2016 Nissan Patrol – Is the beast getting old?

The Nissan Patrol is possibly one of the most popular SUVs in the Middle East, and has even had its sixth-generation debut in Abu Dhabi back in February 2010 – pitched as the “Hero of all terrain”.

In 2014, the Nissan Patrol received a face-lift, which added more LED lighting and a more modern look. Further down the line, the Patrol received some engine updates bringing back a V6 to the lineup, but visually and technologically, everything remained unchanged.

That very same face-lift model is what we are still seeing in 2017, which begs the question; Is the beast getting old?

Special thanks to Nissan Middle East for the lovely experience with the Nissan Patrol and the opportunity to answer this very critical question.

Being around for six generations means the Nissan Patrol knows its stuff, and it does have several technological advances and tricks up its sleeve, so it was about time I found out if it can truly keep up with the 2017 line-up of SUVs.

Nissan Patrol Introduction

The sixth-generation Nissan Patrol comes in several trim and models to fit many needs and budgets. Starting off with the XE V6 trim (starting from approximately 180,000 AED) all the way up to the LE Platinum V8 trim. This is then topped with the Nismo (which starts at 390,000 AED)  – the sportiest trim available with a unique body kit, 430 horsepower and some high-performance upgrades you never thought you needed.

For this review, though, I had the LE Platinum Edition, which is the most tech-packed, elegant and luxurious model.

The LE Platinum comes with a 5.6 liter, V8 engine pushing out 400 horsepower and over 410 nm of torque giving this beast an acceleration that exceeds expectations for a nearly 3-tonne vehicle.

There are a lot of technologies that the Nissan Patrol has specifically for off-roading, which we’ll get to in detail later, but the 400 horsepower is delivered to all 4 wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission with the support of Nissan’s All-mode 4×4 system ensuring maximum traction and ability regardless of the terrain. All this power and heft comes to a stop via a 4-piston braking system at the front and a 2-piston one at the back, packed with all the ABS and ESP technologies you could need.

The Patrol has plenty of room, being so big, with the ability to carry 8-adults and luggage on top, in a tall, classy and tough looking SUV.

Exterior Tour of the Nissan Patrol

More than half of a vehicle’s appeal is in its looks, so let’s start by taking a quick tour around the outside of the Nissan Patrol

The front of the Patrol as every bit of elegance it needs to lead the title it has, with a large chrome front grille, massive headlights with embedded LEDs, and a wide front bumper. The design is cleanly defined with the hood starting the “top half” of the vehicle as can see with the strong horizontal line. Chrome continues to the fog light housing and side mirrors.

The overall stance of the Patrol is quite powerful, and with the daylight running lights on, makes it feel royal – which after all, is why it looks that way.

Moving down the side, the size keeps getting bigger, and the chrome continues through to the side air vents, door under molding, door handles and roof rails.

The side profile of the Patrol reveals its massive doors, upright and large windows and an overall muscular design. The 20-inch machine cut alloy wheels also add to the massive Patrol, but does all come together looking very good!

The side step eases entry and exit of the Patrol, and is standard across the range.

Moving around to the back, the Patrol does try to squeeze things in. It may actually not look as bulky, but tall. You do not see any of the C-pillars around the back either, just the window. Don’t let that fool you though, it is massive.

The chrome effect continues around the back with the trunk lip and bumper guard. LED treatment continues around the back with the taillights.

The rear is probably my least favorite view of the Patrol’s exterior as it feels a little disproportionate to me, almost like the rear window and roof is smaller than the rest of the body, a little too floaty.

Nissan has certainly made a very good looking SUV, that has very good road stance, a suitable amount of bulk and ensuring that bulk is used practically.

While the whole car has been around for quite a while, it’s the front that makes you feel the vehicle has modern touches. LED lights, parking sensors on the front bumper and cameras that go around the vehicle help giving the car a modern and techie feel, but is it enough?

I do not think so. Modern SUVs today have full LED lights, ultra-modern styling, taking more advantage of the space they have on the body and have a more modernized look and feel to the vehicle. The Patrol looks like its been around for a while, which is fine because it has.

Interior Tour of the Nissan Patrol

So, we’ve established that the Patrol is a good looking SUV, that is massive but might be showing some age. The interior plays a very big role in this feeling as it is where the driver and occupants will be spending most of their Patrol days.

Clearly, Nissan did not skim on the use of leather in the Patrol and you get to touch leather on at least 70% of the interior.

Starting at where the driver seat is, the interior of the Patrol is beautiful to look at. The seats are more lounge seats that vehicle seats, which are soft, large and very comfortable. They do give a good amount of side support but not too much, or not as much as I’d like if you’re going off-road and need to be planted.

