• Off-road capabilities; spacious & practical cabin; generous ground clearance
  • No ESC; steering feel; lack of torque; four-speed automatic; fuel economy

OUR RATING
5 / 10



Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test

Tough enough for the rough stuff

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Nissan GU Patrol Ti; 3.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; four-speed automatic; wagon – $71,690*

Options:

  • Metallic Paint $495 (Fitted)

CarAdvice Rating:

Words by Matt Brogan Pics by Brendan Nish

Seven days and 1,100 kilometres of gruelling off-road excursions, leisurely highway cruising, plus the mid-week urban assault course, have seen Nissan Patrol prove that, while it’s tough enough for the rough stuff, its on-road manners are akin to that of a rugby player at a five-star hotel.

Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test

The Patrol Ti on test this week may have been the duck’s guts ten years ago, but compared to its modern day rivals now feels rather agricultural, truck-like and unrefined, which considering its price tag and dated options list, can discourage even the most die-hard of Nissan fan.

On the up side Patrol Ti includes a six CD tuner with cassette; remote central locking, power windows and mirrors, electric tilt/slide sunroof, adjustable steering column (tilt only), powered leather trimmed seats, semi-automatic climate control air-conditioning, satellite navigation and a stainless steel bullbar. On the down side it misses out on an auxiliary audio interface, Bluetooth connectivity, full-function trip computer and second-row centre headrest.

Other than that, the cockpit is straight forward with simple instrumentation, big switches and a commanding view of the road, certain to keep things simple when you’re off tackling the great outdoors.

The electrically operated leather seats are reasonably supportive, easy to wipe down and are adjustable in all the usual directions.

Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test

But perhaps in showing its age, some of the Patrol Ti’s functinoality is, by today’s standards, rather compromised. The reversing camera takes too long to engage (31 seconds) and is angled too low to be of any real use – except perhaps for hitching the boat; the remote-control satellite navigation system is painful to negotiate and terribly slow to load; and the trip computer offers distance and time information only, omitting the truly useful information that is fuel consumption.

Which brings us to the big one: the Patrol’s insatiable thirst for fuel.

Powered by a lethargic 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, the Patrol simply isn’t up to task when compared to its more modern rivals. Developing 118kW of power at 3,600rpm and 354Nm of torque from 2,000rpm, the Patrol’s diesel offering is mated to a decidedly lazy four-speed automatic transmission, a combination that sees the full-size 4×4 suffer considerable turbo lag from rest, asthmatic open road performance and glacial overtaking – not to mention fuel economy returns this week of 15.6L/100km.

It’s a shame really, and when you look at the rivals figures – Toyota LandCruiser 195kW/650Nm, Land Rover Discovery 180kW/600Nm, Mitsubishi Pajero 147kW/441Nm, Volkswagen Touareg 176kW/550Nm – justifying the asking price of Patrol is a hard ask. Until that is you head off-road.

Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test

Once off the beaten track the Patrol really starts to make sense with it’s robust torsion beam, coil-sprung suspension and live axle goodness easily tackling the tougher aspects of off-road driving.

This is not a half-baked soft-roader, it’s the last of the real 4x4s boasting approach and departure angles more than adequate for most situations, an ample 210mm ground clearance and generous amount of suspension travel that proved this week ideal for climbing.

There’s virtually nothing we could throw at Patrol that would discourage its course – mud, ruts and moguls were all conquered with surprising ease. Large hills were ironed flat in low-range with Patrol proving just how much can still be achieved without electronic assistance – that said switchable ESC might have been a nice idea.

Perhaps the most reassuring aspect of Patrol’s off-road prowess is that it never broke a sweat, or even come close to feeling like it would – no matter where we took it.

Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test

With flexible seating arrangements, Patrol offers two folding pews in the rear cargo area to offer a total six-passenger capacity. The third-row seats do impinge a little on cargo capacity but can be removed should you so desire.

The middle row seats can fold flat, be slid fore or aft and also offer 50:50 split fold versatility for carrying those cumbersome loads. The cargo area is accessed by a vertically split tailgate that offers the choice of one narrow door or both. The spare wheel is mounted on the tailgate for easy access off-road, or simply when the boot is full of cargo and kids. It does however limit vision slightly when reversing.

Despite its off-road toughness Patrol is still a bit of a mixed bad on-road and around town. It’s slower than it should be, is heavy on fuel and offers light steering feel with a complete lack of tactility on-centre. But if you’re looking for a tough, dedicated and simple machine off-road then from just $51,630*, Patrol might just tick all the boxes. Three-out-of-five.

Ratings:

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:


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NISSAN PATROL BREAKDOWN

Nissan Patrol Review & Road Test
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  • Carl

    Pathetic power, torque and fuel consumption figures out of that engine!!!!!! NOT good enough Nissan!

