Nissan Patrol GL Pick-up

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Keywords: Nissan Patrol GL Pick-up

Description: Nissan’s just upgraded its venerable Patrol pick-up for 2014. The update consists some minor revisions to the styling, with a new powerplant and added features.

Nissan’s just upgraded its venerable Patrol pick-up for 2014. The update consists some minor revisions to the styling, with a new powerplant and added features. Have Nissan done enough for the Patrol to topple its main rival, the Toyota Land Cruiser, though?

The Patrol pick-up is unquestionably the company’s “go anywhere, do anything” vehicle – the king of Nissan’s LCVs. But its ruggedness won’t appeal to the majority of South Africans. Nissan fittingly chose to launch the Patrol at the Nampo agricultural trade show in the Free State town of Bothaville.

The Patrol retains much of its retro-cool macho appeal, with a profile very much reminiscent of its predecessor’s. New, though, are the headlamps and grille, which brings it in line with more modern products. The black-plastic fender flares also add significantly to the Patrol’s presence.

As you can imagine, the interior’s a bit spartan. Stepping up into the cabin I was greeted by a basic facia, with a monotonous grey tone. The only niceties are air conditioning, electric windows, and rake-adjustable steering column, while on the safety front there’s two airbags and ABS as standard.

Underneath the bonnet lies a 3,0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder motor that produces 110 kW and 371 N.m of torque. It replaces the old normally aspirated six-pot. The new powerplant is compatible with 500 ppm diesel fuel that can be stored in two tanks totalling a mammoth 175 litres.

With the launch route heading south out of Gauteng and toward Bothaville via Parys, local motoring scribes got to experience the Patrol on varied asphalt that ranged from the smooth N1 to the bumpier B-roads that can be expected or more rural areas. The ladder-frame chassis handled the imperfections with ease, but I felt that there was a bit too much effort require to keep Patrol tracking straight and true, with excessive movement around the steering centre and plenty of correcting needed as such.

On the gravel roads that line the area, the Patrol came into its own and felt right at home. The surface didn’t result in any resonance and NVH off the beaten track was also mightily impressive. My only reservation is that the suspension is so compliant that it can encourage one to drive a little quicker than would otherwise be the case. And with a lack of electronic wizardry to catch any driver errors, things can get a little interesting…

What does help is that the rear track has been increased and wider tyres (265/70 R16 rubber) have been fitted to improve stability somewhat. Otherwise, the Patrol’s got an indestructible air about it. Aided by low range, a rear-differential lock and serious ground clearance the Patrol is surely also capable of real overlanding.

Nissan claims a 10,9-litre/100 km average fuel consumption figure and the Patrols weren’t far off that mark on the way to Nampo, so the 1 600 km claim from a single fill-up seems possible. More impressive is the Patrol’s 2 500 kg towing capacity.

At R476 900, the Patrol pick-up isn’t cheap, but you get the sense that it’ll just go on forever. Its service intervals of 15 000 km will also go a long way to reducing its long-term running costs. There’s also a myriad of options to choose from to tailor the Patrol to your needs – such as a winch, cattle rails, spot lights and snorkels. The Patrol also offers many class-leading features. There can’t be much out there that’s tougher than this if you’re looking for a hard-as-nails LCV.

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