Car ReviewsFirst Drive

Y62 Nissan Patrol review off-road

Robert Pepper goes off-road for his Y62 Nissan Patrol review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

In a Nutshell: The Y62 Nissan Patrol isn’t the successOR to the GU Patrol many expected, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its merits.

Editor's Rating

How we rated the Y62 Nissan Patrol
Practical Motoring Says: The Y62 Nissan Patrol is big, boofy, very powerful and a good offroader. It will sell, and is selling to people who want a big, quick truck for towing, cruising or people moving, don’t mind paying for the acceleration with the V8 note, and would like some more than decent offroad capability for when they need it. And as for the Nissan Y61 traditionalists - they will either need to update their views, or never update their cars as the world has moved on.

THE VEHICLE YOU SEE HERE is the Y62 Nissan Patrol, and it is not popular with the Aussies who own its immediate ancestor, the Y61 GU Patrol. Why?

There are several reasons the Y62 has upset a lot of the Nissan faithful. In no particular order – it’s fully independent suspension, too big, offers no diesel, too ugly… you name it, there’s a hater for it. On our sister Facebook page (4WD Handbook) one of the Likers summaries the feeling well: “It has lost the essence of being a Patrol. It’s not designed with an attitude of off-road ability and toughness first, other stuff second.”

IMG_5582
It’s not a bad looking vehicle at all.

That attitude is easy to understand, because the Y62 is shifting to a different customer. Simply, the big Nissan is not aimed at the same market as the venerable Y61 (GU), and a good indication of that is the obvious fact the Y61 is sold alongside the Y62. And this sort of grief isn’t unusual, as whenever a well-loved vehicle changes direction there’s an awful of lot angst that accompanies said change. And particularly so in this case, as I think it’s fair to say that Nissan Patrol lovers are not the most welcoming of change.

So if the Y62 isn’t for the diehard, live-axle loving, diesel-driving off-roading Patrol owners, who is it for? The answer is that the new Nissan is built for the citizens of the Middle East, who buy more Patrols than anyone else – Australia is a long way back in second, and third is so distant it doesn’t matter. The Arabs like their cars big, petrol and powerful, so the new Patrol sports a 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine (298kW and 560Nm of torque), seven-speed auto, a scaled-down version of which is used in Nissan’s V8 Supercars. The Y62 is certainly large, managing to make the Discovery 4, Range Rover and even Toyota’s Landcruiser look small by comparison. There’s no manual, no diesel – there never will be, so give up hoping now – and for a car this big that means hefty fuel bills. I returned around 20L/100km on test, with a fairly light load but with offroad work and enthusiatic driving with the aircon working hard.  Expect more when accessorised or towing, and it likes 95 RON too, although we have heard some have run the car on 91.

So the Y62 is generating a lot of Dislikes. But are they justified? Few of the haters have seen one, let alone driven it. But I have, and also done some pretty rough offroading in it. So here’s the answer.

This car is quick in a straight line, 0-100km/h in under seven seconds which is very impressive for such a vehicle. But it is far from agile, as any form of spirited driving starts to squeal the tyres and the stability control light will quickly illuminate, so the handling doesn’t match the straight line speed.  In fairness though, it’s not trying to be a BMW X car and it will move along very quickly once you get used to it. That said, the automatic is prone to unwarranted down-changes out of corners which, given its seven speeds and abundance of torque, is disappointing.

RMP_1500

On the other hand, the ride is excellent across all surfaces, there’s lots and lots of smoothly delivered power, it’s quiet, refined and Nissan’s trick HBMC cross-linked suspension system keeps the car impressively flat while cornering.

Now, much has been made of the Y62’s size. And, it is indeed large, but let’s get real.  The Y62 is really not that difficult to manoeuvre in crowded carparks with its cameras, good visibility and light steering. It’s 150mm longer than an LC200 and 311mm longer than a D4 (see table), but is actually slightly narrower than a D4, is 156mm shorter than a Navara D40 and has a 12.5m turning circle compared to 13.3m for the ute. So, having driven plenty of utes I’m of the opinion it’s much easier to work with a Y62 in tight conditions than your average ute. Certainly I wouldn’t not buy the car based on concern of size alone.

Something Nissan has definitely got right is the payload, which at 800kg is a comfortable 110kg more than the LC200’s notoriously tiny carrying capacity and much more than the Y61’s shameful total of around 650kg. Towing capacity is 3500kg, with a decent towball weight which is dependent on overall vehicle load.   Standard rims are 18-inch, which sounds bad… but the stock tyre is a healthy profile of 265/70 so there’s some reasonable sidewall to work with, even if the car is heavy.

Inside the vehicle most things are reasonable to average, but some things are done very poorly indeed. In general, the dash controls are a little last-minute with related buttons in different places. The right-hand drive conversion budget clearly didn’t stretch to moving the gearshifter to the right so it’s a stretch to reach.  Similarly, the second row is only a 40/60 split…but the 40 is on the wrong side for Australia, should be on the left to make access to the third row easier from the kerb.   The seats should hold the passengers more firmly, but are easily adjustable.  

