Life is all about new experiences; and driving in the desert with a 400 horse power "Patrol" is definitely one of the things that should be on your bucket list. Dubai is a city that offers you just that. When I found out about the desert experience, things got a bit more interesting. A safari head!
I attended Nissan ME's annual gathering, where financial results were discussed. And, it seems they have witnessed an increase in sales and growth in the GCC market share due to their new models and innovative technologies. Financial results and growth are the pillars that a company relies on to make plans and to look forward to the future, especially when the competition is stronger than ever.
The Nissan Patrol is one of the most capable 4X4 vehicles on sale today. With the ever-fearsome Toyota Land Cruiser, the Patrol has a difficult task to fulfill. Yet, a heavy duty SUV is something we could all use every day. The combination of practicality, luxury and power is a bit tricky to achieve, but I can assure you that the new and improved Nissan Patrol has shown to be worthy of the challenge.
First, let me give you an overview of the model and its trims. The Patrol comes with a choice of two engines, a 5.6L V8 with 320 BHP, and a 400 BHP with the same displacement. The trims are SE and LE, and for the most demanding drivers, the Platinum Edition.
The journey started with five cars parked in front of the hotel, in order to explore all the aspects of the Patrol. An urban drive was ahead, strolling around in the captivating city of Dubai to appreciate the luxury and ride-comfort of the vehicle.
What follows is the adventurous safari ride, but we will get to that later.
What you first notice while driving is the beautiful leather seats, lined with brown piping on the side, and the seat ventilation option, heated and cooled, is convenient, especially on long drives. The robust gear knob made from beautiful leather and chrome finishing gives you a great feeling particularly in manual mode, going up and down the gears. An 8 inch touchscreen provides the driver with all the needed information and all the settings to personalize your Patrol to your preferences. Although the steering is a bit heavy while maneuvering tight turns, it still gives the driver a precise feel of control.
Everything is made in high end material, and the plastic-like feeling that was present in the older models has almost disappeared. I especially enjoyed the sound system, which gives out more than 500 watts that you can enjoy on mundane journeys with your family and friends. No matter how big your family is, they can always manage to fit into a Patrol. The ride height is exceptional, giving the driver an excellent visibility.
One of the most impressive features of the car is the air conditioning system, which has air vents dispersed in the entire cabin. And so passengers can stay cool even in the third row seats. This is an essential feature in the GCC region. The ride comfort is remarkable, yet you still feel the heaviness of the car, which creates body roll.
Once the tarmac came to an end, we regrouped on the side of the road before heading into the safari. The safari started with a brief from our instructors, then we dropped the tires to almost 1-bar of pressure and activated sand mode, which is one of the many different driving modes. Then, we set off into the dunes. The sand mode loosens up the suspension and manages the torque distribution on all four tires; it also sharpens up the throttle response.
One of the first things we learned is that you should never explore the desert alone. We were a convoy of five cars: the first car is the leader and the last car is the sweeper. I was the sweeper and my job was to make sure that all the cars ahead crossed the dunes in safety and without taking big risks.
Driving up and down the dunes was where you could feel the 560 Nm of torque blasting the car through all the obstacles with complete comfort. The Patrol is made to command and conquer. I was driving up and down dune drops, almost 10 meters high, and the car remained subtle and composed through the seemingly challenging maneuvers. This empowers the driver and gives a feeling of invincible confidence. The Patrol's power felt relentless. Honestly, I was not expecting such a smooth performance from a car that weighs more than 2 tons, but it delivered outstanding performance.
Afterwards, we headed back to the tarmac and regrouped. To my surprise, I received a recommendation from the senior driving instructor to further improve my driving skills and become one of Nissan's certified safari drivers. There was no better way to end this adrenaline-charged experience!
- Engine: 5.6L, V8
- Torque: 560Nm @3600rpm
- Horsepower: 400bhp @4900rpm
- Transmission: 7 speed automatic gearbox
- Drive Train: 4 wheel drive with locking differentials
- 0-100Km: 7.3 seconds
- Top speed: 210Km/h
- Weight: 2,600 KG
- Fuel consumption l/100km 14.5
Pros: luxurious, very well made, comfortable
One word: conqueror
Rivals: Toyota Land Cruiser, Mercedes Benz GL-Class