The “new” Nissan Patrol has been around for a while now, receiving its first facelift in 2014 since its launch in 2010. You may be familiar with the new look, having seen it up close on your rear-view mirror.
Changes include LEDs within the headlights, a new front bumper and new tube-style LED tails as well as new wheels. It’s not a huge difference, but oddly enough, shiny new lights were all that was needed to stimulate sales, as these new models are everywhere already.
It’s a big car, the Patrol. That affords it immense interior space, much more so than the Chevy Tahoe that’s actually a bit bigger. And it’s got a useable flat-folding third-row seat too.
In LE Platinum trim, it’s also trimmed very nicely, as it should be at its high price-point, with padded stitched-leatherette all over the dash and doors and tons of faux wood trim. It easily has the most premium interior in the segment.
It also remains well-equipped on the tech front, with that around-view parking camera setup and a multimedia screen that offers several forms of input, although the car’s age shows in LCD’s graphics as well as in its gauge-cluster info screen.
Still powered by the 400 hp 5.6-litre direct-injection V8 that debuted in 2010, it’s a potent motor that always has more than adequate power on tap, mated to a smooth-shifting and smart 7-speed automatic.
The Patrol also rides very well, with only the slightest jitter on occasion that hints at its body-on-frame construction. It is easily quieter and smoother than the Toyota Land Cruiser or even the new GMC Yukon Denali, and part of the credit can be taken by the “hydraulic body motion control” or some such suspension gimmick that Nissan loves to brag about.
However, it doesn’t do a whole lot for the handling, as the Patrol still feels wallowy on sudden lane-changes and leans significantly on sharp turns, though if you manage the deathly-light steering smoothly, it’s possible to hustle through the long curves quicker than you’d expect.
Due to other commitments, we did not get the time to take the Patrol offroad, but we’ve seen it in action, and while it may not take a beating as well as the old Patrol, it clearly has the ground clearance, the hardware and the power to manage dune-bashing to some degree, assuming you know what you’re doing and don’t try to jump it like you saw in the TV commercial. Generally, reported mishaps with the new Patrol always seem to involve someone choosing the wrong terrain-management setting, which also has a habit of resetting the default nannies every time you restart the car. So if you’re new to offroad electronics or big-wheelbase cars, you may want to take it easy until you learn how to handle them.
The Patrol is quite possibly the best in its class, even after five years in the market. About the only reason we didn’t pick one up ourselves is its immense size, which makes it impossible to fit in certain tight parking lots, although clever use of technology means it can be manoeuvred easily where it does fit. It took a facelift with shiny lights for people to start noticing it, when it should’ve become more common on the roads much earlier, your views on tailgating notwithstanding.
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