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Road Test

Nissan Patrol ST-L


by Ken Walker


15th April, 2008

Nissan Patrol ST-L 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

The latest Nissan Patrol 7-seater wagon is the March 2007 update of the GU series 3. And we put it through its paces.

Our package for this report is the 3.0 litre 4 cylinder common rail, turbocharged Euro IV compliant diesel with a 5 speed manual transmission in the ST-L version. This is the only diesel engine available in the Patrol range of vehicles at present.†An updated power plant, which is much improved over the previous 3.0 litre engine develops 118 kW of power (at 3,400 rpm) and 380 Nm of torque (at 2,000 rpm) when coupled to the manual transmission, whilst it produces 354 Nm when matched to the automatic transmission.

If Nissan is not trying to shoot themselves in the foot, then a new bigger diesel power unit, hopefully a V6, is needed sooner rather than later. Compared to the power of the Pathfinder/Navara diesel engine output of 128 kW and 400 Nm the Patrol appears grossly under powered. The Next Car team have heard rumours that the Nissan/Renault alliance are working on a new engine for the North American market but there has not been a mention of it for the Australian market. Perhaps in a new model for 2009, but whenever it occurs, you will read about it on the Next Car news pages.

The Patrol is a large wagon, no matter which way you look at it, and very comfortable to travel in whether on or off the bitumen.†It has a reputation of being nearly bullet proof with one of the toughest and strongest limited slip differentials on the market today; this being one of the reasons hard core off-roaders buy the well extablished Nissan Patrol.

Nissan Patrol ST-L 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

On a short but rugged bush track, after a lot of rain, the Patrol had no difficulties whatsoever in being pushed around.†It was only on a steep track that four-wheel low was needed for a very brief period, the remainder of our track work was spent in four-wheel high. As I stated earlier, the Nissan Patrol is a more than capable vehicle in an off-road environment.

On the exterior, the panels were uniformly and neatly fitted, whilst the surface finish in a brilliant white was outstanding. Alloy side steps further enhanced this package. Standard equipment also includes front & rear mud flaps. Off-road users will also appreciate the standard front/rear towing hooks.†This unit is fitted with 5 alloy rims running 275/65R17 all terrain tyres.†Automatic front locking hubs are featured on all Patrols except the base DX version.††Stopping the Patrol, which indecently weights in at 2,486 kilogrammes for the manual version, is done by 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes.†A load of 574 kgs is allowed taking the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) to 3,060 Kgs. A braked trailer towing capacity of 3,200 kgs for Patrols fitted with manual transmission is available. However, the tow ball download weight must not exceed 200 kgs unless the GVM is reduced.

Internally, the package, remember this is an ST-L version, was fitted with leather power front seats, height adjustable steering column, a stereo radio with both a CD (in dash) and cassette player with an automatic power antenna. Driver and passenger benefit with SRS airbag protection.†Air conditioning is a standard inclusion which also provides cool air to the rear seats.†As always, power windows and power external mirrors are very much appreciated, as is remote keyless central locking. There are 4 cup holders and map lights for the front occupants.†Nissanís Patrol has a whole lot more features that the motoring public expect and accept as standard fitment which we will leave for individual research at this time.

A very clever feature of the instrument cluster is the inclusion of a warning light to indicate fuel contamination by water. We believe that this will be a boon to off-roaders to assist in the early detection of this type of contamination and, thus, assist the prevention of damage to either the fuel system or engine.

Nissan Patrol ST-L 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

There are 7 seating positions in the Nissan Patrol ST-L, with the third row most suitable to agile youngsters due to restricted entry/egress access.

The third row of seats are side hinged and may be folded away, although this encroaches into the cargo area quite substantially.†Of course, if the third row is not required then removal is a simple task.

The fuel tank capacity is a very handy 125 litres. Ground clearance is a reasonable 210 mm.

The Nissan Patrol ST-L currently retails at $58,490.00 (RRP) for the 5 speed manual plus the usual dealer and state/territory charges.

Overall, the Nissan Patrol was hard to fault in the short time we were 'running' the unit.

The Next Car team consider the Nissan Patrol is a very worthy vehicle, particularly for off-roading and for towing. However, there are a host of same category vehicles on the market currently that are leaving the Patrol in their dust due to better power to weight ratios. Hopefully, Nissan will address the power shortfall and again make this vehicle the success it has been in the past.


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