Nissan Patrol 4.8 GRX
Now despite Nissan’s best attempts to convince us otherwise, the ‘new’ Patrol is much the same as the one from the 1950’s. That ladder chassis design and big gutsy engine pay tribute to its heritage by maintaining the go-anywhere philosophy, while the odd splattering of fake wood and the addition of modern-day conveniences like air-conditioning are a bid to market the Patrol as a premium SUV.
They’re not fooling anyone however. The fact that the UN chose Patrol’s to go beating around the deserts of the Middle East and other similarly inhospitable places, shows that the Patrol is first and foremost a rugged, hardcore, no nonsense, all terrain machine.
The 4.8 litre in-line six cylinder motor produces 190kW and a mammoth 425 torques, enough to pull the Patrol’s three ton girth over or through any obstacle in its path, and delivers that oomph to wheels via a five speed automatic gearbox.
While the chassis design may be considered antiquated by modern (Land Rover) standards, there’s a distinct sturdiness that provides supreme confidence in the Nissan when the going gets tough. The solid axles coupled to long-travel coil springs make for exceptional articulation, while rear diff lock and low range gearing allows the driver to exploit traction to its fullest.
Unfortunately this rugged prowess does not translate into a massively enjoyable car to steer about the urban streets. The mere fact that the Patrol spans almost two metres means that squeezing it through traffic is a hair-raising affair. Not to mention the fact that turning the steering wheel feels about as useful as hippies throwing pebbles at Japanese whaling ships from their rubber dinghies. What’s more, that separate chassis design leaves the Patrol languishing in comfort standards when compared with more modern off-roaders.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. The Patrol is big enough to carry a small battalion along with their arsenal of weaponry, which also means you can get all the whole neighbourhood’s kids to school with room to spare. Despite the almost shameless manner in which modern amenities have been added to the interior, they are all mostly there – although removing the tape deck would help modernise the console.
If you’re the adventurous type who enjoys the odd excursion into the veld, I don’t think the Patrol is for you because you’d just never challenge it enough. This car is for a proper 4×4, off-road enthusiast – a mountain-man if you will – who spends more time off tarmac than on it. That way the Patrol will revel in the challenge and satisfy its proud owner as it should.
Price: R745 200
Engine: 4759cc in-line six cylinder petrol
Power (kW): 190
Torque (Nm): 425
Top speed (km/h): 190
First published in Autodealer KZN