For more than half a century, the Nissan Patrol has been a pioneer. An authentic and credible 4x4 right from the start, examples of each of the five generations of Patrol developed since 1951 spend every day working for their living right across the globe.
They can be found in fields, up mountains, down mines and in the world's trouble spots. Age does not trouble them: some of the oldest examples are still in regular use.
This dependability underpins Nissan's credibility as a leader in the 4x4 market: Patrol is one of a burgeoning line-up of four-wheel drive models wearing the Nissan badge. From X-TRAIL to Patrol, via Terrano, Murano and a soon-to-be revealed new SÚV, Nissan's 4x4 range is among the widest on the market.
But the Patrol has only kept its position at the top thanks to a regime of constant development. The current fifth generation was introduced in 1998 and benefited from a round of mechanical changes in 2000, including the adoption of a new 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine, which replaced the previous 2.8-litre unit.
Now comes an even more comprehensive package of changes that go well beyond what's expected of a conventional facelift. Every exterior panel, bar the roof, has been changed. There's a bold new ‘face', a new-look rear end and a new integrated side step, while revisions to the lusty 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine give more power and more torque.
Power increases from 116 kW to 118 kW (158 PS to 160 PS) while the torque jumps from 354 Nm to 380 Nm (261 lb ft to 280 lb ft).
New 17inch alloy wheels (up from 16 inch) and a hard, coloured cover for the rear door-mounted spare can now be found on top grade versions.
But perhaps the biggest changes can be found inside the vehicle. Although the Nissan Patrol remains a tough off-road vehicle at heart, Nissan believes there is no reason why users should not enjoy a little extra luxury while they work. As a result, the new Patrol has an all-new interior featuring better quality materials, greater comfort and more equipment.
There are better shaped seats offering greater comfort and support, and which are available in the option of Alcantara ™ for the first time. As before, the top grade model has leather seat facings: both upholsteries are available in either black or ecru, while the rear bench in five-door/five-seat versions slides forwards or backwards to create extra leg or luggage room as required.
While the new seats enhance the feeling of well-being in the cabin, the real improvement can be found in the adoption of soft-feel surfaces for the top of the two-tone dashboard and for the door cappings. Wood effect trim and discreet chrome elements – such as for the door handles and instrument bevel rings – add to the ambiance.
The principal item of new equipment is the optional availability of an advanced satellite navigation system, the screen for which is fully integrated into the centre of the dashboard for ease of use.
There are three new exterior colours – a new shade of silver, plus brown gold metallic and a dark blue metallic – bringing the available palette to nine colours.
As for the rest, the story remains as strong as ever. Built on a separate chassis for the ultimate in off-road ability, the Patrol nonetheless has sufficiently compliant suspension settings to provide a smooth on road ride with handling to match. Off road, superb axle articulation and long suspension travel means the new Patrol retains all the agility and go-anywhere ability expected of the name.
A full range of models includes short- and long-wheelbase versions (with three and five doors respectively, the latter with the option of seven seats) and no fewer than four trim and equipment grades ranging from an entry-level workhorse to the comprehensively-equipped flagship model.
Mario Canavesi said: 'Our research has shown that the Patrol name has one of the highest recognition factors of all 4x4s in Europe – notably in France, Spain and Germany – and that owners remain very loyal to the vehicle. One in four current customers has previously owned a Patrol and there are more than 42,000 Patrols currently in use in Europe. Loyalty among owners of the three door versions runs at an exceptional 43 per cent. 'Naturally, our customers are very important to us and all the changes we have made to the Patrol are as a direct result of their feedback. They asked for greater luxury and more equipment but not at the expense of its ability. We have answered all their needs: it is a far more comfortable place to be… but the Patrol still has a 37.5 degree angle of approach.
'The significant changes we have made to the Patrol will reinforce its position as king of the 4x4s.'
The idea of a small, go-anywhere vehicle was born of necessity. During the Second World War, the American Government identified the need for a compact, lightweight but tough four-wheel drive vehicle that could carry four soldiers over all types of terrain.