  • Hung Low

    There is a new model due so I do not know why this model was reviewed as it has not changed much in a decade.
    But it still provides a better value option than a 200 series as a tow car or serious off roader. This 3.0 diesel is one of the worst engines from Nissan and I wonder why they persisted with it for so long, but the new 6 cyl diesel will out torque the 200 series V8 and will be one to wait for. Pity the new Patrol will follow the trend of the 200 series in terms of design which I hate!

    • SC

      Overlander did a giant tow test a few years ago and this thing sucked.
      They towed a 2 tonne large twin axle caravan and the patrol took an eternity
      to get to 100 kph, I don’t think I would rush out and buy one of these as a
      tow car.

  • Simon

    The couple of patrol owners I know have been plagued by expensive repairs.
    In my mind there is real risk in buying one of these and owning it outside warranty. Couple that with inadequate performance and ridiculous fuel consumption the question really begs to be asked.
    WHY?

  • Ford KIng

    0-100 in 14.9 seconds – thats rediculous coupled with its fuel economy! Needs to be completly overhauled!

  • JEKYL & HYDE

    when the 2.9ltr v6 comes (don’t hold your breath but,short of australia and anywhere a wars on,the patrol doesn’t go,so r&d is short) it WILL be a great thing.its just not high on nissan’s list…

  • thetruth

    long time reader first time commentator,

    not sure why this is being reviewed as its a very old car and not a new release. However for those how know a mates mates dog uncles brother that one knew a guy whos sister went out with a bloke that owned a 3.0l patrol that blew up, i have owned two 3.0l patrols. One GU2 and a GU3. The first one did well over 300,000ks with multiple long touring off road trips to remote places of the country. The only problem it had was dirty fuel it picked up at a servo in kings way melbourne. It was completely standard but was unstoppable off road. The second one again did over 300,000ks spent most of its life towing a 2.5t boat through soft sand and never ever missed a beat. My sister has the exact same car as in this review. She lives in the Kimberly north of broome and gives her cars a hiding. Hers is nearly at 200,000ks and has had no problems either.

    The motors that had the problems were the first generation 3.0l motors that in some cases did blow i think it was an oil sump issue and nissan buried their head in the sand and im sure it cost them a lot of money.

    rant over

    • Dlr1

      yeah, early 3 litres had issues with oil sump capacity and oil pressure, later ones had issues with rings and undue wear on the cylinder bores. It may have only affected maybe 10% of vehicles with 90% reliable for 300+ Kms, but it was and still is an expensive fix.

    • bob webb

      you must be the only bloke in Australia who has got 300k`s from a 3ltr. time bomb, and as for stating this motor must of cost Nissan a fortune, how WRONG you are. Nissan wiped its hands of this time bomb, leaving hundreds of OWNERS MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OUT OF POCKET. Incidently, do you still have a 3ltr. Nissan Patrol?.

      • matt

        lol bob ours just ticked over 300k too….. people have to remember they are basicly a euro engine…. they like they’re servicing….. the turbo blew at 257k…. overboosting as described below, but i wouldnt expect a turbo to last much longer then that, ford reckons its ecoboost turbo will only do 200k just to keep in mind

      • Food for thought!

        Bob… wow…. Have a look on used car search and you will find hundreds of 3 liter patrols above 300 000, and shock! even 400 000 Kms. Nissan repaired most of the original 3 liters under warranty, and even out of warranty as they knew it was a problem. If you run a catch can, a boost gauge and a pyro on ANY modern diesel, you will never have any of the big problems some people have experienced.

        If your concerned, avoid the GUIII Model, this was the problem child. That’s many years ago now. As a majority, no-one is having any significant issues with the newer generation motors! I bet no-one told you about the early V8 cruisers consuming oil like it was going out of fashion and chewing through ECU’s for breakfast, seems their first gen engines didn’t come out just right either…

        Hey go buy a 3 liter Prado or a Thailand built Hilux/Thailux, or an 80 000 dollar tin can Cruiser
        I’ve heard Toyotas are extremely good value for money and their drive lines are tough as nails… cough!!

        and as always, Have nice day!

  • Jeremy

    Nothing wrong with the performance figures. You’d get worse from the 4.2 diesel, which is a far superior motor for hardcore off-road stuff. Of more concern are the overboosting issues with the 3.0 intercooled TD. Interestingly, the same 3.0 litre diesel in the Navara without the intercooler doesn’t seem to suffer the same tendancy to turn grenade.

    • The Real Car Fanatic

      Besides, who buys a serious 4×4 for it’s 0-100 sprint time?

    • Dlr1

      Navaras explode too!

