First drive: 2017 Nissan Patrol SE V6 in Oman
The exterior as well as the interior are familiar. It feels like being back home. Everything we know about the Nissan Patrol is here. And we know a lot, since we bought one earlier this year. But ours is the LE V8. This is the new Patrol SE V6, a replacement for the discontinued SE V8. And the only way you can tell the difference is when you mash the throttle pedal.
We were in Oman to drive Nissan’s rival to the base Toyota Land Cruiser V6. Ever since the launch of the Y62-generation Patrol in late 2009, we’ve been hearing rumours of a V6 variant, but it took this long to make it happen. And we were the first media to break the story.
Truth be told, the only reason Nissan would want a V6 in their humongous Patrol is to appease those who buy a big expensive car in a country with cheap fuel and then keep whining about fuel costs. We’ve met many such owners of V6 Land Cruisers. Also, upcoming fuel-economy regulations for the GCC are being taken into account as well, although development for this apparently started four years ago.
Powered by a version of Nissan’s ubiquitous 4.0-litre V6 that does duty in the Xterra and the Pathfinder Classic, it makes 275 hp and 394 Nm of torque at a high 4000 rpm, but mated to a 7-speed automatic in this application. However, according to Nissan, most of the torque is available at lower rpm, with a broader torque curve than the Toyota Land Cruiser’s V6. Theoretically, this means you have to push the Patrol’s engine less to get the same amount of pull.
Nissan says the V6 Patrol will do the 0-100 kph run in 11.5 seconds, with a rated fuel consumption of 11.8 litres/100 km. As per our experience with the car on the extremely steep mountain roads around the Alila Jabal Akhdar resort (so steep, that two-wheel-drive cars are not allowed up there), the acceleration figures are probably accurate, but we had to push the engine pretty hard to keep it moving up and down the roads, holding gears in second or third, and keeping the rpm at more than 5000 rpm most of the time. This led to V8-like fuel consumption of 25 litres/100 km, so it was not a true test. Nissan claims it is 13% more efficient than the old SE V8, but of note is that the car did not overheat after all this abuse, with the a/c running at full blast.
On the highway is where the V6 shines. While it takes ages (relatively speaking) to move from, say 80 kph to 120 kph, once it settled down on the long road to the airport, the engine was turning over at just under 2200 rpm at 120 kph. So decent fuel economy is entirely possible, especially for those who drive casually anyway.
What we did appreciate was getting the full premium Patrol effect, which means standard stitched-leatherette dashboard panels, well-padded leatherette armrests and a properly-folding third-row seat, unlike its main rival. Our Platinum trim also meant we got that around-view camera system, leather seats, integrated stereo with touchscreen and a full set of airbags, aside from the “city” front bumper and 20-inch alloys. Lower grades get a basic rear camera, nice cloth upholstery, 18-inch wheels and a simpler 2-DIN stereo without a screen. Of course, tons of space comes standard.
Also of note is that the engine noise is muted decently so the drive is very refined — a far cry from the gruff cacophony of an Xterra. The Hydraulic Body Motion Control system is not available on the V6, yet the ride was smooth, fairly quiet and not too floaty.
Unfortunately we were in the mountains so there was no opportunity for any desert driving, although we did play on some gravel tracks and climbed some paved inclines. With good ground clearance, a terrain-select system, low-range and rear diff lock, the Patrol V6 is fully equipped for offroading. It’s just that the engine will have to be pushed much harder and it may not be able to climb 5-storey dunes, but it will manage just fine to get you through the desert at least, to reach camping spots and hunt Pokemons.
The concept of a V6 Patrol may sound like a bad idea to internet commenters, but Toyota has already proven that a majority of SUV buyers actually worry more about fuel economy than outright performance. Only 20-30% of Patrol buyers were apparently opting for the 400 hp Patrol LE (although price is a factor as well). For many actual family-men, the only hindrance to getting a Patrol was the “big” V8 engine, but now the option exists for those who want one.
Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.
For prices and specs, visit the Nissan Patrol buyer guide.