It was very nice of Nissan Australia to fly me to New Zealand and Australasia’s best resort. But aside from the sheer beauty of Cape Kidnappers and its surrounds perched above Hawke’s Bay, was there a truly worthy story Nissan wanted me to tell you, like about its cars?
Well, yes and no. In short Nissan has refreshed its SUV range, especially the Qashqai. I will tell you a little later about some updates to the Pathfinder and X-trail. But for me, my eyes were squarely on the Nissan Patrol V8.
I started somewhat of a love affair with the controversial addition back in 2013. I drove one to Thredbo and slept in it, in July. Can I offer one piece of advice should you ever want to do this. Leave a window slightly ajar, the condensation from my breathing combined with the outside sub-zero temperatures almost drowned me.
I also took this massive oil tanker to an area of the Blue Mountains. Now at 24, I was a tad naïve, at best. I looked for the first available muddy pool and attempted to drive straight through it.
Of course, the hole was probably a metre deep with more than a foot of quicksand under that. With my wife onboard, I almost buried a then near $120,000 Nissan Patrol. Mud was fair dinkum halfway up the window screen.
How it ploughed through I will never know, why my mate attempted the same crossing in a Nissan Navara is also beyond me. It stopped dead and filled with filth.
I spent several hours on the Karcher just cleaning out the engine bay after that. But from that day, I was aware that this completely outrageous petrol V8 monster had some genuine off-road cred. The only problem was, it was a little goofy to look at, like Dumbo. Plus, even back then, that faux wood interior was a shocker.
Aside from the 298kW / 560Nm V8 that went like the clappers, it actually wasn’t a complete punish to drive at all. It was indeed large, the largest car I’d driven at the time. In fact, the first time I sat inside one and slipped away from whoever gave me the keys, I remember pissing myself laughing. You could more than swing a cat inside, you can swing 9.
So here we are in 2020 and wow, we have a new look.
But is that just it?
Well no, but it’s the most important change in more than eight or nine years. The front end is now very assertive, those new headlights have 52 LED lights, so there…
In my view it now just looks right, especially the Ti-L model.
The rear-end with its sole and larger Patrol badge kind of remind me of BMW’s X7. I think it’s the new horizontal chrome trim and edgy boomerang-shaped taillights that do it for me. Or perhaps it’s the restamped new bonnet and fender panels.
There have been some tweaks to the suspension to further tie the big beast down. This is another area where the Patrol really excels. I spent three months driving the Lexus LX 570 V8, it drives like a canoe compared to the Patrol. The big Nissan can be driven by anyone, without fear. I see you Mums out and about in them, it has taken some time, but many Aussie families have silently slipped into a vehicle that seems at odds with, well everything.
Safety has been updated to fit the rather tired “Nissan Intelligent Mobility” mantra. Driver assist systems are now standard on both the Ti and Ti-L. So, you’re backed by Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Further standard features include, Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.
Aside from that not much else has changed, there’s still a seven-speed automatic transmission and various 4×4 modes.
There’s also any lack of modern-day connectivity from the 8-inch touch screen. So, if that’s an area to create bedlam in your family, take note.
For the meantime let’s all bask in the sheer joy that there’s still a 5.7-litre near three tone SUV around. The Nissan Patrol Ti starts at $75,990 before on roads and $91,990 for the Ti-L. All backed by Nissan’s 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
It’s an 8.2 out of 10 from me.