It asked its automotive industry to develop such a vehicle and the legendary Willys Jeep was born. It was to provide the blueprint for all the early 4x4s that followed.
And in Japan much the same was happening. In 1951, Nissan signed an agreement in America to build a Jeep under licence: they, too, wanted a vehicle to revitalise the farming industry. Nissan's first ever 4x4, called the Patrol, bore a striking visual similarity to the Jeep, though there was one vital difference between the two. Instead of an asthmatic four cylinder engine as found in the American original, the first Patrol was powered by a six cylinder Nissan truck engine displacing 3.6-litres.
The difference was significant: the Japanese model had 85 PS to play with, as opposed to the American's 60 PS, which made a vital difference in its ability both on and off road. Over the years that original Patrol – code name 4W60 – was developed. A long wheelbase eight seater station wagon version was created as was a 4.0-litre six cylinder engine with first 92 PS then 105 PS, then – once overhead valves were introduced – 125 PS.
In 1960, the Patrol story begat the legendary Series 60. This was the first Patrol to move away from the military austerity of the original and it was a huge success. By 1974, annual production had reached 10,000 units and by the time production finished in 1982, more than 170,000 examples had been built. Remarkable considering the Patrol was really a domestic Japanese vehicle only, though there were strong sales in South America notably in Argentina.
That all changed with the third generation Patrol, the Series 160, which was introduced in 1980 and which from the outset was sold right across Europe. More than that, it was built here: production of the Patrol Ebro started in Spain in 1983. The 160, which was available with either a 2.8-litre 120 PS petrol engine or a 3.3-litre 95 PS diesel, was more sophisticated than before. It offered many features not usually found on a 4x4, including power steering and a lockable rear differential. Styling also moved on, though the emphasis was still on practicality rather than luxury: the boxy styling was unadventurous but simple to produce and simple to repair.
It did share one thing with its predecessors, though: longevity. The 160 stayed in production – albeit with a number of facelifts and regular technical upgrades – through to 1989 when the original Patrol GR was introduced.
The GR took the Patrol story on significantly. Although faithful to the original concept with a ladder frame separate chassis, short and long wheelbase versions, and a near indestructible nature, the GR added an even more sophisticated electronically controlled transmission system and more luxury: coil springs, for example, replaced the long serving elliptical springs. With disc brakes all round and the choice between two six cylinder engines – a 2.8-litre turbo diesel and a 4.2-litre petrol unit – the GR was easier and more rewarding to drive.
It was a natural progression to the second generation GR, and fifth generation Patrol, which arrived in 1998. This model, code named Y61, was easily the best-looking Patrol yet, with a bold face and purposeful wheel arch blisters.
And it on this model that the latest Patrol is based. Although judged in the industry as a facelift, the changes to the new Patrol are comprehensive. A lusty new 3.0-litre six cylinder direct injection diesel was introduced to the range in 2000 and this has been further improved for 2004.
More significant are the changes to the looks of the vehicle and to the interior, where owners can now enjoy top of the range comfort and features.
But the Patrol will still go virtually anywhere: its off-road ability remains legendary and it is still the vehicle of choice for serious adventurers. It is an original, authentic 4x4… one of the last of the breed.
A typical mid-term motor industry ‘facelift' might see a new grille, different bumpers and perhaps some new lights at the front and rear. And the new Patrol does, indeed, feature revisions to the grille, bumpers and lights… but the comprehensive package of changes goes far beyond that.
In fact, every panel except the roof is new, the changes not only bringing a fresh and contemporary style to the Patrol but also underlining its tough off-road heritage.
From the front, the revised bumper has a smoother, more integrated feel and houses new-look fog lamps. The lamps are deeply recessed into the bumper assembly for greater protection off the beaten track.
The bumper itself is a two-piece assembly with a separate vented centre section. As well as improving the looks, the centre section permits a greater flow of cooling air to reach the engine, and is angled in such a way as to enhance the Patrol's already excellent approach angle. And should it become damaged when manoeuvring off road, it is easier to replace than a complete front bumper.
