Nissan pulled the wraps off the all-new, upsized Patrol SUV today in Abu Dhabi, and the big Toyota Land Cruiser competitor has ripped a page from its rival. Gone is the ruggedly utilitarian Patrol that looked right at home in white paint with a giant "UN" on each door. In its place, Nissan has delivered a decidedly more upscale, leather-lined, TV-screened blingwagon. You know, just like Toyota.
Power comes from a direct-injected 5.6-liter V8 that's good for 400 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic and a new electronic four-wheel-drive system with four driver-selectable modes (pavement, sand, rock, and snow). The truck rides on a new four-wheel independent suspension, and incorporates features such as a hydraulic body roll mitigation system, hill start assist, and hill descent control.
Inside, there's a roomier cabin with premium features and better overall material quality. Nifty new tech includes what Nissan calls a "curtain vent" - openings above each window that fire cool air straight down to form a layer of air-conditioned insulation between each passenger and the glass. (This is clearly a product of the extensive market research Nissan says it performed in the Middle East when planning the vehicle.)
So, will we see the Patrol here? For sure. We already have confirmation that the Infinitized version bows next month as the 2011 QX56 at the New York Auto Show. And this one? It'd make a fine Armada if you ask us.
Abu Dhabi, UAE (Feb. 13, 2010) - Reliable, unbreakable, affordable. The Nissan Patrol is a name synonymous with ruggedness, a legendary off-roader capable of going anywhere, anytime. Meticulously honed for over five decades, the Patrol is Nissan's flagship large SUV model and enjoys a rich heritage particularly in the Middle East that dates back to the 1950's. This off-road trendsetter was one of the first dedicated four-wheel-drive vehicles in the climatically demanding Middle East region, and boasts the notable distinction of also being the first vehicle to successfully cross the grueling Simpson Desert in Australia back in 1962.
Under the banner of "The Hero Comes Home" the Patrol is back as an all-new seventh generation model, building on its impressive history, but at the same time, incorporating a new platform, a radical new design direction, significantly enhanced interior comfort and luxury, powerful new V8 engines, a 7-speed automatic transmission and a new 4WD system.
"We paid special attention to the needs of current Patrol owners, and their passengers, and so focused on creating first-class levels of comfort for the whole family. Heightened luxury, a roomier cabin and a quieter ride combine to achieve this goal, while maintaining Patrol's superior off-road heritage" stresses Hiroyuki Fushiki, project head and Segment Chief Product Specialist.
Tested to the limit
Wanting to build the best possible Patrol, engineers first tuned and tested 200 prototypes for dynamic evaluation at the company's Motegi, Oppama and Tochigi proving grounds before sending them to the Middle East where they were exposed to every imaginable challenge; desert, rocky surfaces, highways and inner-city traffic. "By the time we came around to adding the new body and interior, we had virtually completed our reliability and durability testing and perfected all of the new technologies," says chief vehicle engineer, Takashi Fukui.
New exterior more sophisticated but still rugged
After extensive market research, especially in the Middle East, the design team concluded that for the Patrol to beat its main competitors, it needed not only a brand new design direction but class-leading engine performance, greater luxury and comfort and a smart mix of new technologies that enhanced the total driving experience. Product design director, Taiji Toyota, tells us that the all-new exterior design is like a breath of fresh air. "Not as edgy and hardcore as its predecessor, the softer new surfaces are beautiful and add a sense of modernity to the design equation, while still maintaining a ruggedness and commanding road presence" he said.
According to the design director, one design element that expresses 'Patrol' and had to feature strongly was the angled-strut motif front grille. It was meticulously proportioned to deliver a sense of continuity with past models but give a touch of newness while enhancing the car's status level.
Focus on roomier, more luxurious cabin
Featuring generous amounts of leather, polished aluminium and wood grain paneling, the Patrol's interior too has been significantly upgraded. Given that most customers only go off-road no more than 15% of the time, designers wanted to create a better, higher quality interior for the whole family.
In keeping with the Patrol's mission to deliver more comfort and more room, the new Patrol delivers seat dimensions that outclass all competition. Boasting wider, higher and deeper front seats, the Patrol offers over 100mm more legroom for second row passengers, and a roomier third row of seats as well. Employing double the lateral rigidity over the outgoing model, the new Patrol sits on a revised platform that now offers a more robust construction with a low vibration body.
All-new V8 engine leads array of segment-beating hardware
The new Patrol is now the most powerful vehicle in its class. And the key technology achieving this jump in performance over the predecessor's 4.8 litre power plant is the newly developed 'VK56VD' 5.6-litre V8 engine with VVEL (variable valve event and lift) and DIG (direct injection gasoline) technologies that generate 400hp and 550Nm of torque on the top specification version of this new engine.
Every component has been redesigned for maximum performance and smooth response, while a new 7-speed automatic transmission with a wider range of gear ratios than its predecessor, gives the off-roader the ability to deliver power faster.
Comprehensively upgraded 4WD system sets new standard
In a world-first for Nissan, the new Patrol employs a Hydraulic Body Motion Control System (HBMC), which keeps the car flatter with less body roll during lane-changing and cornering, while delivering a comfortable ride in city driving and superb stability on rugged and sandy tracks. Another crucial part of handling equation comes from the new suspension system, which now employs 4-wheel independent suspension, upgraded from the previous rigid axle setup. Nissan has completely redesigned the vehicle's suspension from the bushes to the links. The combination of HBMC and the new suspension system with its longer suspension stroke delivers significantly improved handling and stability on both on- and off-road terrain.
The Patrol also employs a newly developed ALL MODE 4x4 system incorporating a variable 4x4 mode package. It allows the driver to quickly switch between four drive modes: sand, on-road, snow and rock, with the flick of a switch. In sand mode, owners are able to drive safely, quickly and skillfully in sand and dirt, just like professional rally drivers.
In addition, the Patrol also offers a new Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control which can also be selected easily with the touch of a button. With Hill Start Assist, if a driver stops on a slope and steps off the brake pedal, the system keeps the vehicle stationary - with no roll back. Hill Descent Control uses the brakes to maintain a constant downhill speed of 7km/h in 4H mode and 4km/h in 4L mode.
The new model employs a revised Tyre Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with tyre inflation indicator which beeps the horn softly to inform drivers that a suitable tyre pressure has been reached.
A revised, more effective brake system also provides the best braking performance in its class thanks to its new hydraulic brake booster and a 4-piston opposed front caliper setup with larger 358mm front discs.
Nissan designers paid special attention to the second row seat passengers by not only significantly expanding legroom, but by also fitting a new multi-screen DVD entertainment system, a first form Nissan. It boasts two rear-facing TVs; one 7-inch monitor embedded into each front seat headrest.
Fitted with six airbags for top grade, the Patrol also comes with a totally revised climate control system boasting another world-first - the curtain vent. Curtain vent has several small but highly effective vents mounted in the ceiling above each side window to blow a strong current of cool air down forming a curtain of air that acts as a barrier to heat penetrating the cabin.
Yet another impressive Patrol feature is the cool box mounted in the centre console between the front seats. Incorporating a unique double hinge design, the lid of the cool box can be opened easily from either the front or second row of seats to access the six 600ml drink bottles inside.
With its fresh new styling, superior packaging, powerful but economical V8 engine, clever off-road technologies and higher levels of luxury and comfort, the all-new Patrol is now a true segment leader.