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New diesel for Nissan’s next Patrol

On Patrol: Nissan is talking with both Renault and Daimler about a diesel engine for its new Patrol.

Nissan mulls diesel options for its next Patrol, to sell alongside current workhorse

17 Jun 2010

NISSAN’S slick new Patrol will be offered with a diesel engine after all, but not in time for the Australian launch of the seventh-generation SUV in early 2011, when the venerable Y61 Patrol will still be going strong Down Under.

The first all-new Patrol in almost 13 years made its global debut at the Abu Dhabi motor show in February, powered exclusively by a new 5.6-litre direct-injection petrol V8 that cranks out a stellar 298kW and 550Nm of torque through a new seven-speed automatic transmission.

But Nissan has now quelled fears that the far more luxurious full-size off-roader will not come with diesel power, which accounts for most large SUV sales in Australia, by confirming a high-tech oil-burner from either Nissan’s global alliance partner Renault or Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is on the horizon.

Nissan Motor Co Australia CEO Dan Thompson told GoAuto that Nissan was talking with both Renault and Daimler about a diesel engine for the new Patrol.

“When we launch it will be with a 5.6-litre V8, knowing full well that diesel is 60 to 70 per cent of the market, because Nissan doesn’t have a suitable engine,” he said.

“(But) the organisation is committed to finding the right diesel option from a lifecycle perspective. It’s early days on the Daimler side and we continue to look at opportunities with Renault.” A next-generation Patrol diesel is not an iron-clad certainty, however, because Nissan Australia will have to establish a unique business case for a right-hand-drive version of the oil-burning wagon, for which it will likely be the only customer worldwide.

12 center imageMr Thompson also confirmed reports the new Y62-series Patrol, which will move significantly upmarket to become a legitimate rival for Toyota’s all-conquering 200 Series LandCruiser (now priced from $77,500), will be sold alongside the long-serving current model, which starts at just $53,190.

The current Patrol wagon has found 28 per cent more customers so far in 2010 to account for a still-healthy 27 per cent of Australia’s large SUV sales segment, which is now officially a two-horse race with the LandCruiser 200 following the discontinuation of Jeep’s Commander and last year attracted more than 11,000 buyers.

Combined with the Patrol utility, sales of which are also up (by nearly 10 per cent) this year, Nissan sold almost 5000 Patrols in Australia last year and has no intention of abandoning the affordable large SUV or 4x4 ute markets.

Indeed, Mr Thompson said the sixth-generation Patrol wagon, which replaced the Ford Maverick-twinned GQ Patrol from 1997 as the GU-series, will continue to be available to hard-core Australian clientele as long as emissions regulations allow.

Echoing Nissan’s move to reintroduce the superseded D22 Navara ute – after only a brief disappearance – as a cut-price workhorse positioned below the new D40 Navara, the existing Patrol wagon and ute should receive a stay of execution until around 2014, when stricter new Euro 5 emissions laws are due.

“The current Patrol’s lifecycle has been elongated and we have every intention to continue with the Y61 if the demand remains there and it is,” he said.

“There’s no reason we wouldn’t keep selling it as long as the market demands it, unless there are regulatory reasons for us to change our investment. It very much goes to Euro 5/6 questions as to how long we will be able to offer it.” As we’ve reported, the MkVII Patrol will come with a host of standard and optional technologies – and therefore pricetags – that will be foreign to GU Patrol owners.

They include all-independent suspension, electronic stability control, six airbags, keyless opening and starting, lane departure warning, hill start assist, hill descent control, tyre pressure monitoring, hydraulic body motion control, radar cruise control, “around view monitor”, a 9.3GB hard drive sound system with full connectivity, a multi-screen DVD entertainment system and “curtain vent” side window air-conditioning.

Although final Australian specifications are now being finalised, all this will be available in a larger, more spacious and more upmarket bodyshell riding on a revised four-wheel drive system driven by the new VK56VD-series V8, which Nissan says will make the next Patrol the most powerful vehicle in its class.

Eclipsing both the 202kW/410Nm 4.7-litre petrol V8 and 195kW/650Nm 4.5-litre diesel V8 engine options in the LandCruiser, Nissan’s new 5.6 V8 will replace the current Patrol’s 180kW 4.8-litre inline petrol six and five-speed auto combination and, at least initially, the trusty 118kW oil-burning 3.0-litre four-cylinder.

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