Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- It has superb off-road ability
- A comfortable and spacious interior
- It is extremely reliable
- It’s not very refined on the road
- The interior is starting to look dated
- The engines are both very noisy
The Patrol is one of the few no-nonsense 4x4s that are still around. People are looking for vehicles that offer a 4x4’s practicality and space, together with car-like handling on the road and the Patrol does this well. Admittedly it’s not perfect on the road with too much body roll and vague steering. You can feel its size especially around town. However, take it off-road and you would have a more than capable vehicle that will be able to tackle anything you point it towards. Inside it is extremely comfortable and spacious with the five-door model being able to seat seven adults easily and it comes with plenty of equipment for your money too.
Exterior and Interior
The Nissan Patrol is an old-school looking 4x4 with its huge body and rounded edges. It comes both as three and five-door models but we’d advise you to go for the five-door as it provides added practicality and you get loads of space. The three-door was also dropped from the line-up in 2003 due to poor sales. Inside there is more than enough space with the five-door having an optional third row of seats allowing it to seat seven. There is plenty of head and legroom for all the passengers with even the third row of seats coming with enough room for adults to sit comfortably. The seats are also all very supportive and comfortable even on longer trips however the amount of engine noise in the cabin might make you want to avoid any longer journeys.
The boot is a decent size and the third row of seats instead of folding down or into the floor fold upwards and lie next to the boots side windows. The rear seats also split and fold creating enough room for even the largest of loads. The dash and central console is old-fashioned to look at, but all of the buttons are robust and easy to use.
There were originally a lot of trim levels to choose from, but we’d advise going for one with the SE, SE+ or the SVE trims as the SE was "demoted" to the entry level in 2000, after the more basic models were scrapped. They all come with most of the specs that you are likely to want such as air-con, electric windows, a CD multichanger, headlight washers and electric mirrors. The SE+ and SVE add things such as an electric sunroof, climate control, sat-nav and heated seats.
Performance and Economy
The first engine, the 2.8-litre TD, provides plenty of low-down pull that makes it excellent for off-roading and towing. It’s fairly economical too for such a large 4x4 achieving 25mpg. It is, however, very agricultural and is very noisy and unrefined. The newer 3.0-litre Di that replaced it in 2000 is a much better engine even if it still retains its slightly agricultural feel. It is a little more economical than the older model achieving 26mpg and is over two seconds quicker from 0-60mph managing it in 14.7 seconds.
There is an optional automatic four speed gearbox available alongside the manual box, however, we’d avoid it as it saps some of the power and fuel efficiency along with being very slow to change between gears.
As for insuring the Patrol, it won’t be cheap but it’s no worse than most other 4x4s in this range, falling between groups 14 and 15.
Like to Drive
The Patrol was designed to be a proper off-roader and as a result it drives like one on the tarmac. The steering feels too light and vague, there’s too much body roll in the corners and it’s difficult to park in around the town. However, off-roads is where it’s in its element with its low and high ratio gearing, diff-lock and its high ground-clearance enabling it to tackle situations and obstacles most other 4x4 drivers wouldn’t even dream of attempting.
The multiple adjustments in both the steering wheel and driver’s seat will allow you to find the perfect driving position whilst giving you a commanding and clear views of the road ahead and to the sides. Looking out of the rear window isn’t as clear due to the split tailgate and the door-mounted spare wheel.
Also possibly consider buying a model from 2002 onwards as the suspension was revised to improve its road-handling capabilities.
Faults and Repairs
The Patrol is extremely reliable only being subjected to one recall just after being released. It affected cars up until 1999 and they had to have their brake pedal pivot pin attended to. There are a couple of other things to look out for on models that have clocked over 60,000 miles as the head gaskets and gearboxes have been known to fail after this point and both will prove very costly to fix. Other than that we’d just suggest to test everything to make sure it all works. Check that there is no undercarriage damage as it is a 4x4 after all, and make sure it has a full service history.
Servicing costs will prove to be costly, however, it’s not the worst out there and most repairs should prove to be cheaper than that of most rivals due to Nissan’s low labour costs.