Sitting on top of the new bumper is a new grille. Styled to follows the latest Nissan corporate ‘face', it incorporates four angled struts on top of a honeycomb mesh in the centre of which floats the Nissan roundel.
To either side of the grille are the new combination lamps, incorporating side and headlights, plus direction indicators. Sitting behind a clear plexiglass cover, the light assemblies have an architecturally engineered look and are dominated by the horseshoe-shaped headlamp itself.
While many facelifts would stop here, changes to the Patrol continue with a new bonnet and new front wings. The bonnet had a raised central section running the full width of the new grille while the front wings each incorporate a dramatic wheel arch blister or over fender.
A similarly bold blister can be found over the rear wheels, while the profile view of the Patrol now incorporates an integrated side step to ease entry and exit to and from the passenger compartment. Other visual changes include body coloured door handles and body coloured rain sills on the roof. Changes at the rear include bigger tail lamps and a smoother and better integrated number plate holder. The rear doors still open on a one third/two thirds basis, a feature well liked by customers as it permits access to the luggage compartment even when the vehicle is parked close to a wall or another car.
The rear end changes are completed by a revised and fully integrated bumper assembly which incorporates tail lights in line with European legislation. Also new is the adoption of a hard cover for the door mounted spare wheel in place of the previous soft cover which was previously found on the Elegance trim level.
Just because the Nissan Patrol is one of the toughest 4x4s on the market, it doesn't mean that customers should have to forgo any degree of luxury. As a result, the new Patrol features a completely new interior with better integration of the major and minor controls, more equipment and higher quality materials.
The principal interior change is a completely new dashboard assembly with a more contemporary look. Given a two-tone finish –a darker upper section contrasts with the lighter lower half – all passenger facing surfaces now incorporate soft-feel material to create a more luxurious cabin ambience.
Ahead of the driver lies a new four-dial instrument panel, comprising speedometer, tachometer plus fuel and engine temperature gauges. With classic white lettering on black dials, information from the instruments is easily assimilated at a glance. A touch of class comes from the neat chrome rings around each dial and the chrome finish found on all interior door handles. Even the dashboard-mounted fresh air vents have been improved both aesthetically and functionally in keeping with the more luxurious feel.
The centre section of the instrument panel houses controls for the air conditioning and audio systems as well as the optional satellite navigation screen. There is ample space for oddments in the cockpit, with a large lockable glovebox, a large centre console box-cum-armrest and deep door pockets. When satellite navigation is not fitted, the space taken by the screen converts to an extra lidded storage box.
The audio system is based on ‘double DIN' unit dimensions. Entry level Comfort features a single DIN radio/CD player with extra storage above, while Luxury and Elegance models have a double DIN radio featuring a tape player and six disc CD changer, unless satellite navigation is specified.
In keeping with its off-road heritage, the transmission – five speed manual or four-plus-overdrive electronically controlled automatic – includes a low and high ratio transfer ‘box. There's also a lockable rear differential, the switch for which has been moved to the centre of the dashboard.
Interior comfort is enhanced in the new Patrol by the option of Alcantara ™ upholstery on Luxury versions, though full leather trim remains standard on the top-of-the-range Elegance model. The seats themselves have been redesigned to provide both greater comfort and greater support, while the interior remains as practical as ever with a 50/50 split folding second row in five-door models that can slide forward and aft to create more legroom or a larger luggage area depending on specific needs. The five-door version also has the option of a third pair of seats, making it a seven seater. When this option is chosen the middle row is fixed.
Both Luxury and Elegance models also feature wood effect door cappings and dashboard inserts.
Despite the addition of a soft-feel interior, handsome new alloy wheels and a sophisticated satellite navigation option, the Nissan Patrol remains as tough and as capable as ever. That's because the chassis and 4x4 transmission systems have been left alone: it will still climb a 39 degree gradient, wade through 700mm of water and tow a braked trailer of up to 3.5 tonnes (2.5 tonnes for the Patrol equipped with automatic transmission).
