First drive: 2016 Nissan Patrol Desert Edition in Liwa UAE

First drive: 2016 Nissan Patrol Desert Edition in Liwa UAE

2016 Nissan Patrol Desert Edition

The Nissan Patrol is probably the first proper car in the history of the world to be designed specifically for the Gulf, right from the design stage. How else would you explain its massive size, its V8-only engine choices, its ample space and its overkill of a/c vents all the way to the third-row seats. We’ve already reviewed the regular Nissan Patrol, so we’ll jump straight into what makes this latest version unique — the Nissan Patrol Desert Edition, brought to you by local rally legend Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Indeed, Ben Sulayem apparently worked with Nissan Middle East to specify the aftermarket components from several international brands, all of which were locally added to the Desert Edition, so these cars don’t quite come with the mods from the factory in Japan itself.

2016 Nissan Patrol Desert Edition 2

The mods include extensive underbody skidplates front and rear, bead-lock wheels and offroad tyres, special springs and nitrogen shocks, built-in air compressor, wheel-arch extensions, attachable flag, kinetic tow rope, sand-recovery ramps and clip-on sun shades, aside from badges denoting “Desert Edition” and Ben Sulayem’s signature on the D-pillars.

The Desert Edition is based on the base Patrol LE model, which means it comes with the 400 hp 5.7-litre engine, manually-adjusted cloth seats, navigation and, most notably, regular suspension instead of the fancy hydraulic body-control system that the top-spec Patrols get. Nissan says the Desert Edition will be limited to 200 cars, but they continued to hint that they might sell the parts to build your own anyway.

2016 Nissan Patrol Desert Edition 3

That’s great, but how does it drive? Well, it did perfectly fine in the deserts of Liwa in Abu Dhabi, rarely requiring above 2000 rpm to traverse minor dunes, and managing the tallest dunes with no shortage of power at higher revs, all within second gear.

The modded Patrol was unstressed, even with no obvious increase in ground clearance compared to a regular Patrol. About the only issue we could see was that all the test cars had front bumpers that had popped out at the sides, no doubt due to the overexuberance of the safari drivers who were hired to give us trickier “pro” rides, which they conducted with aplomb.

All the driving was conducted in 4-high mode, and the big car felt nigh-on unsinkable with the more-aggressive tyres deflated for soft-sand duty. If you leave the ESP off, you don’t even need to fiddle with the “terrain management” settings that seemed to be stuck in “on-road” mode in our specific test car.

We didn’t drive the Desert Edition on the road and we didn’t drive it back-to-back with a regular Patrol for comparison, so we can’t comment on either. But it’s safe to say that it probably handles soft sand a bit better and can take harder knocks more frequently.

Keep track of UAE prices and GCC specs in the Nissan buyer guide.

Photos by Nissan Middle East.

What do you think?



  1. Mashfiq can you please answer these simple questions?

    1)Which car is better for desert , everyday use, condition etc neglect price here…LandCruiser or Nissan Patrol

    2)Whats the difference between a 4.5L Land Cruier and 5.7L?
    i know more power..but is it more petrol consumption? like for example these 2 cover 100 km..before need a reful..the 4.5l needs reful and the 5.7l still have 20% reserve left is it like that??
    3)is a v6 landcruiser good for desert?
    4) The landcruiser had 2 gears before..why not now or does it have now? isnt it better?

  2. Rudra. Answers as per my knowledge

    1)You cant say specifically which car is good in these categories because both are equally good. But from my personal experience of both cars, I prefer the Nissan patrol, as it is more powerful, more spacious, better ride quality and less expensive than the Land cruiser.

    2)4.5L engines are the older engines which used to come in the 100 series land cruiser till 2007.They are basically 6 cylinders. From 2008, Land cruisers come in 4.0L, 4.6L(v8) and 5.7L(v8) engines. That’s the new 200 series land cruisers.
    The number 5.7 represents the displacement capacity. You can find full details in Wikipedia on the mechanics of that. Off course, bigger the displacement more fuel it will consume. But again there are other factors like city or highway driving.

    3)Again you cant say if a V6 is good for the desert because there are many other factors to consider. However, a V6 has less power and torque than a v8. You can also see a lot of desert safari company guys using V6 land cruisers to haul 7 full sized adults through the desert. All depends on how you drive.

    4) The second gear was present in the 100 series land cruiser which ran into production until 2007. This is basically used to engage the car in 4 wheel mode. In new ones have buttons instead of gears. That’s the only difference.

    Hope this helps

    • okay thanks..but take this real life example….yes both v8 5.7l and 4.6…5.7l is more power and more hungry…but….

      For example these 2 after 100km….the V8 4.6l needs refule….but the 5.7l still has lets say 20% reserver fuel……or is it like this both after 100km needs refuell….so it means the 5.7l is more petrol hungry?

  3. I know your question is directed to Mash but let me say something from long experience in off road.

    If you have enough ground clearance, deflated tyres and constant foot on gas (constan rev on 2nd gear in most cases) you will make it in small to medium dunes even in Toyota Hilux. So in short it’s more than 75% on the driver not the car.

    Hope that gives you some idea.

  4. The new land cruiser comes with a 4.0 V6 option and this is the only 6 cylinder available. The 4.5 straight 6 was discontinued in 2007 with the previous generation. It was more torquey but also much thirstier. The 4.0 V6 is adequate for all but the most hardcore of desert driving(very steep dunes etc). From the V8 options, the 4.6 is far superior as it has good low end kick and offers better fuel economy than the 5.7 which has to be revved to hell to get anything out of it which hurts fuel economy too. The Nissan Patrol is much more spacious and more comfortable than the Land Cruiser on road and for moderate desert driving, just as capable. However, the 5.6 in either state of tunes (320hp and 400hp) is much thirstier than the 4.0 and 4.6 cruisers.

  5. Difference between All this in details

    AED 178000 – 180000 (XE)
    AED 190000 – 250000 (SE)
    AED 235000 – 305000 (LE)
    AED 255000 – 260000 (Desert Edition)

  6. Psst….much cheaper from al awir.

  7. hey,

    Any Clue where to find these Kits, am looking for the skid plates to install on my Patrol.

    I screwed by front bumper(city version) last time i hit the dunes.

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