The Nissan Patrol’s dalliance with the sands of Arabia began decades ago, even before the UAE became a federation. Naturally, then, the familiarity that Nissan dealerships in the region have with the legendary off-roader is unrivalled by any of their counterparts elsewhere in the world. So, Al Masaood Automobiles, which has been dealing in Nissan vehicles right from when businessman Ahmed Al Masaood brought Datsun to Abu Dhabi, knows a thing or two about the Patrol.
It’s this confidence that prompted Al Masaood to tinker with the fifth-generation Patrol back in 1994. It was obviously an ambitious task to try to make the iconic SUV any more desert-capable than it already was. Still, the special Patrol, called the ‘Gannas’ edition and equipped with sand tyres and water tanks in place of the third seat row seats proved to be popular among customers in the capital and beyond. Late last year, the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain distributor announced a ‘Gannas’ edition based on the current generation Patrol that boasts significantly more modifications than its predecessor had, and we promptly put one to the test as soon as it was added to the press fleet.

‘Gannas’ is an Arabic word, which translates to ‘hunting’, and thus is aimed at those who would want to go deep into the wilderness to indulge in some traditional pastime. Hence the special Patrol has apparently been designed to possess even greater off-road abilities than the standard Patrol. To make sure this claim is met, the distributor spent nearly half a year developing and testing the vehicle. Apart from borrowing certain parts from the Patrol Desert Edition, it also gets ARB front strut and BP51 rear shocks, ARB coils with 50mm lift kit, an onboard air compressor and pump kit, Hutchinson dual bead lock 18in rims, including the spare, navigation with off-road map, under-body skid plates, and ABS disconnect switch as standard.

Gannas is an Arabic word, which translates to ‘hunting’, and thus is aimed at those who would want to go deep into the wilderness to indulge in some traditional pastime.

There’s an optional Dh2,000 on-board tool bag from 4x4 specialists ARB that you can spec it with. This includes a winch pack, auxiliary, special headlights, a snatch strap rated at 4,990kg, an easy tyre deflate tool, inflater gauge, as well as 16mm and 19mm bow shackles. In addition to these, the ‘Gannas’ edition Patrol offers further optional equipment including Maxtrax sand ladders complete with brackets and installation, Warn Industries’ Zeon Platinum 10 K-S winch, a rear tyre carrier as well as a 150-litre ARB range-extender fuel tank. In total, the optional equipment will set you back Dh24,000, so speccing the base Patrol with the ‘Gannas’ trappings will bring the price up to Dh260,000. Is it worth it? Well, if you are someone who will use your Patrol only where it rightfully belongs, then the ‘Gannas’ is well worth every penny you pay extra. With its uprated suspension, higher ground clearance and special off-road tyres, it makes mincemeat of anything that the region’s terrain can throw at it. However, the flip side is that its on-road behaviour is terrible. At steady speeds on a highway, it wobbles quite noticeably and is less confidence-inspiring than the regular Patrol around corners and bends. Our tester was based on the Patrol 5.6 LE, so it was powered by the 400 horsepower version of Nissan’s 5.6-litre V8 engine, but had cloth seats and manual seat controls. However, you can spec the higher-end Platinum variant with this package as well if you want more creature comforts on your hunting trip.

If you’re in the market for a large 4x4 that will mostly be driven within the confines of a city, with occasional trips to the desert or mountains, then the ‘Gannas’ edition is not for you. The standard Patrol with its refined urban manners and terrific off-road abilities will fit the bill perfectly. But if your occupation or leisure pursuits mandate extensive forays into the wilderness, the Patrol ‘Gannas’ makes perfect sense.