Beam axles front and rear allow perfect wheel articulation over the roughest terrain, while the long suspension travel and generous ground clearance all contribute to the Patrol's rock climbing ability.
In everyday use on tarmac roads, the Patrol operates in two-wheel drive with power going to the back wheels. At the first sign of conditions becoming tricky, high ratio four wheel drive can be selected on the move via a second transmission lever on the centre console.
The shift to low ratio four-wheel drive can also be made on the move, this time at speeds of up to 40 kph, to ensure unimpeded progress off road.
For serious off-road work, the Patrol's electronic arsenal also includes a rear differential lock, which is activated via a switch which has been relocated to the centre console for improved convenience, and a rear anti-roll bar that can be disengaged from the driver's seat.
If the vehicle is travelling at below 24 kph, a flick of a dashboard switch will disconnect the rear stabiliser bar allowing even more axle articulation to cope with rough terrain. On the open road, however, the rear anti-roll bar helps keep body roll in check for greater control and comfort at speed. The innovative system ensures the Patrol's chassis provides the perfect performance at all times.
Another essential 4x4 feature are the automatic free running front hubs which reduce rolling resistance when the vehicle is in two-wheel drive thereby reducing fuel economy and wear, but which automatically lock in when four-wheel drive is selected. They can also be manually locked when travelling over serious terrain. As before, the latest Patrol has the optional of a four speed automatic transmission or a smooth-shifting five speed manual gearbox. The electronically-controlled automatic features an overdrive ratio as well as a shift-lock system for smooth and safe operation. There are also ‘power' and ‘hold' modes to cater for individual driving styles and to provide extra control over rough terrain: the transmission can be locked into first, second or third gears in both high and low ratios, allowing the driver to take full advantage of the turbo diesel's powerful engine braking. Despite the exterior changes, the major dimensions of the vehicle have not changed. The three door short wheelbase model is 4575mm long, 1940mm wide and 1840mm tall. The equivalent figures for the five door are 5145mm, 1940mm and 1855mm.
There are three grades available across Europe: Comfort, Luxury and top of the range Elegance. Standard equipment on the entry level Comfort includes manual air conditioning, remotely controlled and heated body colour door mirrors, keyless entry, twin front airbags and black bumpers.
Comfort adds a side step, map lamp, styled steel wheels, a rear differential lock and switchable rear anti-roll bar, CD/radio with four speakers and four airbags on left hand drive versions. The entry-level model also has the option of a third row of seats in the five door version.
Luxury models – destined to be the biggest seller – upgrade to automatic air conditioning and add a number of features including a leather rimmed steering wheel, headlamp washer, wood effect trim, 17 inch alloy wheels, side airbags, privacy glass, double din radio incorporating a six disc CD autochanger. It also has body colour bumpers and over fenders, plus an integrated side step. Options include the third row of seats (five-door version only) with a luggage net to prevent luggage falling out when the rear doors are opened, Alcantara trim, hard spare tyre cover and satellite navigation. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
When the latter option is specified, a single DIN radio/CD player is fitted.
Top Elegance models have full leather upholstery and heated front seats, a wood grain and leather steering wheel incorporated audio controls, a sun roof and spare tyre cover. The third row of seats and satellite navigation system are both options. Specific equipment levels will vary according to market.
When the current generation Patrol was introduced in 1998, it was powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel. Although blessed with strong torque, the venerable 130 PS engine was nearing the end of its development potential.
In 2000, therefore, Nissan introduced an all-new direct injection diesel which was designed to take the Patrol to a new level. This turbocharged and intercooled 3.0-litre four cylinder unit featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It also adopted Nissan's unique ‘M-Fire' combustion technology for higher power output, and lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness.
Now the ZD unit has been further improved, with changes to the injection pump design, a reduction of tolerance at the injector nozzle, reduced engine friction and a change to the exhaust system to minimise back pressure. The result is a modest 2 PS rise in outright power, but a substantial gain of 26 Nm of torque, taking the overall figures to 160 PS and 380 Nm respectively. Peak torque is reached, as before, at 2,000 rpm, but the improvement is noticeable all the way between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm – the typical working zone of a modern turbo diesel engine.
