2018 Nissan Patrol V8 review

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MY18 Nissan Patrol

Priced From $71,990Information

Overall Rating

0

4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

2 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars

Technology

4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProHuge cabin; powerful engine; very capable off road.

  2. ConHeavy fuel use; needs plenty of parking room.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Nissan Patrol Ti (4x4) 4D Wagon

What stands out?

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The Patrol Y62, to give it its full in-house code name, is very different from every Nissan Patrol that preceded it. This Patrol has a big V8 engine that gives it exceptional performance. As well, its unusual and technically advanced suspension combines on-road handling impressively with off road ability. The Patrol has a luxurious and very roomy cabin with at least seven seats, and a sophisticated dual-range four-wheel drive system.

What might bug me?

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How much money you spend on petrol for your Patrol. That big V8 chews fuel at what can be an alarming rate. And Nissan recommends you run it on premium petrol, which costs more than regular. The extremely large fuel tank means you don’t have to refuel very often, but when you do fill it from near empty it’s a big hit: roughly $190 for premium petrol at $1.40 a litre.

(While the engine gives its best on premium, it will run satisfactorily on regular petrol.)

How hard you have to work to park the Patrol in car-parking stations or on narrow streets. The Patrol is big even by large 4WD standards.

What body styles are there?

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Five-door SUV-style wagon only, with seating for up to eight in three rows. (The more expensive of the two Patrol variants, the TI-L, seats only seven.)

The Patrol has an automatic 4WD system that engages drive to all four wheels if and when the road becomes slippery. If 4WD is not needed, the Patrol drives just the rear wheels. As an alternative for off-road use, you can engage 4WD permanently by turning a dial. To select low-range gearing, which makes it easier to drive very slowly off road, you stop and then turn the dial a second time.

The Patrol is classified is an upper large SUV, lower priced.

What features do all versions have?

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Proximity key entry and start, which means you can unlock the car and drive away without handling the key (provided you have it nearby in a pocket or bag). To start the engine, you push a button.

Sidesteps, to help you get in and out of the car.

A reversing camera, and cruise control.

Tilt and reach steering wheel adjustment. Bluetooth phone connectivity, and controls on the steering wheel for your phone and the sound system.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen display, with satellite navigation. An audio system with an AM/FM radio, a CD and DVD player, Bluetooth audio streaming, a hard drive (for music storage), and USB and iPod ports.

Three-zone climate control, so that the driver, front-seat passenger and rear passengers can individually set their desired cabin temperatures. A sunroof.

Three rows of seats, all trimmed partly in leather. Eight-way powered adjustment for the front seats.

Headlights that switch on automatically when it gets dark, and windscreen wipers that operate automatically when it rains.

Shiny 18-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare, and tyres with notably high sidewalls (tall sidewalls are less fashionable and sporty looking, but they are more suitable for off-road driving than the low-profile tyres commonly fitted to expensive 4WD vehicles). There is also a system that warns you if one or more of the tyres is losing air pressure.

Front and rear parking sensors, to warn you of obstacles close to the car. An array of external cameras that provide different views, including a bird’s-eye view, around the car. You can scroll through which of these displays on the screen.

A rear differential lock, which you can switch on from the driver’s seat to help the car go further off road. You can also optimise the 4WD system for Rock, Sand or Snow.

Six airbags, and electronic stability control. (For the placement of airbags, and more on the Patrol’s safety, please open the Safety section below.)

The Patrol comes with a three year, 100,000km warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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There is only one engine available in a Patrol Y62, a very powerful and technically advanced petrol V8. It comes from a family of Nissan V8s that has been enormously successful in motorsport, particularly in events such as the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race – where you need exceptional durability as well as large amounts of power.

Unfortunately the Patrol is a very big and heavy vehicle, and so despite the sophistication of its engine a lot of fuel is used to get it moving and keep it moving. In the official government test it uses 14.4 litres/100km (city and country cycles combined), but in the real world the average consumption is more like 17 or 18 litres/100km. In stop-start city traffic, or in demanding 4WD conditions, it can drink more than 20 litres/100km.