  • Daniel

    They’re still selling (and people are still buying) this thing?!

    • LN

      Not really, the sales for the patrol have dropped massively in 08 and 09 but I think a dealership up in far north queensland sell at least 300 of these Patrols a year.

      We get a lot of used 4.2L diesal engine patrol and as soon as they are stocked in the used car lot, they get swooped straight away.

  • AAA

    The Renault’s 3.0 Turbo Diesel engine in the Patrol is unreliable. Why do they have to use a Renault engine? If I wanted an unrealible Renault, I would have bought a Renault.

  • Jeremy

    It’s the last of the real hardcore 4wd’s with separate chassis (for body lifts, if not airbag equipped), low range transfer case and solid axles front and rear.
    The Patrol’s competition in that regard consists of the Land Rover Defender, Toyota Landcruiser 79 series, Suzuki Jimny and Jeep Wrangler.

  • Brett

    I know this is the Patrol review but I am looking at buying a ’09 or 2010 Pathfinder and Car advice haven’t got a review on it and I’m looking for some feedback on them. It will probably be between the Pathfinder and the Mitsubishi Challenger, any feedback would be appreciated.

  • damien

    my 5.4L ba RTV ute makes 175rwkW, and will outperform this piece of crap that makes just 70rwkw when in 2 wheel drive mode.

    not to mention that fact that i have just over 470Nm to play with. and my car costs $10000 now days.

  • Troy

    I owned a GU II Patrol wagon for 2 years, got up to 280,000kms on the clock and sold it (cause i was getting a patrol ute for work). im loyal to the patrol and nothing can beat them off road!!! and isn’t that what you buy them for??? who cares how fast it gets to 100km/h
    it will sit on it all day long on a highway. I’ll be sad to see the GU patrol go, as it really is the LAST OF THE REAL 4WD!!! Im a diesel mechanic by trade and all i can say to you about these 3lt motors blowing up is…LACK OF SERVICING!!!

  • James

    Thats overpriced but if have lots of money a couple kids and a big dog you should get one.

  • Terry

    My 3.0 2004 patrol has done almost 200,000 and most of this was done towing a 21 ft caravan. My last patrol was a 4.2 GQ but the 3.0 out performs it.
    It is still running very well.

  • krishna suresh

    See my dad just bought the ew nissan patrol 488 petrol which is way better and plus ours is way way higher than the nissan patrol over there. this 3.0L is bad i mean BAD peolle who buy a patrol pleaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeee buy a petrol 4.8L Ti
    this car 4.8L is very good trust me. :)

  • Dillen

    This 4WD wagon is good-looking — in my opinion — but glad I’m doing my homework before actually going out and buying it when I’m careful on how I should spend my money! I really do find the Patrol wagon a lot more better looking than the cab chassis one, though but will want to consider getting it second-hand. Then again, who knows what I decide in the end!
    Thanks for the review! :)

  • oliveiros

    I ve got a nissan patrol gtr 3.0 and i am inlove ,t cold my chiaLd but when i will be a litel ugly old i think i wild like to buy LAND CRUSIER

  • Bob!

    Looks folks, the 3.0ltr is fine and suitably powerful for intended use…its only Landcruiser drivers that need big 4.2+ V8′s, and thats cos they cant drive well…they also look naf.
    Id steer clear of a GUI,II,III but post that (this is a GU6/7 review), they’re fine if they’ve been looked after

  • SW

    My Nissan Patrol 3.0 litre turbo diesel 2006 DX just blew up after doing only 152 000 KM!!!!! Whoever recommends a 3.o litre diesel patrol…… I hardly towed a thing – no more than 750kg in a single axle trailor at any one time and I looked after it like a baby. I argued with Toyota drivers when they called their Landcruiser tow vehicles for Patrols. Guess what …just had a Cruiser tow my Nissan!!! How can this keep happening to Nissan what’s going on??? I was warned and I ignored the warnings.

    Now I have to consider my options of converting to a 4.2 litre engine if it is doeable. The chevy option is not on the table for me. I went for the 3.0l because it was supposed to be economical. If you have any feedback or advice I would appreciate it. I am devestated – I always wanted a Patrol and now I have a huge bill I can’t afford to contend with.

    • matt

      funny, mines done twice the kays…… with only the turbo packing it in…… any money, you have not serviced it since you bought it

  • lucy

    We are looking at buying a 2000 nissan patrol 4.2 litre turbo diesel, are they a good car? whats the fuel consumption like?