This greater torque will be especially appreciated off the beaten track where flexibility and the smooth delivery of masses of pulling torque at low engine speeds are vital ingredients for successful off-roading.
The principles of the ZD engine remain as before. M-Fire (standing for modulated fire) combustion techniques incorporate three technologies designed to enhance the all-round performance of a modern diesel: strong combustion ‘swirl'; optimisation of fuel injection timing and improved exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).
Each cylinder of the ZD unit has dual intake ports – a tangential port with swirl-control valve and a helical port. Únder light and medium loads, the swirl-control valve remains closed so intake air is directed through the helical port, promoting a strong swirling motion in the combustion chamber. The high pressure injection system then sprays fuel into this swirling air, aiding the mixing process.
Únder heavy loads, the swirl-control valve in the second port opens, allowing more air to enter the combustion chamber thus ensuring complete combustion of the larger volume of fuel that's injected under load. Better combustion produces a cleaner more complete burn with virtually no unburned carbon, or soot. Optimised fuel injection timing means that combustion can take place considerably later than is normally the case in a direct injection engine. In the M-Fire engine, injection begins just after the piston has reached the top of its stroke and has started its way down. This means the pressure in the combustion chamber is already decreasing as the fuel is injected which allows the fuel and air to mix more thoroughly and at a lower pressure.
Increasing exhaust gas recirculation through the air intake lowers the oxygen concentration in the fuel/air mixture which, in turn, lowers the combustion temperature and the combustion speed. Lower temperature produces lower NOx emissions under load while slower combustion results in lower noise and vibration levels.
Another side effect is strong fuel economy. Over the combined cycle, the new Nissan Patrol uses 10.8l/100 km/h (26.2 mpg), subject to homologation.
Although the 3.0 ZD turbo diesel is the only engine available in the Patrol in most of Nissan's European markets, the company's newly opened trading arm in Moscow offers a version powered by a 4.8-litre in-line six cylinder petrol engine, developing 245 PS/4800 rpm and 400Nm/3600 rpm.
The Patrol is a vehicle which is at home in adverse, difficult conditions. And Patrol owners are equally comfortable in tackling challenging environments for their day-to-day business, or as part of their leisure activities.
To ensure that the Patrol meets the exact needs of its owners, Nissan has developed a range of accessories.
As a workhorse for many buyers of the Patrol, an advanced Volumetric and Perimetric electronic alarm system has been developed to provide peace of mind for owners. As a vehicle which is often full of luggage, sports equipment and work apparatus, the availability of an alarm system to protect the vehicle and its contents is an important consideration for many purchasers. Additionally, locking wheel nuts are another accessory which many owners will consider essential, given that the Patrol's versatility means it is likely to spend a significant amount of time in urban areas.
And for those owners who will use their Patrol in an urban environment, drivers can also accessorise their Patrol with rear parking sensors, to enable them to manoeuvre into tight spaces with precision.
The Patrol's load-carrying capability is legendary and Nissan has developed a range of roof-racks and other load-carriers.
Four different types of roof-boxes are available, as well as a bike carrier, a selection of ski carriers which will hold either 3, 4 or 6 pairs of skis and a surf-board carrier. Roof racks in aluminium or steel can be specified, as can a load stop and strap.
Naturally, a fixed, removable or flanged towbar is available, as well as the electrical kit which connects the Patrol's lighting system to that of the trailer.
To minimise the risk of damage to the Patrol, owners can order a front guard which can accommodate spot lamps, as well as enhanced bumper protection and styling bars for the front corners. Fog lamps are available, enhancing illumination in bad weather conditions.
Stainless steel finishers for side steps are available, along with side body mouldings which protect the paintwork from vegetation and other rural hazards.