A seven-speed automatic is the only gearbox available.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Step past the less costly Patrol, the Ti, and spend more for a Patrol Ti-L and you get powered rather than manual adjustment for the steering wheel, and a memory that can store two people’s adjustments for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and exterior mirrors. The Ti-L also has a better sounding, Bose-branded, audio system with 13 rather than six speakers, and two 8-inch DVD screens in the rear of the cabin for watching movies or playing games. Storage in its centre console is chilled, for keeping drinks or food cool. The tailgate is power-operated. Headlights are extremely bright Xenon units rather than halogen, and there are lights that illuminate the ground under the doors to help you avoid stepping into a puddle or mud.

The 2018 Nissan Patrol Ti-L gained Nissan’s Intelligent Rear View Mirror (I-RVM). This looks like a normal mirror, but, if the view through the rear window is obscured by passengers or cargo, you can flick a switch so it shows an LED video display providing an unobstructed view of the road behind while driving. The image comes via a high-definition camera mounted at the rear of the vehicle, which also filters out sun and headlight glare.

The Ti-L also has a suite of active safety features comprising Active cruise control, Forward collision warning, Lane departure warning and prevention, and Blind spot warning and prevention. (For more on these systems, please consult the Safety section below.)

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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In the more luxurious Patrol Ti-L, the third-row seats accommodate only two passengers, reducing overall seating capacity from eight people to seven.

White and black are the only exterior colours that don’t attract an additional cost.

How comfortable is it?

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It may be a long way up into the Patrol’s cabin but the sidesteps make entry easy even for short people or those not very agile. Once on board you’ll find a big cabin that is luxuriously appointed even in the less expensive Patrol Ti.

From the driver’s seat the Patrol feels big, but the relatively high seating position and low window lines mean that vision out front and off to the sides is good. That helps when parking, often a challenge given the sheer size of the car.

Once underway, the Patrol continues the luxury theme by making quiet, smooth and effortless progress with the lightest touch of the accelerator pedal. The seven-speed automatic changes gear smoothly, too.

There’s very little road noise, and the ride is compliant and comfortable. On smooth roads the Patrol rides like a luxury limousine, and even on bumpy gravel and dirt roads it remains soothing inside and quiet.

Such comfort from such a big and heavy vehicle typically goes with soft suspension that allows the body to lurch (or roll) outward as you enter a corner. The Patrol does very little of this, which makes it both pleasant and easy to drive.

What about safety?

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The Patrol has six airbags: front airbags for the driver and front passenger; side airbags to protect the upper body of the driver and front passenger; and curtain airbags to protect the heads of outer passengers in all three rows of seats.

The Patrol also has electronic stability control, which can help you bring a skidding car back under control. This is mandatory on all new cars.

The standard tyre-pressure monitor is a very useful safety aid that can help prevent a leaking tyre from leading to a loss of vehicle control. Auto-on headlights improve visibility, and the Patrol’s automatic windscreen wipers help reduce fatigue.

The Patrol Ti-L tops off these features with its active safety suite, comprising active cruise control, a forward-crash warning, and blind-spot and lane-departure crash avoidance systems.

Engage the radar-based active cruise control and the Patrol will maintain your set speed on the highway unless it encounters a slower vehicle, when it will follow at a pre-set distance – even braking automatically if necessary. When the road ahead clears, the Patrol will return to the speed you set. (In effect, when you engage the active cruise control you also engage highway speed autonomous braking.)

Forward collision warning alerts you if there’s a risk of your crashing into a slower vehicle or other obstacle in front, by sounding an alarm and flashing a light on the dashboard. It operates above 15km/h, but will not automatically intervene by applying the brakes.

The lane departure warning system alerts you if you have distractedly allowed the Patrol to wander or veer out of its lane. If you do not react to the warning, it will apply brakes automatically on one side in a way that helps steer the car back into line. This operates above 70km/h.

The blind-spot system warns of other vehicles in your blind spots alongside to the rear, and it too can selectively apply the brakes to help avoid a collision, steering you away from the other car.

Rear vision and awareness is also enhanced in the Ti-L by Intelligent Rear View Mirror (I-RVM), which can switch from a normal mirror to LED video display to provide an unobstructed view of the road behind while driving, should the mirror be obstructed by rear passengers or cargo. The image comes via a camera mounted at the rear of the vehicle which also filters sun and headlight glare.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has not rated the Y62 Patrol.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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If you like driving, you’ll love the Patrol. The engine sounds like a V8 race car engine (think V8 Supercars), and brings performance that goes along with the sound. Among similar large 4WDs, the Patrol is comfortably the strongest performer. Overtaking is easy.

