The Nissan Patrol gets a facelift which is a good enough reason as any for crankandpiston to travel to Jordan and put it through its paces.[Not a valid template]
Travelling to Jordan for a facelift would probably be discouraged by your medical adviser. Well, unless your medical adviser was a self-certified car nut, realised you were talking about the latest incarnation of the Nissan Patrol and had the opportunity to drive one across some of the most beautiful scenery the Middle East has on offer. From the lowest elevation on Earth – the Dead Sea at 427 metres below sea level – to the country’s highest mountain – Jabal Umm ad Dami at 1,854 metres – and most places in between, Jordan is filled with stunning locations mainly consisting of the raw & rugged landscape variety. Where better to put Nissan‘s ‘Hero of All Terrain’ through its paces.
Stretching back 63 years, the Nissan Patrol lineage began with the – kinda-looked-like a Willys Jeep – 4W60. Since then, successive generations have always had a common utilitarian solidity suitable for off-roading, sand drag racing and invading countries. This peaked with the previous – fifth generation – Y61 Patrol that laid waste to Lamborghini on the street while laughing at off-road adversity. In no small part was this due to possibly the greatest inline-six cylinder engine to ever find itself lodged in a 4×4 – the legendary TB48DE. The other reason was that the Y61 Patrol had an air of ain’t care about it, kicked ass indiscriminately and was the Chuck Norris of off-roaders. It was not from Belgium. It did not use moisturizing cream. It never trained in ballet.
All this changed somewhat when – in 2010 – the sixth generation Y62 entered the scene and changed the Patrol’s classification from mid-size off-roader to full-size SUV. Suddenly, the key words were luxury, comfort and styling and an extremely non-Chuck Norris focus on interior ambience complimented with frilly fineries and fripperies. This latest mid-life facelift has taken that further still with abundant – GCC-friendly spec – plasti-chrome trimmings and tan leather interior resembling camel hide. While the most important upgrade is certainly the addition of headlight washers, it is worth mentioning the new steering wheel. It features – wait for it – ‘wood’. It turns out that a common complaint leveled against the Y62 (pre-facelift model) was that regular use of hand sanitiser (!) by the owners was making the all-leather wheel prematurely age. Yup, Mr. Norris just phoned and cancelled his order.
But hang on Chuck, hear me out. Nissan carried out extensive surveys with Patrol owners and came to the realisation that we all kinda secretly knew. Only a small percentage of Patrols ever see active service on the off-road battlefield. Even fewer see frontline duty. While the legend has most certainly been created by those pioneering few – that launched their Patrol from the steepest dunes with reckless abandon – the reality is that most take their Patrol to the shopping mall. The feedback delivered to Nissan was that Patrol owners wanted more. More comfort. More luxury. More space. More tech. More quality materials. More everything including more wood on the steering wheel because of the great concern of leather dilapidation on the leather caused by hand sanitiser.
Nissan dutifully delivered a Patrol with more but they haven’t lost the plot and gone all Belgian ballet dancer on us. The core DNA of the ‘Hero of All Terrain’ is not only still there, but has been built upon to produce the best (Nissan rated) Patrol yet. In VK56VD guise, its 400hp and 560 newton-metres worth of torque will propel its considerable weight – which easily tips three tonnes if you have a a few passengers on board – with much more ease than a TB48DE-equipped Y61 ever could. And with less fuss. Sure, it lacks the gruff, acoustic personality of the 4.8-litre straight-six but I suspect that is down to driver cocooning in sound insulation and exhaust silencers. Order up those aftermarket straight through pipes, release some ponies and bask in that 5.6-litre, naturally aspirated V8 goodness. Even if you are just using it for mall runs.
The new Patrol’s ability on-road is unquestionably a major advancement over the older generation. It is smoother, faster, less agricultural and, despite being on a gargantuan scale, is an effortless machine to drive. It will traverse speed bumps and potholes with equal nonchalance and will corner flatter than any full-size SUV has a right to. This is mainly due to the HDMC – Hydraulic Motion Control – system which, combined with four-wheel independent suspension, offers a new level in comfort and control on those mall runs when the road surface is less than desirable. This also comes in to play on sandy or rugged terrain – offering advanced stability – should you be the type of Patrol driver who ventures off-road.
In Nissan’s quest to produce a Patrol with more they haven’t forgotten about the ‘Hero of All Terrain’ title that the new boy has to live up to. Rear differential lock, helical LSD, active brake limited slip, hill start assist and hill descent control might be superfluous on a shopping trip but, combined with a variable 4×4 mode select switch, the Patrol is ready for just about anything. Extensive testing has been carried out in the Middle East ensuring the new Patrol is ready for action, however, the Chuck Norris seal of approval cannot be given until we point the Patrol at some local sand dunes and report back our findings.
The personality may have changed – and the repackaged Patrol might concern itself a little too much with luxury and comfort – but its ability proved faultless both on road and our short off-roading stint over rocky terrain in Jordan. We also didn’t have to worry about the destructiveness of hand sanitiser on the steering wheel which is always a bonus.
|Engine:||V8 / 5552cc|
|Power:||400hp @ 5800rpm|
|Torque:||560Nm @ 4000rpm|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed automatic with manual mode / four-wheel drive|
|Front suspension:||Independent double wishbone with HBMC|
|Rear suspension:||Independent double wishbone with HBMC|
|Brakes:||Ventilated disc brakes|
|Wheels:||20-inch front and rear|
|Tyres:||275/60 R20 All season|