This Car Review Is About: Nissans largely overhauled Patrol. The big machine has two models, a refresh inside and out, and comes only with a petrol V8. That’s an interesting move given its legendary competitor, Land Cruiser, is diesel V8 only now. Patrol has Ti and Ti-L as the models available. There’s a distinct sense of which market this car is intended for and it’s not millenials or baby boomers…We pilot the Ti for a week.
How Much Does It Cost?: It’s cheaper than what you may think. $75,990 for the Ti and $91,990 for the more upmarket Ti-L. They’re the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail price. The Nissan website at mid-March 2020 says $85,606 as a starting point on a drive-away price, with the Ti-L from $102,646 drive-away.
Under The Bonnet Is: a massive 5.6L V8 producing 298kW and a hefty 560Nm of torque. That latter figure comes at 4,000rpm but there is no lack of urge below that. Exploit that urge and you’ll easily exceed the quoted (combined) figure of 14.4L/100 from the 140L tank. On our typical suburban drive loop it’s been hovering around 15.5L/100km. There’s a simple reason for that. Tare weight, the weight before adding passengers, fuel, etc, is a whopping 2,715 kilograms. That’s marginally heavier than the Land Cruiser with a diesel engine.Not unexpectedly there is no manual transmission, rather Sir or Madam can specify a seven speed auto or…a seven speed auto. It’s cogged perfectly to deal with the rev ranges for peak power and torque. And for those that can afford the petrol, towing is 3.5 tonnes.
On The Outside It’s: Big. The proverbial block of flats on wheels, to be precise. You step up and across to the seats, and it feels as if the head is ten feet above the surrounds. The external revamp has the front end virtually brand new yet, oddly in our opinion, doesn’t have the Nissan face as seen on the company’s other vehicles. That means no angular headlights and chromed Vee grille. Actually, that’s not quite true. There is a Vee but as it has to spread across a wide space it’s nearer a U with a flat bottom. Overall width is 1,995mm with a height close to that at 1,940mm for the Ti. Add another 15mm for the Ti-L. Length? 5,175mm and a wheelbase of 3,075mm. Wheels on the Ti are 265/70/18 with rubber being Bridgestone’s Dueler.The restyled front lights are the same basic shape as the chromed Vee (or U), flipped ninety degrees though. LED powered they make for a clean white light and crisp amber indicator. The rear lights are redesigned and have a classy look. The body itself is squared off, blocky, a three cube design if you will. It’s an imposing sight especially when coated in a deep Hermosa Blue.
On The Inside It’s: As roomy as you’d expect from the exterior dimensions. And not only is there plenty of centre row leg room, (yep, that’s right, centre row) it’s an eight seater. That in itself is unusual given most vehicles of the sort pack seven. And it is is with the Ti-L, by the way.The seats are leather clad but neither heated nor vented. For a premium vehicle and priced accordingly that’s a shocking oversight. The next hit to the nerves is the realisation that digital radio is not supplied in the Ti either. In order to source a digital station one must use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Or Bluetooth streaming. Otherwise there’s old school AM/FM, and a CD player. That’s in keeping with the woodgrain trim that is inserted into the two arches ahead of driver and passenger. It also emphasises a little more the sense of marketplace the Patrol Ti has in mind.
For the driver it’s a pair of analogue dials in a binnacle that has the tabs for accessing the various information sets. However the screen used is a tiny one and in black and white, not colour. That’s a complete 180 degree switch from expectations.The starter button is high up on the left side of the steering column, and easily spotted. That’s a good sign. The layout of the buttons for audio and aircon are easy to read and follow. The design and layout shows thoughtfulness here as it’s elegant and smart. The 8.0 inch touchscreen is similarly planned with good layout, a map screen that reads like the “old” paper versions, and a 360 degree camera display that’s crisp and clear. In the centre console is the drive mode selector. There’s a specific on-road tab, along with Sand, Snow, Mud, and a jog switch for low and high range. Hill Descent Control is here also.Although the audio system in the Patrol Ti is not DAB, it’s better than good enough. There’s enough low and high end to ably complement the mid-range vocals. The aircon is the same. The four vents up front had backup with a centre and rear seat vent system, and there are separate controls for the centre seat passengers, meaning an all-round balance is easy to achieve.