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Nissan has, in the R51 Pathfinder and later, designed a market-leading, superbly versatile second/third row system. In the Patrol, they’ve not bothered and followed design conventions last seen in the 1990s. The second row is a simple 40:60 split with tumble-forwards and fold-up but only two child restraints. Third row seats three in the Ti spec for a total of 8, and the third-row seats fold down… but don’t latch down and won’t fold flat. Also poor is the massive D-pillar which intrudes on cargo space, and the rear door is a single upward-opening affair instead of the more popular split ah-la LC200 and D4. Good luck opening that in tight spaces. But the overall impression is of space, so if you want your interior huge, the Patrol is your wagon.

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Off-road the Patrol is good, but not superb. The traction control is a little slow and ineffective compared to the current state of the art systems but still works better than average. The Patrol, out of the box, needs more departure angle and ramp clearance although under-body clearance is excellent given the fully independent suspension.

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Rocks and rough terrain are Patrol territory, and that hasn’t changed.

The rear cross-axle locker is unusual because it doesn’t disable traction control on the front axle.  Our test car certainly seemed to and Nissan confirmed it, but now we’ve got evidence ETC stays active on the front axle which is great news.  The adaptive terrain system makes little difference, although we’d need more time on different terrains to fully test it.

As with any car of this size your line is limited due to the size, but that’s not a Patrol criticism, just a general issue. Overall, the Patrol is a good off-roader and able to handle a variety of terrain, but is not in the same league as the 200 Series LandCruiser of Land Rover Discovery. It easily passes my litmus test for off-roading which is, given the right tyres, would I drive it anywhere in the High Country while raining and the answer there is yes.

And while we’re on the off-roading front, let’s be clear that live axles are now dead and are no longer needed. Check out the massive 283mm clearance, which you’d never get from live axles without huge tyres, and with modern traction control lifting a wheel is not the progress-stopping event it once was so keeping all four wheels on the ground with huge flex is becoming less and less important.  Not unimportant, but less important.

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 Some have commented that  the Y62 is “not tough”. How people are able to evaluate the robustness of a vehicle by looking at it is beyond me, but I don’t see any reason why the Patrol wouldn’t stand up to the rigours of bush work. It has no more or less vulnerable plastic than any other vehicle in its class, everything is well tucked up out of the way and Nissan has clearly designed it as an off-road vehicle – and who’d say Nissan doesn’t know how to put a 4X4 together?

But all that aside, it is clear the Y62 Patrol is never going to be a classic in the same way the Y61 which has worked its way into the hearts of so many Australians. I think the problems started when Nissan failed to introduce the Y62 properly – there should and could have been better communication and messaging so people understood this was a different class of vehicle to the famous GU, with different strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps Nissan didn’t realise what the market reaction would be, or did and thought the views of the off-roaders wouldn’t matter and maybe they don’t. But whatever the story is, the Y62 is not a bad vehicle at all and does not deserve to be the target of such scorn.

The Patrol gets a worthwhile package of safety equipment but as yet hasn’t been rated by ANCAP. Presumably it will perform better than its predecessor which scored a disappointing three stars out of a possible five. Vehicle dynamic control with traction control is standard, as are ABS braking with brakeforce distribution, six airbags, three point seatbelts for all seats with height adjustment for the front and outside second row seats, front load-limiting pretensioners and adjustable headrests (excluding the centre third row seat), active on front seats. For off-road conditions, there is hill start and hill descent control.

2015 Y62 Nissan Patrol

Pricing From $82,000 (+ORC); Warranty three years, 100,000km; Safety Not tested; Engine 5.7-litre V8 petrol; Power/Torque 298kW/560Nm; Transmission seven-speed automatic; Drive Constant 4WD (rear biased, All-Mode), Mode Select adaptive terrain system, HBMC (Hydraulic Body Motion Control) system in place of conventional swaybars, rear cross-axle locker; Angles 283mm clearance, approach 34.1 degrees, departure 25.9 degrees; Weight Tare ~2700kg, GVM 3500kg, 800kg payload, 3500kg towing (reduce payload by 130kg to get a 350kg TBM); Thirst 14.5L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle, 140L capacity

Read our original road-test of the Nissan Patrol Y62.

There’s a Y62 owners page on Facebook.

Y62 Patrol relative size

Y62

LC200

Discovery 4

Spec

Spec

Diff

Spec

Diff

Length

5140

4990

150

4829

311

Width

1995

1970

25

2022

-27

Height

1940

1905

35

1887

53

T’circle

12.5

11.8

0.7

11.45

1.05

Weight

2700

2660

40

2500

200

GVM

3500

3350

150

3240

260

Payload

800

690

110

740

60

Clearance

283

225

58

240

43

App

34.1

30

4.1

37.2

-3.1

Dep

25.9

20

5.9

27.9

-2

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12 Comments

  1. Peter McTaggart
    May 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    Lol.. thats not a Patrol.. what a disgrace to the Patrol name..

