A weekend run to Adelaide and back was on the cards, and the big Nissan is a beaut highway tourer. With its luxuriously appointed and spacious interior, and that powerful V8 engine backed by a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission, the Patrol makes easy work of long-distance drives, and Melbourne to Adelaide passes like a quick trip.
It’s during a solo drive like this when you really appreciate some of the finer features of the Ti-L Patrol. The Bose audio system is a killer; the leather seats are big and comfortable and can be heated or cooled to your liking, depending on the climate; while the active cruise control makes keeping your speed on the right side of the law much easier.
A lot of four-wheel drivers will tell you all these comfort and convenience features are unnecessary and just something else that could wrong in the bush, and when I’m driving my old Land Cruiser I tend to agree with them.
But it’s a case of ‘you won’t miss them until you’ve had them’, and I find I want those features again when getting out of the fully equipped Patrol and into lower spec 4x4s. You might scoff at heated leather seats, but how many of you would buy a new vehicle without air-conditioning or power windows? You won’t miss them until you’ve had them.
One feature I’ve become accustomed to – and one Nissan hasn’t got right – is the voice recognition software for using the phone. I spend a lot of time in cars, and having an easy-to-use Bluetooth phone system is essential and made even better (and safer) with voice-command dialling. But the Patrol’s system never works. It never gets the message and I end up screaming at it in frustration – it’s lucky the unit is integrated into the dash, because I would have thrown it out the window a long time ago.
I reckon it must be a Japanese thing, as the voice command in every Toyota 4x4 I’ve driven is equally as useless and frustrating. Unlike the systems in the Ford Everest and Ranger, Jeeps, and most recently the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, which all work very well, allowing safer use of the phone while driving.
Driving to Adelaide was also the first time we’d done some serious highway miles with the Toyo Open Country R/T tyres fitted, as well as the Ironman roof rack and accessories mounted up top. The car developed a wind noise that seemed to be coming from up top, which was strange as nothing up there had changed or moved since the High Country trip.
I spent the first six hours of the drive trying to pin the annoying whistle down – stopping and adjusting the light bar, moving the awning and playing with the rack itself, but to no avail. It was only when the climate control switched from re-circ to fresh and the note of the whistle changed that it twigged it was something else.
On-road, off-road, and everything in between on 4x4 Shed
Opening and closing each of the windows changed the tune again and revealed that the passenger rear window was cracked a millimetre inside the rubber, and that was where the whistle was coming from. It was such a relief to get back to the quiet cabin which remains rattle-free, even after its recent bush bashing.
The Toyo R/Ts are also quiet on the road, but, along with the roof rack, they didn’t help with fuel consumption. The Patrol slurped 14.31 litres of PULP on its interstate trip. Not too bad, really, when just sitting on the speed limit on the highway.
4x4 Shed Log: 2017 Nissan Patrol Ti-L
Current mileage: 12,614km
Date acquired: Dec 2017
Price: $88,990 + ORC
Mileage this month: 1940km
Average fuel consumption: 14.31L/100km