The 2020 Nissan Patrol has been refreshed with stylish new looks and a suite of Nissan Intelligent Mobility safety technologies now fitted as standard equipment, but is that enough to steal the crown and sway buyers away from Toyota’s 200 Series Land Cruiser?
Well for starters, the value for money proposition is seriously sharp. Considering you can get into the “entry level” Ti from $75,990 before On-Road Costs, the equivalent GXL variant of the Land Cruiser 200 Series from Toyota’s stable starts off from $91,890 – so you’ve almost immediately got around $16,000 to either save, or use to modify the vehicle however you like to suit your lifestyle. While we’re on the subject, we use the term “entry level” very loosely and only purely because the Ti variant is the is currently the most affordable Patrol in the line-up, but you’re still treated to a seriously luxurious and well appointed cabin, and terrific overall build quality.
There are currently only two grades for the new 2020 Nissan Patrol, your choice of the Ti or Ti-L. Both come fitted with a powerful 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine that develops 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). It features a full-time 4WD system with selectable off-road modes and a rear diff lock as standard. Surprisingly (and with a lot of fun), as the big and heavy as the Patrol is, it gets off the mark a lot quicker than you expect. The drive itself is quiet and refined – even though you know there is a big rumbling V8 under that massive bonnet, it doesn’t make the usual noise that you might be accustomed to – unless you hear one with an aftermarket exhaust system, and if we’re being completely honest, it’s probably one of the first modifications you would do after hearing one on YouTube.
Even though it’s a big, heavy, petrol powered V8, the fuel consumption wasn’t bad at all, all things considered. Nissan claims a figure of 14.4L/100km on a combined cycle and a fuel tank of 140L, meaning you should be able to get around 900-odd km from a tank. During our week of testing on highway, inner city and fairly decent off-road driving, we returned an average of 17.8.
Both grades also receive a suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and more Nissan Intelligent Mobility features than ever before such as Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Also included as standard across both grades are Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.
Alright then, lets get to the elephant in the room then. Yes, we’re talking about the size of the Patrol. This thing is huge! At 5175mm long, 1995mm wide, 1940mm high and weighs in at around 2812kg. Perfect then for our current social distancing laws, given that there is so much room with ample leg and headroom inside the cabin between occupants. The softly padded seats are big and flat and comfortable, and even without the driver’s adjustable lumbar support, passengers likewise have it good. Compared to the 200 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, the Patrol has a couple fingers’ worth of extra legroom in the second and third rows. Large proportions don’t stop there, even the center-console box is almost large enough to fit an infant (which we don’t recommend trying).
Nissan tells us that the Patrol has a cargo capacity of 467.7 litres in the boot (with second and third row seats in the upright position), 1413.4 litres (with third row folded down to the floor); and 2623.2 litres (with both second and third rows folded flat). You’ll also find a very hand 12v socket in the rear, along with the tools required to perform a tyre change located under the floor. The full-size spare is found underslung at the rear of the vehicle.
All three rows in the Patrol are treated to air-condition thanks to roof-mounted air vents, even the third row which, whilst being a bit squashed for space, does house one top tether anchorage point. The second row houses three tether points behind the seats, as well as ISOFIX points on both outboard seats. The second row seating also houses a fold-down armrest in the centre seat, and air-condition controls are on the back of the centre console between the front row driver and passenger.
Sadly, Australia does miss out on the face-lifted interior with the dual-screen infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto. Which brings us to our first real gripe with the facelifted 2020 Patrol. A dated multimedia system and sorry to say but tacky walnut-coloured ‘wood’ trim – come on, we’re in 2020, there are way nicer finishing touches available, hell even gloss piano black would have probably been a nicer fit. It’s all an odd mixture with a little high-tech and old-school mixed into one that doesn’t quite hit the mark of “premium” as much as we’d like.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen up front is on the “slower” side in terms of reaction, but fairly easy to navigate your way around. It does also have Bluetooth connectivity for hands free audio streaming and steering wheel mounted controls for the audio and cruise control systems. The around-view monitor was great for checking out the terrain around the vehicle when we took it off road, and you’re able to check out a 360 degree birds eye view, front camera or rear camera.
On-road, (and off-road for that matter) everything about the Patrol is effortless. The ride is magic-carpet-like, there’s almost nothing in the way of wind or tyre noise entering the cabin, the engine and transmission are beautifully paired, the suspension is very well balanced between luxurious and not too soft that it wallows around corners like other vehicles in the segment, and the steering well weighted. In fact, even though we may ramble on about how big the Patrol is, it’s easy to forget, considering just how easy it cruises around in luxury and copes with inner city driving and parking. The only thing that did take a bit of getting used to, was the foot-release park brake.
Off-Road, the Patrol is still as capable as ever, and the Intelligent 4×4 Technology brings with it a range of different terrain modes including Sand, On-Road, Rock and Snow – all done from the push of a button. There is also Hill-Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. The system also has three modes in the 4WD system, Auto, 4 High and 4 Low. The Patrol also benefits from plenty of wheel travel and heaps of flex, so you’ll almost always have traction no matter where you go. Ground Clearance comes in at 273mm, and 34.4 degrees of approach angle, 24.4 degrees of rampover and 26.3 degrees of departure angle. It also has a wading depth of 700mm.
It also has a neat little system called Hydraulic Body Motion Control. Nissan tells us that the Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC) suspension system has been implemented to ensure remarkably low body roll when powering through corners and provides better traction through rough terrain. HBMC plays both the role of shock absorbers and stabiliser bars,
allowing for full wheel travel, meaning your wheels will stay firmly on the ground when you’re off the beaten track. The HBMC system provides this balance and superior cornering by monitoring force and then distributing pressure to either the outer or inner double wishbone suspension system. This HBMC system delivers a smoother ride, safer cornering and overall enhanced stability.
The Patrol Ti has a brake towing capacity of 3500kg, unbraked towing capacity of 750kg and a payload of 688kg.
The Nissan Patrol is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, and the first six services are capped at $376, $577, $392, $860, $407 and $624 respectively with 6 month/10,000km intervals.
While it is a big beast (especially around town) the 2020 Nissan Patrol Ti is still as comfortable, practical and useful as it’s ever been – perhaps even more fun than the old ones. It easily doubles as a serious off-road explorer or road tripping family SUV . Yes it might be a petrol only option, but that’s okay if your calculations take into the account the difference in initial outlay. Has it got what it takes to steal the 200 Series Land Cruiser’s crown – I don’t think so just yet. But it’s definitely clawing it’s way up the ladder from where it used to be and offers terrific value for the dollar price, and if you’re in the market for either vehicle – do yourself a favour and go and test drive both to make your own mind up.
If you’re on a budget, and need a large luxury SUV that’s packed with features and big on adventure – 2020 the Nissan Patrol Ti should be at the top of your watch list. Yes it’s Petrol only, and has a interior that needs a re-fresh – but if you can look past those, it’s positives such as the functional space, safety features as well as it’s off-road capability and on-road performance, far outweigh the cons!
What we liked:
That seriously smooth and refined 5.6-litre V8 – perfectly matched to the smooth-shifting Automatic.
Comfortable and Cavernous interior.
Great overall ride comfort and on-road handling.
What we didn’t like:
Interior and Multimedia could do with a re-fresh.
Third row is a bit cramped.
No diesel engine will turn some buyers away.