The Nissan Patrol has earned itself a place in the very fabric of the UAE, so frequently is it seen on city streets, in wadis and dunes, and on numerous driveways across the country. Having earned an exceptional reputation for strength and reliability over many decades, the Patrol has always been considered as the ultimate ‘off roader’ but now with the option of both V6 and V8 engines, it holds equal appeal as a stylish, practical family vehicle.
A true eight passenger SUV, the Patrol’s middle and rear row seats can be set in a number of different ways for optimal use of space. Raising and lowering the three rear seats is accomplished easily at the touch of a button, from either the passenger door position or from the rear of the vehicle, for maximum convenience. When lowered, the load bay features an almost completely flat floor, but when raised, each of the rear seats features a full three point seat belt – not just a lap belt. Both the centre and rear rows of seats split 60 / 40, allowing for many different combinations of passenger and load carrying, and of course due to its off roading heritage, Nissan has thoughtfully provided a large number of tie down points and a 12V power outlet in the rear. Those using the rear load area will also appreciate the ability to close the tailgate at the touch of a button.
All seat positions benefit from an array of air conditioning vents for maximum comfort, with dual temperature controls for front and rear passengers. Tall passengers not only enjoy class leading knee-room in the centre row but also video screens in the front head rests, with wireless headphone connection and remote control. They also have access to the cool box in the centre console via a clever two way hinge which is equally practical for the driver and front seat passenger.
For the driver, comfort is assured thanks to the deep cushioned front seats, electrically adjustable to suit all preferred driving positions, whilst the sunroof ensures the cockpit receives plenty of light, further enhancing the appearance of the smart dashboard. The steering wheel is not only stylish, being leather bound with a wood inlay, but is also adjustable for both rake angle and reach. Within the instrumentation the driver can select from a number of different displays including fuel remaining, fuel tank range, average and current consumption, trip meter etc, whilst on the large infotainment screen, further vehicle information is available such as current tyre pressures, wheel position — very useful when driving off road in rocky terrain — compass bearing etc.
That same 8.0in infotainment centre displays an extremely detailed and easy to read GPS navigation system, and of course offers Bluetooth connectivity and for those drivers who appreciate listening to good music, the Bose Premium sound system features 13 speakers including two sub-woofers; volume control is speed sensitive for optimal listening pleasure. Overall, the cabin finish is that of a premium quality car, so the impression from the driving seat is not only one of a commanding position with excellent visibility, but also of being comfortably surrounded by technology and features which make driving more rewarding and relaxing.
On the road the Patrol belies its eight seat capacity, that V6 engine, with 275bhp, coupled to a seven-speed gearbox, providing plenty of ‘get up and go’ to pull effortlessly from the lights. With cruise control set to highway speeds, there’s more than enough power to haul the Patrol comfortably across the Emirates, whilst cabin noise is surprisingly low for such a large vehicle. Meanwhile the Patrol‘s numerous active safety systems ensure maximum protection for the vehicle’s occupants, with features such as Distance Control Assistance on the cruise control, Vehicle Dynamics Control to ensure vehicle stability in all circumstances, and Blind Spot Warning in the wing mirrors. Coupled with the independent double wishbone suspension, these technologies make for a relaxing drive, whether on highway or city streets.
Of course city driving means city car parking too and this is where the Patrol’s numerous on board cameras come to the fore. The safety of pedestrians, the vehicle, and nearby obstacles is assured thanks to a 360-degree view of the surroundings, displayed on the infotainment screen. Front and rear parking sensors add to the sense of security.
Now no review of the Patrol would be complete without a trip into the dunes, so with tyres deflated and the drive selector in the ‘Sand’ position (thereby adjusting the ECU and traction control systems to give greater control on the loose, undulating surfaces) the Nissan is all set to tackle the desert, and it’s at times like this that the efficiency of the air conditioning is appreciated too. Decades of off roading experience have led, wisely, to the incorporation of features such as a limited slip differential, electronically selected high / low range gears via a transfer case, and the ability to manually lock the differential when the going get really tough. As a result the Patrol, of course, makes light work of the dunes but all the while, passengers are able to enjoy a truly comfortable ride. For wadis and mountain passes there is a ‘Rock’ driving setting and though the ‘Snow and ice’ setting is unlikely to see much use, it’s there just in case.
Back on the tarmac, experienced off roaders will appreciate the convenience of Nissan’s clever tyre inflation feature – with a compressor attached to a tyre valve, when that tyre reaches the correct road pressure, the Patrol lets out a single short, blast of the horn. No need to switch back repeatedly between compressor and tyre gauge, the Patrol takes care of the details!
With its modern design, ability to carry eight passengers in great comfort, extensive safety features and stylish interior, the 2017 Nissan Patrol is truly multi-purpose vehicle. That it excels off road is a given, as is its strength and reliability, but its sure footed, hushed on road performance makes it as appealing to the family buyer as it does the adventurer or urban explorer.
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