Six decades on patrol

by Andy Bryenton

There’s something in all of us that wants to be a bit different and hence steers us away from the obvious choice and toward the other contenders.

It’s the little voice that made it possible for the neon green Lamborghini Miura to exist in a world dominated by little red Ferraris. The urge to not buy the most obvious choice, no matter what kind of vehicle you’re considering adding to the garage. In terms of off-roaders, that means looking past the ubiquitous Toyota Land Cruiser to a vehicle with similar pedigree and some big achievements of its own. The Nissan Patrol.

Launched in 1951, the Patrol was a serious military-style off-roader when it debuted, only slightly softening its hard edges by the time a four-litre inline six P60 Patrol was the first vehicle to cross Australia’s unforgiving Simpson Desert.

By the 1980s, when the big Patrol and Safari models we still see on Kiwi roads were being produced, the vehicle had become immense, close to five metres long and two wide, packing the legendarily bulletproof RD28T turbo diesel as a popular option under the hood. These Patrols (rebadged as a Ford Maverick in Australia) were ideal platforms for building competitive too.

The modern Nissan Patrol is a far more refined beast, with an interior the equal of many of its pricier rivals. Alongside the wood panelling and leather, the 2019 Patrol packs in a host of electronic safety features like electronic intelligent blind spot intervention and intelligent cruise control.

There’s even a hydraulic body motion control system, which works with the suspension to keep all four tyres firmly planted in rough terrain. A faux SUV this is not, and it all becomes clearly apparent when the power under the hood is unleashed. This newest model deploys the most powerful engine in its class.

A 5.6 litre V8 provides the soundtrack and the motive force, delivering limitless hot torque on demand.

560 Newton metres, in fact, enough to tow even the heftiest boat, which can fit on a trailer, and close to 400 horsepower too. The Patrol may have become refined in its later years, but it still packs an almighty punch when it comes to power, and the ability to tackle arduous terrain.

It’s definitely up there with the Land Cruiser when it comes to comparing apples to apples in the large SUV market, and while it may not have the badge appeal of some of the ‘deluxe’ 4x4s now hitting the forecourts; it’s got a pedigree of its own that’s quite formidable.