Room wise, well, that massive body and wheelbase ensure plenty of head, shoulder, and leg room for the first two rows, with the third row perhaps a compromise for the legs. Due to the ride-height, 273mm by the way, passengers step up and there’s no need for anyone under six feet in height to duck the head. That extra height and wheelbase allows for a departure angle of 26.3 degrees and an approach angle of 34.4 degrees.What About Safety?: Heated wing mirrors are a smart safety choice for cold days. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is standard and a full suite of other features such as Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Lane Intervention add to the package. Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning shake hands with Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.
On The Road It’s: A sheer experience, an expression of what was expected didn’t eventuate. The Patrol has double wishbone front and rear suspension, but it’s the addition of Nissan’s Hydraulic Body Control that makes moving the Patrol Ti around in a suburban environment a far better than expected experience. To say it’s nimble is an understatement. Yes, it has a big turning circle but it’s not a “heavy” car to drive. The steering is as light as a system in a car half the size, the ride quality on tarmac, its natural home, is excellent, and acceleration is surprisingly rapid.
It’s expected that a four wheel drive capable vehicle would be spongy, roly-poly, and soft in the absorption. The Patrol Ti is the complete opposite. It’s tight, and one could equate the ride to almost sports car like, such is the tactile feel the driver experiences. Handling is set so the mass, and it’s noticeable in some circumstances, feels less that what it actually is. It was on wet roads that the front end felt as if it may nose away, even with that off-road suitable rubber. That was when that mass made itself felt, and on one particularly notorious downhill left-hander, the superb brakes were utilised to ensure just the right velocity was driven at.Getting the Patrol Ti underway is as easy as blinking. The usual start procedure of foot on brake, press starter has a quick whirr of the starter and a whiiish as there’s an injection of fuel. There’s a muted but noticeable V8 rumble from both ends. Engage Drive and a gentle squeeze has the machine slide away without fuss. Need to get a hustle on? No problems here. The engine and transmission mesh perfectly, and the 100 number appears in a time that has to be somewhere around the six second mark.
Around town it’s a quiet experience, and one easily controlled by the gentle press of either pedal. The brakes, as mentioned, are superb, and allow a finely tuned judging of where the pedal needs to be in relation to hauling up 3,000 kilos. That light steering is a miracle worker in tight spaces such as car parks for shopping centres, and the thought quick driveline makes it easier to readjust when a second in/out to correctly align is needed. And that body control means that it’s stable, confident, sits flat where it should.We regret that circumstances precluded a proper off-road test. We’ll take it as said it would be fine.
What About Warranty And Service?: 24/7 roadside assistance is part of the warranty package. There is capped price servicing for the first six which are required at every 10,000 klicks or six months. The rate ranges from $376 for the first to $860 for the fourth. Nissan now offers a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty.
At The End Of The Drive. The 2020 Nissan Patrol Ti’s revamp makes a blocky and solid machine look less intimidating that what it could be. The changes to the front end particular visually remove what the mind perceives as mass and heaviness. It’s also a far more elegantly styled front end to boot. It’s in profile that a true sense of its “bigness” reach out and slap the eyeballs. Then there’s the opening of the doors and seeing that TARDIS like space whilst realising it’s roomy because it’s big.What came as a pleasant and welcome surprise was just how easy it was to drive. Yes, there were times where an eye on the mirrors or cameras were required thanks to the length and cornering requirements, but there’s some serious hustle, some adept handling, and that background V8 tone to tickle the eardrums. For us, the lack of DAB audio isn’t a deal-breaker but it’s a surprising omission, as were the seat heaters/vents. The woodgrain trim isn’t to everyone’s taste either. And the monochrome driver’s info-screen is at odds with the rest of the presentation too.
Our lasting impression is that the Patrol Ti is not a vehicle for millennials, nor is it one for baby boomers. It gave us an impression that it’s one for people that live in rural areas and have a certain amount of income, to be polite. Although it proved it can live in the urban jungle, the Patrol Ti, like Land Cruiser, is better left to roam the wild outside of cities. More on the 2020 Nissan Patrol can be found here.