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The two words, Nissan and Patrol have become synonymous with 4WD culture over the years and that's mainly due to the model's indestructible go-anywhere reputation.
The Patrol's history in Australia is full of achievements with the original Nissan Patrol G60 being the very first vehicle to cross the Simpson Desert in 1962. As it stands today, over 150,000 Patrols have been sold in Australia alone.
Nonetheless, we are talking about the new Nissan Patrol, the one with a 5.6-litre V8, seven-speed automatic gearbox and more gadgets than a 12 year old could handle.
The all-new Nissan Patrol (Y62) is already on sale in the middle-east, but Australian consumers will have to wait until 2012 before they can get behind the wheel of the updated icon.
On the one hand Nissan has the supercar beating Nissan GTR to appease the sports car fans and on the other, it has the Patrol, a model any 'real man' would dare dismiss.
With 298kW and 550Nm of torque, the 2012 Patrol is set to appeal to a whole bunch of buyers that may have never previously considered a Patrol SUV. Although prices are yet to be confirmed, expect to pay around the $90-100,000 mark for the Y62.
Nissan will continue to sell the existing Patrol (Y61 - which has been on sale for over a decade) alongside the new model. Reason being the lack of a diesel or V6 engine in the new Patrol may hinder sales in the short term.
Then again, the new Nissan Patrol is from another planet compared to the current car. It's a case in point of what happens when you have a ten year product life-cycle, the old model hardly even resembles the new one. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you think.
The new Patrol is not targeting those that want a basic but highly-capable off-roader that can take the family and the neighbours for a long distant drive. Not because it's incapable of doing so (far from it), but mainly because it would almost be a waste.
To show-off the new Nissan Patrol and let us road test and review the future flagship SUV, the Japanese company brought the Australian motoring-press together at Mount Cotton driver training centre in Sunny Brisbane for a day of time trials, 4x4 action and of course, a chance to drive the new Patrol.
The 2012 Nissan Patrol we tested was the only one in the country, which technically makes it about as rare as a Ferrari 458. For this reason we weren't allowed to take it on public roads. It also didn't help that the steering wheel was on the wrong side (being a Patrol from the Middle-East market).
Sit inside and the first words uttered are likely to be 'holy' and the Japanese pronunciation of shirt.
You might start looking for the Lexus badge because there is about as much of the old Nissan Patrol left in this as there is loyalty in Queen Gillard.
The white leather seats and steering wheel combined with the high-quality soft touch plastics and polished aluminium set a rather unique and very up-market ambiance to the cabin.
The front seats are comfortable and there is plenty of room in the rear seats for three normal-sized adults. The third-row of seats will help reach the magical 8-seater figure but are best left to kids under 6.
The party piece however, is the giant LCD screen and two rear 7-inch screens, each capable of playing from different sources. The dashboard screen can be used to watch movies (when stationary) or when left to the on-board computer it can show everything from satellite-navigation, the vehicle's fuel usage over a period of time to maintenance settings as well as displaying stats for a 'world first' tyre pressure monitoring system.
Of course tyre pressure monitoring systems have been around for years, but Nissan has taken this technology a step further. When owners begin to inflate a tyre the Patrol will begin flashing its hazard lights until desired pressure is reached, at which point the horn sounds to let you know the job is done. Pretty cool, if you ask me. It also reminds your wife she looks good with her new hairdo on random occasions.
Nissan says it spent 13,265 hours (553 straight days) just heat and dust testing the new Patrol in Australia and the Middle East - so it can handle some serious conditions. The new model also makes use of an entirely new platform and chassis so it has twice the lateral rigidity of the Y61 Patrol.
Behind the wheel, the new Patrol accelerates in the same manner a luxury European V8 large SUV would - with enormous enthusiasm and no respect for your license. Keep your foot flat to the floor and the V8 emits a very aggressive (yet subdued) muscular sound that will certainly scare the neighbours back into their inferior compact SUVs.
Although it weighs a good 2,785kg (kerb) it definitely moves with asked. Around corners the steering feel is consistant and provides adequate feedback to keep the enthusiast happy, whilst being light enough for easy day to day driving.
The seven-speed automatic is hard to fault given it was nearly unnoticeable in the first place. There is no jerkiness in up or downshifts and it all happens rather quickly. The additional gear helps bring fuel usage down slightly. Although not tested, it's quoted to be somewhere in the mid 14 litres per 100km. The new Patrol comes with a 100L fuel tank which can be upgraded to 140L.
Nissan has put a Hydraulic Body Motion Control System (HBMC) in the new Patrol which it says helps maintain vehicle stability (flatter) around corners and lane changes whilst also adjusting to off-road conditions. There was no chance to test the car with the system turned on and off, however with it on, it certainly cornered with confidence.
Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson said the first batch of new Patrols to arrive in 2012 will come equipped with HBMC, but there is oppurtunity for lowers grades to come without the technology to reduce the starting price.
Advanced technical and safety features are aplenty:
- Hill Start Assist
- Hill Descent Control
- 4-piston opposed brake calliper setup (358mm front 350mm rear).
- Lane Departure Warning and Prevention (warn if leaving lane without indicating)
- Intelligent Cruise control (follow car in front)
- Distance Control Assist
- Forward Collision Warning System
- Vehicle Dynamic Control
- Traction Control,
- Helical Brake Limited Slip Differential
- Intelligent Brake Assist
- Six Air bags
Overall, the short but precious time spent in the all new 2012 Nissan Patrol showed that Nissan is heading in the right direction to meet its GT2012 goal of becoming Australia's largest sole-importer of vehicles.
Current Patrol owners looking at upgrading to a luxury large SUV with great off-road and on-road capability should wait another 12-18 months for this. But if you're not looking at spending around the $90-100,000 mark, don't hold your breath!
|Type||DOHC 8-valve V8|
|Bore x stroke||98.0 x 92.0mm|
|Max. power kW/ rpm||298 @ 5,800rpm|
|Max. torque Nm/ rpm||550 @ 4,000rpm|
|Type||7 Speed AT|
|Final gear ratio (Hypoid final gear)||3.357|
|Steering||Rack & pinion, speed sensitive power steering|
|Min. turning radius(kerb to kerb)||12.5m|
|front||Independent double wishbone with Hydraulic Body-Motion Control System|
|rear||Independent double wishbone with Hydraulic Body-Motion Control System|
|system||Power assisted, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA)|
|Tread front||1705 mm (20”)|
|Tread rear||1706 mm (20”)|
|Min. ground clearance||275 mm|
|Gross vehicle weight||3,450kg|
|Fuel tank||100 + 40 Litre|
|Cargo capacity behind 1st seat||3.17 M3 (SAE)|
|Cargo capacity behind 2nd seat||1.49 M3 (SAE)|
|Cargo capacity behind 3rd seat||0.55 M3 (SAE)|
|Towing Capacity||3,500 kg Braked|
|Approach angle||35 degree|
|Departure angle||26 degree|
|Ramp angle||24 degree|
|Tires & wheels|
|Wheels||20” x 8J (B) Silver Paint|