Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Patrol Prowess

The first Nissan Patrol rolled from the assembly line in the Japanese factory close 70 years. The most recent model — only the second facelift of the Y62 model introduced in 2010 — is only the sixth generation in the Patrol range over the past seven decades. However, do not for even one-second think of this vehicle as “old”! 

Having driven it during the past week, I can attest to the latest technology, drive comfort (for both driver and passenger) and the sheer driving pleasure this Nissan brings. Various subtle and not so subtle changes ensure a fresh new look for the Patrol. Main exterior changes include the Nissan V-motion grille, interpreted in a new way for SUVs. Along with the new boomerang-shaped LED headlights, the revised grille highlights the Patrol’s robust and angular front. At the rear, the new taillights also sport the boomerang shape. These are integrated along with shine chrome nameplate end sequential rear turn indicators, a first for a Nissan vehicle. The newly designed 18″ alloy wheels add to the vehicle’s formidable presence.

Moving on to the interior changes, its clear that attention to detail and luxury was not spared; while also improving the overall safety to keep your connected along the way. There is an 8″ colour touch information screen, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, climate control, Intelligent Key with push-button start and remote keyless entry. A 13-speaker Bose premium sound system complements this and with the extra reduction in cabin noise and vibration, the results are excellent! For the kids, there are a multi-screen DVD entertainment system, 8″ rear-seat entertainment, independent wireless headphones and remote-enabled passenger vehicle infotainment.

The fresh new look comes with loads of safety updates which includes Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system. The latter warns the driver of risks that lie beyond the driver’s forward field of vision. On top of that is the Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Driver Alert, which analyses the driver steering behaviour to signal and alert if signs of drowsiness or inattention are detected. Responsive braking is provided by a 4-wheel disc brake system with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Futhermore, the 4-wheel limited-slip diff (LSD) and a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system comes standard and automatically prevents the vehicle from sliding sideways on slippery road surfaces when changing lanes or negotiating a curve. An engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system provides smooth steering.

Under the bonnet, Nissan stuck to its 5.6L V8 monster. The naturally aspirated behemoth pumps out 298kW of power and 560Nm of raw torque. Driving it is an absolute pleasure. The Patrol is responsive and thanks to its engine-speed-sensitive and power-assisted steering, it handles much easier in town than one would expect from a vehicle that exceeds 5m in length! The suspension is just right, there is not much body roll and going off-road you still get out not feeling like a Martini ordered by Bond – shaken not stirred.

The towing capacity of 3500kg means you can pretty much tow any caravan or boat you like without any problems. The big V8 will handle it all with ease. Off-road, the vehicle performed very well with an approach angle bigger than expected – at over 34˚ and the departure angle just over 26˚ with a break over sitting at a decent 24.4˚.

The 4WD drive system includes multiple driving modes from Sand to Rock. It is very intuitive, making the off-road experiences effortless.

As much as I love the big V8 it does, however, comes with a significant drawback: high fuel consumption. The 14.4L/100km claimed by Nissan was only achievable on long open roads, with the big V8 burning through fuel at an alarming rate when driving in town. I saw figures of over 20L/100km at some points. But at a selling price of around R1 500 000.00, you shouldn’t be complaining if you treat yourself with one of these vehicles.

Overall, I loved the vehicle and to coin Nissan’s marketing talk it certainly “overthrows ordinary”. It is well laid out inside and looks impressive, and with so few on the road, you certainly turn heads driving it. I would also love to take it on a long trip to the bush or test it in the dunes of the Namib. It would be a fantastic overlanding vehicle, ready and able to take you on any adventure into Africa. Petrol card please, Nissan…!

*Priced from R 1 530 900, it comes with a 3-year/90 000km service plan and warranty period spanning six years or 150 000km.

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