Driving the Nissan Patrol in Awesome Oman

The name Patrol inspires trust, a vehicle that may not have a destination, but assuredly has the ability to get you there—wherever ‘there’ might be. This robust all-terrain Sport Utility Vehicle got its start in 1951, as the sort of body-on-frame/adapted truck platform that we associate with difficult off-road duties. Over the years, and too many iterations to number, the Patrol has changed in many ways, but has always stayed the course— eschewing the broader trend towards unibody construction for a time and sticking to proper truck style to body on frame fabrication.

You can see what’s coming right? This SUV will Patrol anywhere you like, just maybe not trendy territory. That said, it looks pretty swanky inside the belly of this beastly family hauler. The front cabin of the Nissan Patrol is palatial, each seat a throne fit for those long suffering kings and queens of domesticity known as Mom and Dad.

From here, much of the literal and metaphoric navigation of family life takes place. You ferry the tots form event to event, argue about the best cheeseburger in Dubai, teach the little ones not to draw on the leather, or wipe their noses on the car seats (which they should be wearing, thank you very much). Surely, the driver has it easier, the wheel at hand lends a sense of control while you’re spouse is no doubt twisted around in his or her seat half the time, trying to either discipline or feed the children. It sounds like torture, but those of us who are parents know that it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Ubiquitous on GCC roads, the Nissan Patrol is seemingly just as popular with the single lads and ladies, and for good reason, as it’s an extremely capable and spacious ride. It also has a new engine variant for 2017, with the base model downsizing to a 4.0-litre V6 good for 270 bhp and 290 lb ft. The V6 isn’t a new power plant for Nissan, but is adapted from the smaller Xterra.

Previously, the popular SUV’s most affordable trim level ran on a 5.6-liter 320bhp V8. Also gone is the six-speed manual transmission, the Patrol will be sold with a seven-speed automatic across the range.

Broadly speaking, smaller engines are on course for tightening emissions standards, but it remains to be seen how the UAE market will react. Nissan has a plan for that; the carmaker is Launching the 2017 Patrol V6 exclusively in the UAE in September, but will roll out the SUV in other markets thereafter. Which is why it’s terrific that the Patrol is packed full of features that make anyone’s life easier. Personally, I consider the SUV’s sharp new look to be a lifestyle friendly feature since, er, smoe of us don’t always manage to get out of the house looking our best. The car’s revised front bumper and tough looking chrome grille pattern hopefully undercut the inevitable messy hair or sweat pants on the Spinney’s run, as the car takes centre stage as the most attention grabbing character.

The Patrol boasts machine cut alloy wheels, LED headlamps with daytime running light and a set of pop-up headlamp washers that will give you just a tiny bit more time to focus on raising your kids (unless you’re already outsourcing both jobs). LED rear combination lamp and roof rails fill out the range of new features that help make this the best generation of Patrol yet.

Modern life can be, let’s face it, extremely distracting in the car, so 3rd generation Around View Monitor with parking assist display and Back-up Collision Intervention (BCI) is like a second set of eyes, looking out for you when someone or something gets on the way of reversing. This SUV is full of additional safety features, which are always a welcome addition to any vehicle. For instance, in the event of an accident the car senses a collision and unlocks the doors so everyone can get out quickly as the situation dictates.

There’s also tyre pressure monitoring, distance control assist to predefine your following distance and adjust to slowing traffic. Add to the list blind spot warning and intervention to let you know when something you can’t see might be too close for comfort, or at least a lane change, intelligent brake assist to mitigate collision when all else fails, as well as active head restraints to reduce whiplash-type injuries. In short the Patrol presents an excellent package for protecting your greatest investment: you and the people in your life.

The interior of the Patrol is roomy and high quality, with plenty of storage for all of life’s necessities (of which there are exponentially if you do have kids). Most important for those of us with toddlers and up, there’s an excellent entertainment system with a rear DVD player on 7" LCD monitor, a flash memory music server for family grooving, and blue tooth connectivity to make everyone’s sundry playlists available to the group (for better or worse).

Everyone, childless or otherwise, can benefit especially from owning a Patrol in our sandy region as the car allows unfettered access to our greatest natural resources. No, not the oil and gas, but rather the desert itself— a shifting playground for outdoors lovers and off-roaders alike. Slap the Patrol in 4-Lo and select your terrain type and this rather large SUV can tackle all sorts of steep climbs and harrowing descents. Whether or not you bring the children on that kind of escapade is entirely up to you— just go easy on the throttle either way. Actually, there’s an easy way to take throttle and brake response out of the equation, as the Patrol’s hill descent mode will dribble you down the side of Mount Olympus at a lugubrious pace.

The 2017 Patrol will start at around Dhs. 175,000 and sell for up to Dhs. 255,000 for the range topping Platinum models with options like rear screens, cooled seats, larger rims and much more. These better equipped Patrols will continue to feature Nissan’s 5.6-litres V8, with the NISMO iteration producing a healthy 428bhp. During our Omani road trip, the Patrol was a comfy and willing companion, we fully expect the new Patrol to remain a GCC favorite.

By: Adel Habib

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