissan engine is mated to both a seven-speed automatic transmission and a 140-litre fuel tank, the later for long-distance touring.

Nissan is claiming a world first with Hydraulic Body Motion Control System – an automatically adjusting suspension system using oil-filled dampers that keep the big Patrol steady in the corners and on rugged tracks.

Gone is the old solid-axle suspension, replaced with a four-wheel independent set up.

The Patrol puts power to the ground via a new ‘Allmode’ 4x4 drivetrain that, like Nissan’s smaller 4x4 offerings such as the X-Trail, allows the driver to dial up four modes: sand, on-road, snow and rocks.

The eight-seater cabin is said to offer 100mm more rear seat space than the LandCruiser, and – on the show car at least – was loaded with leather and almost every comfort and safety feature including lane departure warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist and forward collision warning system, among others.

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