A V6 powering the Patrol might not be everyone’s cup of tea but from the photos, it doesn’t seem to have affected performance much…

It hasn’t affected it at all. Just look at the way it’s ripped up the topography! Sure, this one isn’t as potent as the full fat version but when you venture off the beaten track with this new 4.0-litre six-pot mated to a seven-speed automatic you don’t feel as if you’re lacking in grunt. The motor is smooth and delivers a refined ride when you’re just cruising along the highway but when you need it to really work, it doesn’t let you down. It manages to retain the high levels of power that the model is known for - and it has better fuel economy than the V8 sipping 11.8 litres per 100km; that makes it 13 per cent more efficient. With our fluctuating fuel prices, that is good news.

But it isn’t as quick as that Nismo edition you tested earlier…

No it isn’t; that one went from 0-100kph in 7.3 seconds - this one will do it in a more leisurely 11.5 seconds - but you don’t need these big SUV’s to go that fast. They need pulling power and this V6 variant with 275 horsepower and 394Nm of torque sure has that. It is more than enough to get this goliath to play and that is partly due to the fact the V6 weighs less than the V8 by almost 100kg. It doubles up as a practical family hauler and dune-bashing off-roader quite nicely. And if you give it a long enough road, it’ll top out at 200kph.

It looks just like the V8 model…

It’s identical in fact and it’s available in both XE and SE trims. Our tester was the Platinum variant and was loaded to the hilt. In fact, it was so luxurious that I felt a little bad taking it off-road and kicking up all that mud.

Did you really?

Actually… nah, I didn’t. It was so much fun and anyway, the Patrol was designed for exactly this. I can’t tell you how annoyed I feel when I see these SUV’s with brilliant off-road capability relegated to just the school or grocery run. They’re crying out to be unleashed on the most challenging of terrains. I mean, this model is equipped with a 4L-4H switch, full time four-wheel drive (with variable 4X4 mode), hill start assist and hill descent control, ABS, EBD and brake assist, rear differential lock and a tyre pressure monitoring system. It was built to tame the dunes!

Ok, ok, calm down. You have to admit it makes a great school run/grocery getter too though…

Grudgingly, I agree it does.

Tell everyone why…

Well, there’s oceans of room in the cabin what with three rows of seats that can accommodate seven adults. Even that third row is quite roomy – but kids will love sitting back there more. It’s dressed really well too and catches a lot of attention thanks to those massive 20in alloys, the huge grille up front, chrome side view mirrors, and it’s just as fetching on the inside too. It boasts a leather steering with wood grain and leather door trim not to mention all manner of kit such as a Bose Audio with 13 speakers, an 8.0in LCD screen with navigation, around view monitor and a push button engine starter. So yeah, if you don’t take this out in the rough, I suppose I’ll understand…

Are you sure?

Nope.