Nissan Patrol V8: Different Flavours, Consistent Capability And Character

With a towering personality, venerable V8 engine, copious comfort and capability, the Nissan Patrol V8 is ever the luxuriously fluent ride and authentic off-roader, whether driven in more basic spec LE T1 or high spec Platinum versions.

Photos by Ghaith Madadha, on location in Jordan

A large capable and thoroughly well-equipped full-size SUV, the latest Nissan Patrol is the most modern yet. First driven during its global debut in Abu Dhabi late last and more recently and extensively in Jordan, in V8 versions, the Patrol is available in four trim levels and two engines. Consistent in core character and capability across the range, the entry-level LE T1 Patrol’s persona is more akin to comfortable expedition vehicle. Meanwhile the top-spec Platinum City version equals any premium brand European luxury SUV, with intermediary versions covering the ground between.

Descended from a long line of tough, dedicated and purposeful off-roaders, the Nissan Patrol doubles as both luxury car and in more basic spec versions as a staple family car in the GCC, where even the rugged older generation Patrol Super Safari is back on sale by popular demand and alongside the more advanced new model featured here. Well-accommodated on UAE roads, the enormous Patrol is however a big rig who’s charms rub off more and becomes easier to maneuver with every passing kilometer in Jordan, given its accurate steering and good visibility.

A much improved and re-styled evolutionary model designated as a new generation, the new Patrol builds on a successful recipe. Towering over most SUVs, the new Patrol retains its predecessor’s approximate proportions, but features a sharper-edged and more imposingly upright fascia with a bigger and lower positioned evolution of Nissan’s V-motion grille at the front and deeper side intakes, and slim C-shaped LED lights intersecting with a sharply edged bumper section frame. Redesigned and more contemporary rear lights along with a full width chrome strip meanwhile emphasize a more hunkered down horizontally-oriented stance.

Incorporating rugged body-on-frame construction and extensive off-road hardware for such an indulgent vehicle, the Patrol LE T1 and Platinum City differ slightly on the outside. Whereas the utilitarian entry-level model features smaller alloy wheels and slightly slimmer 265/70R18 tyres versus flashier top-spec 275/60R20 footwear, it is also fitted with an off-road bumper with a greater 34° approach angle compared to the latter’s lower, sharper and more stylish 28° bumper. A generous 26° departure angle however remains unchanged while 273mm LE T1 and 275mm Platinum City ground clearance is excellent either way.

Carried over is the previous Patrol’s venerable and powerful naturally-aspirated direct injection 5.6-litre V8 engine, as driven with both specifications. The more powerful of two engines available including a junior 4-litre V6, the Patrol’s big brawny power plant develops 400HP at 5800rpm and 413lb/ft torque at 4000rpm (gross), and is capable propelling the gigantic 2.7-tonne SUV through 0-100km/h swiftly in an estimated 6.5-seconds. Smooth and abundantly capable, the Patrol is just as happy cruising at a laidback low-rev pace as it is urgently reaching for rev limit to unleash its mightily full potential.

A brisk mover whether in town on highway or through snaking roads, the Patrol’s powerful V8 is responsive and generous from tick-over to redline, with plenty of low-end grunt, mid-range muscle and top-end punch. Progressive in delivery and quiet at low revs yet with distantly urgent bellowing at full chat, the Patrol drives all four wheels through a smooth and reasonably quick-shifting 7-speed automatic gearbox with lever-actuated manual shift capability. Driven under normal conditions in auto mode the Patrol drives the rear wheels primarily, with power allocated frontwards as needed for traction.

Providing plenty of grip on tarmac in auto mode, the patrol’s reassuring road-holding is matched by its balanced weighting and predictable manners. When needed, and for more difficult off-road conditions, the Patrol’s drive-line can be locked in four-wheel-drive at standard high ratio, or in low ratio mode for full-power crawling speed when needed. Additionally, the Patrol features a locking rear differential for more treacherous low traction conditions and electronic hill descent control. Its Terrain Mode drive selector can meanwhile electronically optimize various parameters for different conditions including sand, snow, rocks and road.

A comfortable continent-crunching cruiser with excellent cabin refinement and forgiving ride quality, the Patrol well-absorbed road imperfections, lumps and bumps even with top-spec low profile tyres, but was especially supple with the more rugged, less exposed, higher sidewall tyre option. Though comfortable at speed and in town, the patrol’s active hydraulic double wishbone suspension kept it settled on rebound and well-controlled through fast and tight corners. Also impressive were its powerful fade-resistant brakes, while its tight turning circle, big glasshouse and entry-level parking sensors or top spec surround view camera helped with maneuverability.

A supple, relaxing, vast and weighty vehicle, the Patrol is nevertheless a more agile drive than expected. Driven like a large vehicle its instinct indicates a potential for understeer bias. However, driven like a much smaller, sportier hatchback, with more purposeful and early turn-in to shift weight to the outside and rear, the Patrol responded well, and seemed to tuck-in and tighten cornering lines with surprising agility. Unexpectedly chuckable and fluent through sprawling lanes and corners despite some body lean, the Patrol’s well-weighted steering also delivered more nuanced feel than most competitors.

Shrinking around the driver in driving ease, the enormous Patrol generously accommodates 8 passengers, especially in non-sunroof versions. Offering commanding road views and much space and versatility, it features numerous design, material and technology improvements over its predecessor, including high tech driver assistance and safety features in high-end models. Sumptuous in Platinum City guise with twin screen infotainment system, gorgeous GT-R Tan leather upholstery, inspired by Nissan’s iconic supercar and much more, the Patrol however has a homely, comfortable and welcoming non-premium luxury ambiance in basic fabric seat, twin airbag LE T1 specification.

Specifications: Nissan Patrol V8 LE T1

  • Engine: 5.6-litre, in-line V8-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke (mm): 98 x 92mm
  • Valve-train: 32-valve, variable valve timing, DOHC, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 7-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Drive-train: Locking rear differential and 2.7:1 low gear transfer case
  • Power, HP (kW): 400 (294) @ 5,800rpm*
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 413 (560) @ 4,000rpm*
  • 0-97km/h: 6.5-seconds (est.)
  • 0-160km/h: 17.8-seconds (est.)
  • Fuel consumption, city / highway: 16.8- / 11.76-litres/100km (est.)
  • Fuel capacity: 140-litres
  • Height: 1,940mm
  • Width: 1,995mm
  • Length: 5,315mm (with towing hook)
  • Wheelbase: 3,075mm
  • Minimum Ground clearance: 273mm
  • Approach / departure angles: 34° / 26°
  • Kerb weight: 2716-2845kg
  • Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
  • Towing capacity: 2,000kg
  • Seating capacity: 8
  • Headroom, F/M/R: 1,037/1,015/924mm
  • Legroom, F/M/R: 1,065/989/721mm
  • Shoulder room, F/M/R: 1,620/1,612/1,537mm
  • Hip room, F/M/R: 1,503/1,483/1,240mm
  • Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion
  • Turning radius: 12.1-meters
  • Suspension: Independent, double wishbone with active hydraulic damping
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs, 4- / 1-piston calipers
  • Tyres: 265/70R18

*Gross power and torque