The ample propulsion is enhanced by on-road handling that has no right to be as good as it, is given the Patrol’s weight and high-riding stance. Drive the Patrol as hard as you like into and through a corner and it hardy leans over at all. What holds it steady is its unusual hydraulic suspension system, which adds pressure almost instantly to whichever corners of the car need more support, and subtracts it from those that need less.

The Patrol’s light steering also offers good feel, perhaps because the vehicle maintains such a flat stance when cornering. The big wagon steers steadily even on bumpy roads, its independent suspension giving you more stability than the solid-axle designs used on some similar vehicles, which in some conditions demand that you correct the car frequently.

And there’s more good news. That same suspension system can do the same tricks when off-road, allowing each wheel to lift high over a bump or drop right down when there’s a deep hole. The tyres therefore follow the ground accurately, which helps the Patrol provide off-road ability comparable with that of other heavy-duty 4WDs.

How is life in the rear seats?

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Very good. The Patrol’s second-row seat is wide enough to accommodate three adults in comfort, and there’s lots of leg and headroom for tall people. Second-row passengers also get a set of air-conditioning and heating controls.

The third-row seats are unusually roomy as well, and can comfortably take big kids or small adults. The third row seats three people in a Ti, and two in a TI-L. The Patrol has two child-seat anchor points in the second row (both Isofix and top-tether) and one in the third row. Getting small children in and out of second-row seats is easy given the spacious cabin, but a little more difficult for the third row.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The Patrol is excellent for carrying stuff, thanks to its wide and tall body. Even with the three rows of seats deployed there’s room for several medium-sized bags behind the third row. With the third row folded flat, the luggage space is bigger and more useful than that of similar vehicles. With both second and third-row seats folded down the luggage space is huge, although spoiled somewhat as the second-row seats don’t fold entirely flat.

The single tailgate opens vertically to give good access to the luggage space – you don’t have to lean over the lower part of a horizontally split tailgate. On the more expensive Patrol Ti-L, you can open and close the tailgate by pressing buttons located on the key-fob and in handy spots on the car.

The Patrol is rated to tow 3500kg, which matches similar big 4WD wagons and the best of the 4WD dual-cab utes. It has plenty of power for towing very heavy loads.

Where is it made?

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Nissan makes the Patrol in Japan.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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The critical thing you might miss in a Patrol is better fuel-efficiency from a diesel engine, as available in the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series or Land Rover Discovery, for example.

An active safety feature not offered even on the Patrol Ti-L is autonomous emergency braking that operates independently of the cruise control. This could automatically initiate an emergency stop, to avoid a looming frontal collision, at city or highway speeds, and whether or not you have cruise control engaged. The most expensive LandCruiser 200, the Sahara, offers this, for example.

Another is rear cross-path detection, which helps you avoid collisions when reversing out of a parking space or driveway – by warning you if a vehicle is about to cross behind you. This is an option on all Discovery models and on the Sahara, for example.

Standard on a Discovery is height-adjustable suspension, which allows you to lift up the car to traverse very rough ground (or lower it for low-roofed garages and public car parks).

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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The Ti is the pick of the range, given that it is very well equipped and has all the essential mechanical features of the Ti-L. While the Ti-L does bring additional luxury, convenience and safety features, it is significantly more expensive.

Are there plans to update this model soon?

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The Patrol Y62 arrived in Australia in 2011, a year after it was launched in the Middle East and elsewhere. It was new from the ground up, and completely different mechanically from previous vehicles bearing the Patrol name. In mid-2015 the former base model (with conventional suspension) was dropped, and Nissan cut prices of the remaining two models dramatically to their current levels.

The Y62 received a mild facelift for the 2018 model year, which included a refreshed front end featuring a new bumper design with triangular fog light housings, and a new-look grille with horizontal bars. Redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels were another distinguishing feature from the previous model. Equipment upgrades were minor and included a more intuitive, touchscreen-controlled infotainment system and two USB charging points at the rear of the centre console. The more expensive Ti-L model also gained a ‘Intelligent Rear View Mirror” (I-RVM), a virtual aid that helps drivers “see” through the back rows and a full boot via a rear mounted camera. And the 7-0-inch entertainment screens mounted behind the front headrests were replaced with 8.0-inch units.

It is not clear when – or if – Nissan will update the Patrol.