The materials are all soft to touch including the wood but it does feel quite old in terms of style – that wrinkled area on the driver’s door is quite out of date in 2017.

I am not calling the vehicle ancient or anything, its just that it feels a generation older, and if that is fine for you, fantastic, this might be the best SUV for you.

The main center console has an 8-inch LCD touch screen (decent resolution and acceptable speed) with 9GB of storage for your music files, has navigation, a 360-degree camera and connects to a 13-speaker Bose sound system. The system can be controlled via the touch screen or the controls right below the screen – might be a tad of a stretch though.

The driver’s instrument panel is Nissan’s standard dual-dial set up with a mini-information system in the middle – enabling the driver to view trip computers, vehicle status, vehicle settings and more.

One thing you will not lack in the Patrol is space. Being that the vehicle is 5.1 meters long, and 2 meters wide, the second-row seats are one of the largest in the segment, with easy access and comfortable for 3 people with ease.

Rear seats are fully adjustable, have their own roof mounted air conditioning, reading lights, arm rest and DVD-player on the Platinum model.

The Patrol also has a unique “World’s first” with the compartment between the driver and passenger seat that houses a cooler box. This is accesible from the front seats as well as the back seats – giving everyone access to the cool beverages stowed away.

If you’re more than 5 people, the Patrol has 3rd-row seating as well, which is good for 3 more people (might be a tad of a squeeze), which is equally as comfortable and luxurious, just a little less in terms of width and leg-space.

And even if you max out the 8-person capacity, you have a sizable boot for 2 large bags! Talk about the space!

Space space space! The Patrol is all about the space.

With the 3rd-row seats up, there is a reasonable amount of space, and even more under the trunk floor. All this gives you class-leading storage.

With all the seats down (2nd and 3rd-row) you have enough length to lay down for a nap.. if you’re into that kind of thing.

Tailgate is fully electric and can be operated from the driver seat, remote or rear button.

Taking the Patrol off-road

We’ve established the Patrol is a large, spacious off-roader, but I have yet to talk about that second point; “off-roader”.

To say the Patrol is capable would be the understatement of the year. It has a lot of technologies that could potentially put it at the forefront of the SUV world and I have a lot to talk about!

First, let’s brush up on the technology. The Patrol has an All-mode 4×4 system, which features a variable 4×4 mode selector, allowing easy switching between sand, on-road, snow and rock drive modes. The unique sand-mode is tailored for the Patrol to ensure the smoothest, quickest and safest on sand driving.

The Patrol also features a rear limited slip differential, enabling torque to be evenly distributed across the rear axle for the best traction for mud or loose sand. The Helical system ensures the smoothest take-off from the slipperiest situations.

Hydraulic body motion control system is also a new to the Nissan Patrol, with independant suspension per corner along with the new chassis and body frame. This system ensures maximum stability across all terrain types.

Finally, the Patrol features hill start assist and hill descent control, for the most controlled descent or acceleration whether you’re pointing to the sky or the opposite direction.

To the rocks!

Took the Patrol off-road across some rough and dry terrain and it did incredibly well. It has a 34.3-degree approach angle and 26.2-degree departure angle, which means maneuvering between rocks and hills is a doodle. There is plenty of ground clearance and height on the Patrol, which always makes sure you never have to stop. If it gets tough to see outside with the bulk, the 360-degree cameras can be activated to help you out.

To the mud!

On the other end of the spectrum, I took the Patrol to the muddiest place I knew off, and it was quite a challenge! The Patrol handled itself quite well, with all the technologies and LSD enabled and always managed to keep me going. There were moments when it could no longer grasp any traction, where it would just slide sideways but the second it could, it pulled itself back up and drove off.

It is one of the very few, really capable off-road vehicles out there, and whether sand, mud, rocks or snow (I am hoping), the Patrol seems to be able to get itself out of any sticky situation, all while carrying your family of 8.. and the dog.

Answering the big question

I started this review asking if the Patrol was getting old, and with an extremely fun-filled weekend with the Patrol, I think I can now answer this question.

The Nissan Patrol is a very good vehicle. It can seat 8 people with their luggage, drive hundreds of kms from city to city or country to country in absolute comfort, take a few shortcuts through sand, mud or even rocks, and come out the other end with a happy group of people.

It has all the basics you could need in an SUV, from a series of offroading and heavy duty driving technologies, to the general day-to-day trip computing, navigation and entertainment.

Is it getting old? Yes, it is getting old compared to what the other competitors, with same or less capabilities are offering, but does it matter? No, it does not! I would trade in a super zippy iPad like screen for all-terrain capabilities and a LSD any day!

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