Nissan’s Y62 Series Patrol has a new bum, new face and a whole lot more gear to go with it. And boy is it a big boi. A real chonker.
You are going to have to forgive me if I tell you that I give no hoots, let alone multiple hoots, about the Nissan Patrol vs The World argument. Or the sub-arguments of Patrol vs Land Cruiser. That one in particular bores me to tears.
Now, I know people have strong feelings about it. I do not. If you’re here for strong feelings about wheel articulation and live axles and whatever else, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a review of the 2020 Nissan Patrol for the vast majority of the people who will buy it and drive it on the road. Mostly.
So anyway, the 2020 Nissan Patrol is a top and tail of the tried and true Y62. The Patrol name has been kicking around for the best seven decades. The Y62 has been with us for almost ten years, so it was about time it got a new look. And some safety gear. Lots of safety gear.
How much is a 2020 Nissan Patrol and what do I get?
Nissan Patrol Ti – $76,990 + ORC
Nissan Patrol Ti-L – $92,790 + ORC
Look, $92,790 is a lot of money for a Nissan, I’ll grant you that. And a nearly $16k belt over the standard Ti is a whole Kia Picanto. I was not sure what to expect when I clambered in but got a bit of a shock.
Your money nets you 18-inch alloy wheels, a 13-speaker stereo, multi-zone climate control, cameras everywhere, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, rear entertainment screens (with headphones, dontcha know), DVD player, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, electric and heated/cooled front seats, power everything including tailgate, leather everywhere, sat nav, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, sunroof and a full-size alloy spare.
The stereo is the mildly updated but still deeply sad Nissan head unit. It’s not as bad as Toyota’s, but it’s not great, either. It is better to use apart from the DAB interface which is infuriating, but plug in your phone via USB and you’ll be okay. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and, frankly, that ain’t right. Then again, arch-rivals don’t have it either, so maybe I’m the jerk here.
Safety – no rating
Apart from the car’s appearance, the focus of the MY20 update has been adding safety gear to the Ti and topping up the Ti-L.
The Patrol arrives with six airbags (the curtains go all the way to the third row), ABS, stability and traction controls, blind spot monitoring with active assist, around-view cameras, forward AEB, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and reverse cross traffic alert.
The Ti-L has a thing called Intelligent Rear View. No, it’s doesn’t look for smart people’s bottoms – seriously, that would be creepy – but like Range Rover’s rear camera, means you can see out the back without everyone’s heads in the way.
You get top-tether points in the second and third rows for a total of four as well as two ISOFIX points in the middle row.
Warranty and servicing
5 years/unlimited km
Capped-price servicing: 3 years/$3236
5 years roadside assist
The warranty is a good one and befits a car of this price – you’ll struggle for a premium brand to offer you a five year warranty, with Mercedes acting as the Lone Ranger on that front.
The capped-price servicing seems inviting, but there are several catches.
The first is that service intervals are an irritating six months/10,000km.
The second is that the program doesn’t run as long as the warranty.
Third is the cost – $376, $577, $392, $860, $407 and $624. So that’s $3236 for three year’s motoring.
Just as annoying over at Toyota is the short service interval, but each service is no more than $300 for the first two years, so that’s $1200 for two years. And the Toyota is a diesel, which generally cost more to fettle.
Basically, the Nissan costs as much as a BMW or Mercedes of similar size. At least it’s cheaper to buy and the capped servicing regime is longer than its main rival.
Look and feel
Looks big, feels big, is big. That’s no surprise or genuinely newsworthy comment, but it’s difficult to understand the scale of the Patrol unless you’re standing next to it. It’s an absolute monster and looks everyone one of its – get this – 2754 kilograms.
It does maintain a vestigial ruggedness in profile, but the wheels are hardly go-anywhere looking. It seems to me the the designers were absolutely going for the Range Rover vibe on the Ti-L. Which is fine, but it needs a set of 22-inch rims for that.
I am a massive fan of the new front end. I love the new headlights – 52 separate LEDs – and the way the Ti-L’s bumper frames them. It’s almost aristocratic and I like it.
The rear is fairly inoffensive apart from being as imposing as the north face of the Eiger. Squint a bit and it looks like a full-face hemet staring back at you. Or an Imperial Stormtrooper variant.
The interior is massive, as the 5175mm length suggests. You can see there’s plenty of room in the back – two six-foot-three teenagers lounged about and the third row os also genuinely useful, if a bit upright and tight for taller folks.
Each row gets a pair of cupholders for a total of six and there are air vents all the way to the back. Nice.
