We've been driving alongside the camels for about ten minutes now and neither one of them seems to be bothered by the V8's mumbling. Camel roads are always the easy way to tackle the desert, but the Patrol is demanding us to seize the girly behavior and let it show the dust who's biting who.
They use Patrols to give tourists the desert adventure of their lives, so we'll give it a shot. Despite lacking any knowledge of the area, we veer left and head for a place that seems to provide some nice trampolines. Good, here we can test the 11.1 inches (283 mm) ground clearance.
We choose "Sand" from the new four-mode driving mode selector, we send the ESP to sleep and up we go. The V8 engine pulls like crazy, it doesn't need too much space to gift the car with enough momentum for a frightening jump.
With a huge sand trail in the air behind us, we take off. It doesn't take too long before a rather violent landing, but the Patrol likes it, it's clapping its hands. The car does a brilliant job at tackling the rugged terrain and it also makes offroading seem easy.
The Nissan Patrol can take a lot of abuse without even letting you know about this. It's certainly got a place on the podium of cars that seem indestructible.
Were a Range Rover
's suspension will crash over large irregularities, the Patrol just swallows the problems underneath it. And here comes the inevitable comparison with the Toyota Land Cruiser. Out in the wild, it's very hard to think of a place where one could go and the other couldn't follow.
With the exception of a few popped bottles that managed to spread terror in the vast boot, everything is just fine after our desert wondering session, so it's time to hit the asphalt.
We first drove the entry level-powered Patrol, which means that we got the old model's 5,552 cc petrol V8. The 321 HP and 389 LB-FT (527 NM) of torque proved to be enough for any kind of maneuvers. The engine is flexible and does a good job at carrying this mammoth around, even at higher speeds.
There's also an evolution of the 5.6-liter engine, which comes with variable valve timing and direct injection. This delivers 400 HP and 406 LB-FT (550 NM). Apart from the extra kick, the new powerplant also shows a quicker in-gear response.
While the older V8 is enough for any driving situation, we can't say the same about its five-speed automatic. The shifts are not quite as smooth as those of the seven-speed auto belonging to the new V8, but they're comfortable enough. The problem is that once you're out on the open road, you really feel the need for some extra gears.
The Nissan Patrol comes with a 37-gallon (140 liter) tank and believe us, it needs every drop in there. During our drive, the vehicle averaged under 8 MPG (over 30 liters per 100 km). Despite the extra oomph, the new V8 proved less thirsty, but don't expect the autonomy to increase all that much. Of course, if this is what you're after, you can always turn to the diesel engine, but there's just one detail you need to know. In order to opt for the oil burner, you'll have to go to Australia, where the previous-generation Patrol is still on sale, using a three-liter diesel.
Nevertheless, it is important to mention that not one word of the paragraph above matters in the Nissan Patrol's main market, the Middle East.
We've been on the road for quite a few hours now and the Nissan Patrol manages to keep its initial impressions. The ride is comfortable and the handling is decent, albeit only just. As for the brakes, these are able to keep the 6,170 LBS (2.8 tons) of the vehicle in check.
Stay away from the lowest trim level, as this doesn't come with the hydraulic body control system. In this form, with each damper left on its own, there's plenty of roll, pitch and dive. These not only ruin the handling, but will also make your passengers sick after the first series of bends.
The speedometer isn't shy at all and the only thing that's coming from the outside is a slight wind noise. Apart from that, the vast cabin is well-insulated, providing a pleasant journey for the passengers. Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Hahaha! This car cracks me up! Seriously now, I haven't has such a good laugh in years. I've always said that a Nissan, no matter of the model, looks like a PET. Yes, they're all different: one is like a water bottle, another one is like a bottle of milk and this Patrol is amusingly ugly!
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