Cars & Gadgets

The Nissan Patrol Is All the SUV Your Family Will Ever Need

One would be hard-pressed to find a similar upscale SUV or even ultra-luxury SUV costing two times more that can do all these with as much aplomb as the Patrol.
IMAGE NISSAN PHILIPPINES
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Are you shopping for an SUV but find the immensely popular pickup-based SUVs a bit too hoi polloi for your taste? Or perhaps you find those SUVs a bit small for your family in spite of the seating for seven?

With its outstanding water-wading capability, off-roading prowess, exemplary on-road manners, and posh accommodations for eight, the full-size Nissan Patrol (internally codenamed “Y62” by the folks at Nissan) is the only SUV your family will ever need. One would be hard-pressed to find a similar upscale SUV or even ultra-luxury SUV costing two times more that can do all these with as much aplomb as the Patrol.

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Tall, wide, and handsome

If there's a wheel...
Photo by NISSAN PHILIPPINES.

The Patrol has a very imposing presence as it is tall, long, and wide. Massive 275/60 R20 tires and the large greenhouse further magnify the Patrol’s size. Just by looking at the Patrol, one could surmise that some VIP (or a VIP’s minions) is inside the vehicle. We got to be those, um, VIPs during a ride-and-drive event hosted by Nissan Philippines recently.

Slipping into the driver’s seat of Nissan’s flagship SUV, you are immediately reminded that the Patrol’s exterior dimensions are no illusion. Everything inside is huge—the steering wheel, the expansive dashboard and instrument panel, the center stack, eight-inch infotainment monitor, and even the console box. I am about average height and weight and I soon found a comfortable driving position via the power adjustments. I think a driver who is a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier will be just as comfortable.

It takes just a few minutes of driving in traffic to get accustomed to the Patrol’s pachyderm-esque dimensions. For good measure, four cameras, an eight-inch monitor on the center stack, and multiple proximity and moving object sensors help the noob Patrol driver navigate through tight spots.

The Y62 was first launched in 2010 but it is aging quite well.

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Composure around bends

Despite the Nissan Patrol's posh appointments, it still is one of the toughest SUVs on the planet
Photo by NISSAN PHILIPPINES.

Providing the motivation for the Patrol is a 5.6-liter V8 gas engine developing 400 hp and 560 Nm of torque. Flooring the accelerator moves the Patrol’s 2.7-ton mass with urgency while a satisfying growl from the engine fills the cabin. A seven-speed automatic transmission and a robust four-wheel-drive (4WD) system deliver power and torque to the wheels.

What truly impressed me though was how poised the Patrol was when we took sweeping turns at moderate speeds along the Nasugbu-Ternate highway. With most SUVs, things can get hairy because centrifugal force causes weight transfer to the outer wheels and the body leans away from the center of the turn; you get the feeling that you’re about to tip over if you go a bit too fast. Not so with the Patrol. The secret is Nissan’s proprietary Hydraulic Body Motion Control, which uses hydraulic fluid to stiffen the shock absorbers of the outer wheels, thus allowing the Patrol to remain more upright through the turn.  

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Tough as nails

This could be your best foul-weather friend
Photo by NISSAN PHILIPPINES.

Over the past few decades, the Patrol has cemented its reputation as one of the most capable off-roaders on the planet. The centerpiece event of the annual Liwa Sports Festival held in the Al Dhafra region between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia is the 300-m sprint up the Moreeb Dune. With a slope of about 50 degrees, Moreeb Dune is one of the toughest hill climb events in the world—and Y60 and Y61 Patrols comprise majority of the entries in the centerpiece SUV classes. Some of these Patrols pack heavily modified Nissan GT-R engines that produce over 3,000(!) hp. Is it any wonder why the United Nations has depended on the Nissan Patrol for all sorts of critical missions for so many years?

The organizers of our ride-and-drive event wanted us to know that the Y62 is just as tough as its predecessors. To do this, Nissan Philippines created a short make-shift off-road circuit featuring irregularly banked mounds, potholes, and inclines that gave the Patrol’s suspension and four-wheel-drive system a light workout. A highlight of the course was an extremely steep 15-foot drop wherein the driver has to really restrain himself or herself from applying the brakes and leave the braking to the Hill Descent Control system. Although the Y62 may be way classier than any of its predecessors, its off-roading chops has not diminished one bit.

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Big SUV, big heart

The infotainment system provides a significant amount of information about the Patrol's real-time performance.
Photo by ERIC S. SORIANO.

I like big, tough SUVs and I enjoy driving them immensely. However, giving up the driver’s seat for the comfortable second row bench wasn’t bad at all as the second row’s legroom was generous enough to allow me to cross my legs. When I had to share the second row with two other average-sized male adults, none of our shoulders touched as we all leaned back on our seats. And get this: the entertainment system’s dual seven-inch monitors mounted on the front head restraints could play two different videos simultaneously. Passengers could listen to the audio for the two videos via wireless headphones that come with the Patrol.
 
A few days ago, there were news items about how a town in Ilocos Norte experienced floods for the first time ever as it bore the brunt of Typhoon “Ineng.” Meanwhile in Metro Manila, some streets were submerged in up to 18-inch deep waters after just two hours of continuous downpour also from Ineng. Will your set of wheels help you survive this crazy, changing climate? The Nissan Patrol will. 

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Eric S. Soriano
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