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DRIVEN: Nissan's new Patrol SUV, at long last

2017-12-12 05:30

Cyril Klopper

Image: Supplied


Nissan's new flagship SUV, the Patrol, has arrived in South Africa.

Pretoria - The sixth-generation Patrol was introduced in 2010 in Dubai but Nissan only recently decided to bring it to South Africa.

If it looks familiar it’s because the Patrol is essentially an Infinity QX80 but as you’ve probably heard by now, things aren’t going well for the Infinity brand in South Africa, and their presence has all but ended.

At first glance the Nissan Patrol looks more like an urban SUV than a true off-roader. Looks can be deceiving though because underneath its bulky design lies a tough-as-nails ladder chassis and independent double wishbone suspension at each wheel.

Off-road enthusiasts usually prefer live axles because of the superior wheel articulation but this Patrol still has remarkable suspension travel despite the wishbone setup.

The bodywork looks quite low-slung though in truth the 272mm ground clearance compares well with other SUVs and is actually better than most.

We took the Patrol off-road at the De Wildt 4x4 trails on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg near Pretoria. None of the obstacles posed much of a hindrance and the Patrol pretty much steamrolled over everything.

The 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine that develops 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque emits a delightful burble as it trundles over rocks and lazily idles up inclines.

The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. Over the course of the day, driving on highways to 4x4 trails, the V8 averaged 17 litres per 100km which is relatively good.

Finally got my new wheels...#nissanpatrol #platinum

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Nissan’s new Direct Injection Gas system provides better throttle performance than the Infinity QX80 possessed plus fuel economy and emissions are also reduced. This is achieved by improving combustion stability and offering more precise injection control via a Multi Control Valve (MCV) which also assists in managing the engine's thermal efficiency.

The All-Mode 4-wheel drive system features Auto/4H/4LO modes and an electronically controlled part-time transfer case. Under regular driving conditions, the system favours the rear axle though , but it will send torque to all four wheels (50% to each axle) when road conditions deteriorate.

Like most modern 4x4s, there is a mode button near the gear lever which allows you to select either Snow, Rock, Sand or On Road driving modes. There are also high and low range selectors and a rear diff lock button.

The Patrol has an impressive towing capacity of 3.5 tons and a 140-litre fuel tank.

Amazing as the Patrol is off-road, there are a few oddities in the interior: The sunroof is surprisingly small and looks like it was taken out of a Nissan Juke. The simulated wood veneer on the dashboard wouldn't be out of place in a Saudi prince’s TV room. A solid black interior would have served the Patrol better.

Only one version of the Patrol will be available in South Africa. There are no spec levels to choose between. The only thing you have control over is the colour. Aftermarket accessories such as off-road steel bumpers, roof racks and heavy duty tow bars are already available.

The Nissan Patrol costs R1 299 000 and is backed up by a 6-year/150 000km warranty and a 3-year/90 000km service plan.

Image: Supplied

Nissan is leaning heavily on its vision of the future - No emissions and no fatalities. The Patrol complies with at least one of those dreams, safety behind the wheel.

Some of the more prominent safety features are:
• Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention which alerts one of a vehicle in the adjacent lane during lane changes.
• Intelligent Cruise Control with the added feature of maintaining a selected distance from a vehicle in front of you.
• Intelligent Distance Control that helps you stay in perfect position, using radar sensors to adjust the vehicle’s speed in relation to the vehicle ahead. 
• Intelligent Driver Awareness which analyses the driver steering behaviour to provide an alert if signs of drowsiness, or inattention are detected.
• Intelligent Emergency Braking that helps avoid collisions by detecting the distance of the preceding vehicle and activating the brakes, if necessary.
• Intelligent Lane Intervention which uses a camera installed in the windshield, this system detects lane markers to calculate its position and if you drift out of your lane, it will alert the driver and can apply brakeforce to the appropriate wheels to help guide you back into your lane.
• Intelligent Ride Control controls the engine and brakes to deliver a smoother driving experience over small and large bumps in the road.
• Intelligent Trace Control activates when negotiating a corner, this system applies braking automatically to each wheel to help keep the vehicle on the cornering line.
• Intelligent Smart Rear-View Mirror: This system uses a built-in LCD monitor to display images from a camera mounted at the rear of the vehicle to negate the inherent limitations of a standard rear-view mirror.

Read more on:    nissan  |  cyril klopper  |  south africa  |  suv

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