The 2020 Nissan Patrol arrived in Australia late last year with a facelift and a revised standard equipment offering. We didn’t get some of the features we would have liked after seeing the international spy shots, but its value-for-money equation remains as sharp as ever.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is now standard across both model grades in the Patrol range, and the AEB system also features pedestrian detection. In addition, the updated Patrol also gets rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.
Further standard equipment highlights for the entry-level model on test include: satellite navigation, electric front seats, surround-view monitor, leather seat trim and steering wheel trim.
Using the term ‘entry level’ is a bit of a misnomer given the luxurious feel and build quality you get with the Patrol, but the fact remains that we have the most affordable Patrol on test in the CarAdvice garage.
So here we’ve tested the Ti, which starts from $75,990 before on-road costs, and you can of course step up to the Ti-L, which starts from $91,990 before on-road costs. Even though pricing for both models has crept up slightly with the facelift, it’s hard to argue the value-equation point given comparable competitors cost a whole lot more.
The age-old battle has always been Toyota versus Nissan in this space, and that hasn’t changed despite the fact that this-generation Patrol has never had a diesel engine to take the fight toe-to-toe to Toyota. Still, price comparisons are inevitable.
Of course, there’s no longer a petrol LandCruiser 200 Series; however, the diesel range starts from $80,190 for the base GX, while GXL starts from $91,890 before on-road costs. The VX starts from $102,590 before on-road costs, and the range-topping Sahara starts from $123,590 before on-road costs.
Given a Ti as tested here feels like a GXL, if not a VX, there’s a fair win to the Patrol simply in dollar terms against its closest natural competitor. You’d still opt for a diesel if you’re setting off on a lap around Oz or doing some remote-area touring, but for most buyers, a petrol makes just as much sense as a diesel engine.
There’s no doubt that the Patrol lost sales to the 200 Series given it lacked a diesel engine option, but its luxurious cabin and primo positioning probably cost the Patrol some credibility among off-roaders, too. Which is a shame because it remains a formidable off-road performer. It just happens to tackle off-road work in consummate luxury.
The safety updates are quite obviously crucial to buyer appeal, there’s no doubt about that, but most potential buyers will first notice the new styling. The headlights are new, as is the grille, the tail-lights and the alloy wheels.
Unfortunately, Australia won’t get the impressive new dual-screen infotainment system we saw in launch images from overseas, nor do we get the updated infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those additions would make a good thing even better, it’s hard to argue that case, but the ageing system that Nissan moves on with works reliably.
The 5.6-litre petrol V8 is a powerhouse and generates 298kW at 5800rpm and 560Nm at 4000rpm, and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. What the V8 does do is get a big hefty SUV up and moving with pretty sharp focus. The gearbox plays its part, too, with well-spaced ratios and smooth shifting capability.
The Patrol gets off the mark quicker than you expect, and the whole drive experience is a lot more rapid than you might be expecting, too. It rolls up to freeway speed with almost comical ease, such is the creamy nature of the way the V8 generates power. It’s quiet and refined – you know there is a V8 under the massive bonnet, but it doesn’t make the usual rumble that you might be accustomed to. Find one on the net with an exhaust on it, and you might be considering fitting exactly the same thing to your Patrol. It sounds tough as nails.
The ADR fuel claim is 14.4L/100km on the combined cycle. We saw an average of 16.9L/100km during our time with the big SUV, with genuine efficiency on the freeway evening out the thirst in traffic around town. You’ll see the figure drop below 10.0L/100km on a prolonged freeway run, but countering that, if you’re going nowhere in traffic for long periods, it will creep up around the 20.0L/100km mark.
Now, there is an efficiency argument to be had, of course, but if you round our average up to 17.0L/100km, that’s only 4.0L/100km more than our 13.0L/100km average from a 200 Series diesel not so long ago over a similar drive loop. Given the refinement of the petrol engine, the smooth nature of the power delivery and the driving dynamics, not to mention the price difference, there’s a lot to like about the Patrol as a buying proposition.
We’ve done plenty of off-road testing in Patrols before, and we know how capable they are, so this time we spent our week behind the wheel doing what most buyers do – roll around town to and from work. The first thing you notice is the comfort.
A lot of that comfort is down to the quality and execution of the cabin. The seats are broad and positioned commandingly. The cabin itself feels huge across all three rows, especially in the second row, and there’s more room back there than just about any other large SUV of any kind. If you’ve got teenage children, or children approaching their teenage years, this is the big SUV for a growing family.
You’ll easily seat three adults across that second row, and there is ample knee and foot room, too. The roof doesn’t feel too close to your head in the second row either, even if you’re taller than average.
Into the third row, the seats are useful, and the only gripe is that they don’t sit down completely flat when you fold them out of the way. They go close, but not quite. Most buyers who are up for some touring remove the third row and fit a specific set of drawers into that section, really adding to the flexibility of a specific battery, fridge slide or simply smarter storage, for example.
The infotainment system is ageing and feels like it needs a refresh, but it works, and works reliably. The Bluetooth connection performed faultlessly, audio streaming likewise, and the proprietary satellite navigation also worked well. The switchgear is well laid out and easy to understand, too.
On-road, everything about the Patrol is effortless. The ride is magic-carpet-like, the engine and transmission beautifully paired, and the steering well weighted. In fact, you quickly forget how big the Patrol is physically, such is the ease with which it cruises around in luxury.
There’s almost nothing in the way of wind or tyre noise entering the cabin, and while the suspension is supple enough to be luxurious, it doesn’t wallow and roll the way big 4WDs can tend to do – it’s actually quite well balanced. All in all then, it makes for a practical daily driver, even if it does use more fuel than a diesel V8 would, and even if it is bigger than other ‘large’ SUVs.
The Nissan Patrol is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, and the first six services are capped at $376, $577, $392, $860, $407 and $624 respectively with 6 month/10,000km intervals.
While it is undoubtedly a behemoth, especially in town, the Patrol remains as useful, practical and comfortable as it’s ever been – perhaps even more so. It makes a lot of sense as a two vehicle, off-road explorer or family SUV truckster if your garage is big enough. Don’t be put off by the petrol-only option either. It makes more sense financially than you might think, given the initial outlay.