At the rear of the car, stainless steel corner bars can be ordered, and there are three different types of spare wheel cover. Nissan's renowned Birdview satellite navigation system can be specified to save drivers and passengers the stress of map-reading. In addition, for communication in the safest of circumstances, a hands-free mobile phone system can be integrated and the audio system can be upgraded to include a CD changer.
Further aesthetic interior enhancements include a leather or wood gear shifter, and additional items of interior trim can be specified in wood-effect material.
To protect the interior from the ravages of the rural environment, textile and rubber mats are available, as are a hard and soft trunk liner and, to keep warm and dry passengers separate from wet, smelly visitors, a dog guard can also be ordered!
And there is no reason why infants cannot enjoy the Patrol's off-road abilities – there is also a child seat available for the Patrol.
Over the past five decades or more, the Patrol has won many friends the world over. As a result it has one of the highest loyalty factors of any vehicle with owners never considering another make when the time comes for replacement.
Examples can be found in all four corners of the globe and in the most unlikely of places: in coffee plantations, down mines, crossing deserts – you name it, Patrol's done it. Here are a few examples:
When it comes to logging, most timber merchants use a huge rig to move stock, but Swiss wood trading company, Leuenberger Holz AG, prefer the Nissan Patrol. The Winterthur-based company use three 4.2-litre V8 petrol, long wheel-base Patrols to haul timber all over the country.
Pulling specially designed open and closed trailers, the trio of Patrols – a 1992 model and two from 1994 – have notched up more than 1.5 million kilometres over the past decade. Company owner, Mr Leuenberger, says 'We are proud to have been using Nissan Patrols since 1988 and have never been disappointed by the vehicle.'
For Juan Casas of Barcelona in Spain, the Nissan Patrol is the perfect working vehicle… and he should know, as Juan is a guide and instructor for Club 4x4 Tot Pols. He bought his Patrol GR in early 2003 and within a year had driven it 46,000 kms off-road, mostly in northern Africa in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. 'I've always owned 4x4s and the Patrol is currently the best on the market for off-road use. It is especially good in sand and its extra weight over the competition make it better on other surfaces as well.'
He plans to keep his current Patrol for two years and hopes to replace it with another. 'I like the fact that in the Patrol, it is the driver who is important – you can do more yourself rather than relying on all the electronics that the other manufacturers use.' One of the Patrol's biggest markets is Australia where it is seen as both a working vehicle and the 4x4 of choice for serious recreation.
One typical owner is 20-year-old Andrew Burke from Melbourne, Victoria who uses a 1985 2.8-litre petrol, short wheel-base Patrol as his everyday car. During the week he commutes to work, but at weekends he ventures out into the bush to go ‘4wding'. To cope with the specific demands of the Australian outback –and the extremes to which Andrew and his friends push their 4x4s – his Patrol has been modified. Both the body and the suspension have been raised by 2 inches all round, and larger wheels and tyres have been fitted. A snorkel exhaust ensures deep water won't ‘drown' the engine, while Andrew has also redesigned the front end… though that wasn't deliberate.
'I skidded on a gravel road late one night and hit a tree at 70km/h. The impact snapped the alloy bull bar into two pieces – but saved my life – and pushed the radiator into the engine. The crash also bent the body mounts, but once we had got it home we used two other patrols and a snatch strap to pull it back into place.' 'I then simply bolted some new panels into place, fitted a new bulbar and gave it a new paint job. The Patrol is just great on road thanks to the high driving position, and is fantastic off road. I just can't wait to get back to the Toolangi State Forest…' In the ÚK, the Patrol helps save lives. The Coventry and Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust runs a specially converted Patrol, enabling paramedics to cope with all weather conditions and tricky terrain.
The Patrol has a converted high roof to enhance the working area, while satellite navigation and four-wheel drive means it can get as close as possible to a patient. Graham Cann of the NHS Trust said: 'The Patrol was invaluable during bad snow storms early in the year. The high roof gives paramedics more space to work in, while the high specification of the vehicle and the fourwheel drive mean it is perfect at sporting events such as horse racing and speedway.'Source - Nissan