The wood on the dash is pretty horrible (and also not wood), it would be much nicer if it wasn’t there. It also doesn’t fit the futuristic look of the new front end. You do get two USB ports and a 12V powerpoint up in front (and in the boot).
Stuff worth knowing
It’s 5175mm long, 1995mm wide and 1940mm high, so you’ll just get under those roof scrapers at shopping centres. It weighs almost three tonnes at 2812kg.
You can tow 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked, with a maximum towball load of 350kg.
Gross vehicle mass (GVM) is rated at 3500kg and the gross combination mass (GCM) a staggering 7000kg. Maximum front axle load is listed at 1650kg and the rear at 2030kg.
Ground clearance is a vertigo-inducing 272mm (which means a big climb up, thank goodness for the grab handles and steps). Wading depth is an impressive 700mm.
For the off-road fans – and this is not an off-road review – the approach angle is 34 degrees, rampover 24.4 and departure 26.2.
The huge wheelbase of 3075mm means a lazy 12.5 metre turning circle.
Another of the key criticisms from the LandCruiser mob is the Patrol’s suspension setup. Apparently, off-road performance is dependent on horrific on-road ride and dynamics. The Patrol’s engineers didn’t think so (nor do Range Rover’s, just quietly) and have fitted double wishbones at every corner. While that does skew the Patrol to on-road performance, you have to remember that’s where all of them spend the vast majority of their working lives.
This Patrol also has a clever hydraulic body motion control, both for ride and handling. Acting a bit like air suspension, on road it keeps the body from wallowing all over the place, which would be easy given all that height and weight. It’s uncanny.
The balloony Bridgestone Dueler A/Ts are good for the ride, too, measuring 265/70. Not the greatest off-road tyres, no, but they don’t make a racket and mean that when you turn the wheel on tarmac, the car – by and large – follows where you want to go.
One of the big whinges from the Toyota side of the fence is that the Patrol doesn’t have a diesel option. I don’t care. Why don’t I care?
Because it comes with a 5.6-litre, naturally-aspirated 90-degree V8 that loves to rev. The VK56VD (snigger) spins up 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm.
A seven-speed automatic shifts the gears for you and gets the power out to all four wheels. You get all the usual modes such as Sand, Snow, Rock and on-road.
There is a selectable rear diff lock on the console and hill descent control is present and correct.
Fuel economy – 14.4L/100km (claimed)
I was properly confused after spending some time at the wheel of the Patrol. All this confident talk about its powerplant wasn’t as confident on my first day – the fuel economy display read “6.2”.
It took me ages to work out the cheeky sods at Nissan display in km/L rather than L/100km. So 6.2 km/l is actually over 16.1L/100km. It fell to 19L/100km after not very long.
Still, it does have a 140 litre fuel tank, so you’ll cover a reasonable amount of ground before having to stop for fuel. And you will claw back a lot in the cruise, the Patrol barely ticking over at highway speeds.
You really do know that this is a big fella at all times. It’s the first time in my life that I can remember double-checking the height measurements before heading into a shopping centre car park. And that long, flat bonnet stretches out before you, dominating your forward vision.
What’s beside the front wheels? No idea, better stick my head out and have a look. Thank goodness for all the cameras.
Once you have your bearings and the nosebleed from the altitude clears, it’s a damn comfy place from which to conquer worlds. The seats are definitely US-spec wide and flat but are comfortable despite that.
The steering is super-light, more evidence of US influence, but I found that when I turned the wheel, things happened. Given that what I wanted to happen was the result, that was also pleasing.
The hydraulic suspension is devilishly good at handling the bulk waving around more than a foot off the ground. While even a smaller LandCruiser Prado – or a Kluger for that matter – rolls around all over the place, the good ship Patrol stays quite composed. No, it’s not a McLaren 720S, but acquits itself well.
Wanna know what’s fun, though? Flooring it. The 5.6-litre’s growl may be muted, but it gets the chonker underway like few other large SUVs. Again, it’s no RSQ8, but it gets going with a pleasing roar. The transmission shifts very smoothly and quickly, which is almost out of character for a big off-roader but fits the Patrol’s luxury brief nicely.
It’s hilarious, comfortable, quiet and a dead-set steamroller. I was very pleased I drove this thing because it was unexpectedly fun. I wouldn’t mind throwing it down a few muddy hills and across a river or two, because it feels like it could do anything.
It may not be the ultimate off-roader, but on the road, it’s better than the tall ship that is the LandCruiser.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.