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.”

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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

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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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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!