  2. Travis
    May 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm — Reply

    I have to question those off road credentials and your economy numbers, even when standard it was more capable than modified GU patrols, thanks to the rear diff lock, the tc system still sends drive to the front wheel with the most traction even when the rear locker is engaged, its so effective that a mate I was wheeling with (GQ patrol, 4 inch lift, 35s etc) asked if I also had a front locker…I’ve off roaded with 200s and easily driven obstacles their owners weren’t even willing to attempt, I’ve since fitted 35 inch km2 muddies and fuel use has increased with them…to 16.3l/100km on average, calculated at every fill up, not using the trip computer, also better than any crd GU owners I’ve spoken to, and almost all td42 owners…

    • May 25, 2015 at 10:33 pm — Reply

      Yes it’s more capable that GUs. Didn’t claim otherwise, and that would be true even without the rear locker. Our tests showed the front wheel did not have ETC, and indeed when locked the ABS light comes on which is another indication.

      The consumption is what was recorded. The vehicle was pretty new, so maybe that had something to do with it. Also, it wasn’t driven slowly.

      The driver makes a big difference especially when two vehicles are fairly close, as per 200 and Y62. The Y62 has the advantage with massive clearnace, the 200 rules on axle flex and better traction control. Overall, I’d give the win to the 200, but there would be occasions where the Y62 would be better.

      • Travis
        May 25, 2015 at 10:41 pm — Reply

        You said yourself in the article that Traction control systems and lockers have made flex less important…This has been the exact case i’ve noticed when wheeling with Flexing 4×4’s, so kind of renders the axle flex argument invalid…your tests are simply wrong, believe me i’ve done 40,000km now and a whole bunch of that has been off road, I could honestly say i doubt there’d be many people that have pushed their y62 harder off road than i have and almost all of the people i go out with remark on it’s capabilities, with the question of a front locker being asked more than once. the link below is still running stock rubber..

        • May 25, 2015 at 10:49 pm — Reply

          The flex argument is not invalid. In some situations extra axle flex is exactly what’s needed to keep a car stable and all four wheels pulling. What’s happened is that with ETC flex is a lot less important – which is not the same as unimportant. Been over this discussion many times with Pajero, and then Discovery 3/4.

          I think that on balance the best suspension these days is independent for clearance, combined with good traction control. Which is what the Y62 has, and good on it. However, that doesn’t mean to say that in some situations long-travel live-axle flex wouldn’t be better.

          The 200 can outflex many fully-live vehicles and that means all four wheels are providing traction, and less rocking, so it can go places other indie cars struggle.

  3. Wade
    June 6, 2015 at 9:57 pm — Reply

    Nissan did what Landrover did with Discovery 2, if you want to go offroad buy a Defender. After listening to complaints they put the centre diff lock back in in the 2003. If Nissan doesn’t want to introduce a diesel Y62 then get hold of the Middle East customers and sell 40c a litre petrol because towing a van would be sitting on 25-28 l/100km.

  4. trackdaze
    June 19, 2015 at 11:37 am — Reply

    Nissan is gaining a reputation for product missteps. From the pulsar to tiida and softening the pathfinder when they already had a full suite of softroaders in xtrail/quashqi/murano. Obviously the product department think there is profit to be made in cheap to make suv’s beyond the erosion of goodwill from previous capable product.

    But the pista resistance certainly has to go how it has mucked up the patrol legacy in replacing the tb42 which had legendary reliability to the zd30. Despite the y61 patrol being a more capable offroader than the 70 series. It is losing massive sales on account of toyotas v8. Funny thing is It need only go halfway with either a v6 or twin turbo 4 with 140kw/450-500nms.

    In the context that the 61/62 series nissans mirror the 70/200 series twin model range carrying the same name it would make sense apart from the fact that 9 out of 10 lc200 Series are diesels!

    • Hans
      September 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm — Reply

      These are not product missteps in Nissans eyes. The R51 never sold as well as it should have ( I used to have 1) and the R52 is a big improvement from a sales perspective. Nissan is chasing the sales numbers if it means that they don’t make good 4wd vehicles from the Australian perspective, then so be it. The cars are made to suit the world (read China, ME and US) demand and if something from that sells in Oz, well and good. If not, too bad.

  5. Terry
    July 1, 2015 at 10:32 am — Reply

    It is a shame all editors compare the Y62 to the underpowered Landcruiser when in fact it should be compared to the Lexus LX570 which has similar sized petrol engine/economy and luxury items

    • CogitoErgoZoom
      April 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm — Reply

      No, the LX570 compares to the Infiniti QX80, Patrol v’s L/C has been going on for 50+ years

  6. Hans
    September 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm — Reply

    The Patrol is selling well in the markets it was designed for – ME and US. Nissan has no intention of spending any money on diesels or anything specific to the Australian market, as the market is way too small to generate a ROI. Like it or not, the Y62 that we have is the one that we are going to get.

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper