The all-new sixth-generation Nissan Patrol will arrive in Australia in January 2013 - a full three years after its release in the Middle East.
Up until now, the new Patrol has been built as a left-hand-drive vehicle only and Nissan Australia was the only market that put its hand up for a right-hand-drive version.
We're also the only country to have requested a diesel version of the latest Y62 Patrol, but the likelihood of that wish being granted, at least in the short term, is slim, at best.
Blame that on the cashed-up UAE market where petrol prices hover around .50 cents a litre and big V8s rule the sand dunes with diesels confined to freight trucks.
So, for the moment, fans of the new Nissan Patrol will have to settle for a 5.6-litre direct injection V8 petrol engine producing 298kW and 560Nm of torque.
But for those buyers who still demand the classic, if not, iconic Nissan Patrol workhorse with a diesel engine, the current-generation (Y61) 3.0-litre diesel Patrol, which has been in service in Australia for 14 years, will be sold alongside the new Patrol.
In order to satisfy the full spectrum of 4x4 customers Nissan will adopt a two-Patrol strategy, whereby it will offer the Y61 Patrol in just two trims – the entry level DX and the higher-spec ST, and the new Y62 Nissan Patrol in three grades – ST-L, Ti and the range-topping Ti-L.
Nissan’s two-pronged strategy is essential, if for one very valid reason; the all-new Nissan Patrol flagship is a vastly different style of 4x4 to its utilitarian stable mate.
It’s still built on a rugged ladder frame chassis and is still more than capable off-road, but that’s about where the similarities between the two generations of Nissan Patrol end.
Nissan is targeting big-ticket Toyota LandCruiser 200 series buyers with the luxurious new Patrol and intends pricing the vehicle accordingly. Expect the entry-level ST-L to sell for less than $85,000 (before on-road costs), the Ti for below $95,000 and the top-of-the-range Ti-L for under $115,000.
By any standards, the new Nissan Patrol is big. Longer, wider and taller than the current 200 series LandCruiser, it feels even larger from driver’s seat.
With seating capacity for up to eight people in the entry and mid-spec grades and seven in the top-shelf Ti-L grade (due to a gross weight capacity) the new Patrol caters for extra large families – and their luggage.
Load space is especially generous in the new Patrol. Folding the second and third row seats (almost flat) opens up a massive 3107-litre capacity. But even with all three rows in the upright position, there’s still 550-litres of carrying space available.
However, there’s no provision to slide the second row forwards or back, but legroom is nonetheless substantial, as is head and elbowroom.
Bearing in mind this so-called new Nissan Patrol was first launched almost three years ago albeit in another market the styling remains surprisingly fresh with smooth lines and plenty of modern masculinity about the design.
There’s also a smart LED signature from the rear taillights and xenon headlamps on the Ti-L, but disappointingly, daytime running lights don’t appear on the latest Patrol.
However, there’s no shortage of creature comforts on board the new Patrol with all grades featuring a raft of standard features including 8-way power driver’s seat, cruise control, 7-inch LCD screen, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels with full-size spare, side steps, front and rear parking sensors with rear view camera, keyless entry and start, electrically operated and folding door mirrors and privacy glass.
Moving up to the mid-spec Ti model adds: leather trim, four-way electrically powered passenger seat, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, power glass sunroof, Hydraulic Body Motion Control Suspension (HBMC) and speed sensitive power steering.
The range-topping Ti-L gains a host of additional technology and luxury kit including memory setting for the seat, steering wheel and door mirrors, cool box, auto dimming rear vision mirror, satellite navigation and music server, premium Bose audio system with 13 speakers and two rear 7-inch DVD screens, powered tailgate, tyre pressure monitoring system, around view monitor (using four external cameras for a bird’s eye view), intelligent cruise control and blind spot warning.
Bluetooth phone is also standard across the new Patrol line-up, but annoyingly, only the top-spec Ti-L gets music streaming. All other models get a USB port for iPod connection.
Apart from the rather dull-looking wood grain trim, the interior is decidedly up market with a premium look and feel to it. It’s perhaps more closely related to Nissan’s luxury Infinity brand than any current Nissan product.
The new Patrol is also fitted with the usual suite of safety gear including six-airbags with full-length curtain airbags, ant-locking brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist and vehicle dynamic control.
However, the Y62 Patrol has not yet been crash tested by ANCAP and as such has not received a crash test rating from the safety authority.
CarAdvice was part of a small contingent of Australian media invited to test two pre-production versions of the new Patrol at the Mount Cotton training facility, in Queensland, prior to its public debut at the upcoming Australian International Motor Show in October.
The 5.6-litre V8 is impressively quiet and refined. With more than 500Nm of torque available from just 2500rpm, the going is smooth and easy with forward progress, almost effortless.
The Nissan V8 engine is mated to an equally smooth seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode.
High-speed overtaking shouldn’t be a problem for the Y62 generation Patrol, either, as punching the throttle on the open road revealed more than a willingness to set the pace, despite a kerb weight of up to 2829 kilograms, for the Ti-L model.
Nissan Australia claims a top speed of 210km/h for the Patrol, but at this time has not published its performance from 0-100km/h.
Despite Nissan’s claim of a combined fuel-consumption of 14.5L/100km, long-distance touring should be a breeze with the Patrol’s standard 140-litre fuel tank.
Mind you, there’s no hiding the new Patrol’s mass when cornering, but Nissan makes a good go of it with their proprietary Hydraulic Body Motion Control (standard on the Ti and Ti-L), which effectively minimises body roll without the need for anti-roll bars.
Initially developed for world rallying, the system uses a dual network of cross-linked piping to alter the volume and flow of hydraulic fluid in each shock absorber, resulting in noticeably improved handling on the tarmac over the base model ST-L, which misses out on technology.
Off road, the benefits of the HBMC system are similarly encouraging. Again, the absence of anti-roll bars allows for greater suspension travel independently and on either side of the Patrol.
It’s a remarkably effective system that allowed the Patrol to climb over large obstacles while providing a supremely comfortable ride.
The Patrol’s full-time 4WD system is further enhanced by Nissan’s All Mode 4X4 system, which can apportion torque to all four wheels when conditions warrant with up to 50 per cent applied to the front wheels or up to 100 per cent to the rear.
We climbed some relatively steep inclines littered with deep ruts and never even looked like needing to engage the rear differential lock.
The new Patrol uses Nissan’s familiar rotary dial to switch between high and low range but like the Nissan X-Trail, adds four driving modes: on-road, sand, snow and rocks.
Hill decent control and hill start assist are also standard across the 2013 Patrol range.
With a maximum wading depth of 700mm (equal with the Toyota LandCruiser) the Y62 Patrol is more than competent through deep water, as tested.
Nissan will also offer a capped price servicing plan for the new Patrol, although details on costs will be revealed closer to the January arrival of the vehicle.
The all-new Patrol could provide Nissan with a worthy, if not, superior competitor to the ever popular 200 Series LandCruiser but for one major issue – the lack of a large displacement diesel engine.
Nissan Australia won’t reveal expected sales volumes for the Y62 Patrol, but you can bet they will be small in comparison with its diesel-sipping rivals.