  • Tstlodge

    I have 3lt turbo diesel auto gen 2 service every 5000ks 10-30 oil,nissan or same micro ratting paper air cleaner filter, only mecanical mod, dawes valve, when ever i drive anywhere i do 300ks and use 40 to 45 litres to 300ks,dosent seem to matter if im sitting on 90-100ks or 115 t0 120 ks give or take a couple of litres its the same.Ive heard from a 4×4 repair shop in WA theres a 3lt year 2000 patrol getting around with 420,000 on the clock,and has been serviced by them from day dot. As somebody mentioned it comes all down to recommended oils 5=30 1st next 10=30 next 15=40 depending  on time of year its in your glove box manual

  • Dave

    I drive a 2004 3lt TD auto Diesel and use Continental crossply AT tyres, Im the only 4×4 Ive ever seen with these tyres on , I reverse them every 10,000 ks and get at worse 85,000ks and at best 110,000ks,I change tyre pressures to suit terrain,but by saying that I drive 80 per cent bitumen,10 per cent sand, and 10 gravel roads. Ist set cost $165 each, 2nd set cost $175 each 3rd set cost 190 each

  • Katrina

    We bought a 2001 3l turbo diesel and absolutely loved it… that is until with no warning at all in the middle of no where it blew up with 168,000 klm on the clock, it was always serviced on time if not before and was very well looked after….. after all this was the car that we were supposed to have forever so we wanted to look after it and we did!!  Then we heard all the horror stories on this engine, we were gutted.  So our options were, get a recon engine (same one) at a cost of 16k, upgrade to reconditioned 4.2 at a cost of 22k and had to send it interstate, then we contacted Nissan and they will place a brand new 2012 3ltr engine for 15k…. We are looking at the last option even though we had our heart set on the 4.2 but can’t justify the $$$ ontop of what we have already spent… Alot of stress this has caused us & money… but we are hoping with the brand new engine that they have fixed all the problems the previous engine had and we will have this one for decades to come…. fingers crossed.

  • InterestedPerson

    a family member of mine had a 2005 3.0 blow up – but lets look at its history. barely serviced, thrashed, towed building trailers all day, complained about it being slow (compared with his commodore) so would full throttle it all the time (!), put petrol through it, pulled a caravan around australia, including outback offroading – guess what – he got 280,000 out of it before it did blow up! i think any car would have been lucky to last. 

  • Jonathan Kinred

    I bought a 2002 3.0L Patrol a few years ago and knew that some early models had engine problems but I was confident that they were fixed from 2002 onwards. At least in my case it has proven itself mechanically with 260,000 on the clock.

    I spent almost 2 years travelling around Australia with it loaded past GVM, spending lots of time on rough roads and 4WD tracks.

    Recently I’ve had two auto electric problems with a main engine control fuse which has unfortunately meant I’ve had to put it on a tow truck, but this kind of problem seems par for the course with this many kilometres doing real 4WD work like deep water crossings and corrugated roads. I’ve asked a lot from it and it has been a great car that has taken me everywhere with confidence.

    Reading this review and comments now as I’m currently upgrading and will buy another Patrol – 2009+ or something more car-like such as a Prado.

  • cs

    im looking at buying a nissin patrol st 3L heard about the motor whats your opinion?

  • Greg

    I think if you service the engine regularly, use high quality oil, check the levels of oil and coolant so you have it all in order and don’t mess up with MAF, EGR valve and turbo boost, then it will be as good as any other good diesel engine. Unfortunately I think many want to play the engineer and mess up with stuff they don’t understand.

  • dug

    Torsion bar and coils huh? On a solid axle Patrol? Check your facts before writing a review.

  • SC

    Both, accelerating with the weight on, 80-100 etc.
    I guess its nice to know you can overtake easily whilst towing,
    pulling out on to a freeway or from an intersection, when faced
    with an uphill stretch with a van on ,this thing struggled.
    Not doubting that this thing has a strong chassis but so does a
    Kenworth.

  • SC

    I think it was done in 2006,google it, but I guess you answered your
    own question that the patrol is 10 years old and theyr’e still
    flogging them. Just think that its time Nissan did something
    with this, updated it cause there is still a loyal fanbase.

Nissan Patrol Specs

DX : 3.0L DIESEL TURBO - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
PATROL
Variant
DX
Series
GU VI
Year
2009
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO
Engine Size
3.0L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
354Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
118kW @  3200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
50W/kg
Bore & Stroke
96x102mm
Compression Ratio
17.9
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
125
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
11.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2360
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1875mm
Length
4950mm
Width
1840mm
Ground Clearance
230mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:3200  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.5
Front Rim Size
6x16
Rear Rim Size
6x16
Front Tyres
235/80 R16
Rear Tyres
235/80 R16
Wheel Base
2970
Front Track
1595
Rear Track
1615
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Driver
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Cloth Trim
Safety
Airbag Driver
Security
Central Locking, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Safety
Safety Pack
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
12-S-27
Country of Origin
JAPAN