July 31, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco

The Saga of the Legendary Nissan Patrol

Being an owner of the last generation V8 Toyota Land Cruiser VX-R LC100 and having had three Lexus LX-series in our C! Fastfleet including the current LC200-based model, it is clear where our preferences lie in this segment. Whereas the Toyota Land Cruiser has simply gotten exponentially better through the generations with both ranges beginning more or less simultaneously in 1951, Nissan’s equivalent Patrol’s evolution has not been as dramatic, that is until this generation launched a decade ago.

Yes, until the all-new 6th-generation (Y62) Nissan Patrol Royale, we looked solely to the Infiniti models to quench the need for premium Japanese SUV’s produced by Nissan. The FX and QX models in particular have been spectacular. Unlike the synergy between the Lexus and Toyota brands, and Ford with Lincoln and the now defunct Mercury, however, Nissan and Infiniti models have separated their product lines more distinctively. Compared back to back with its main competition, the Lexus LX570 and the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Royale has just enough larger capacity, standard kit, and dynamic performance to finally best its direct rivals. 

The current 400 bhp / 413 lb-ft of torque Nissan Patrol Royale mated to a 7-speed automatic with active suspension retails for P3,988,000.00 (0-100 km/h in 6.6 seconds with a 210 km/h top speed, 13.8 L/100 km. fuel consumption) is superior to the current Lexus/Toyota Land Cruiser double barrels in almost all fronts. The Royale is more spacious, significantly nimbler, stops better, is more planted, more comfortable, and has more standard equipment. The current 362 bhp / 391 lb-ft of torque Lexus LX570 with the 8-speed automatic and active suspension retails for a whopping P8,718,000.00 (0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds with a 210 km/h top speed, 14.3 L/100 km. fuel consumption). The current Toyota Land Cruiser LC200 Premium model retails for P4,935,000.00, it uses a 230 bhp / 454 lb-ft of torque V8 twin-turbodiesel mated to a 6-speed automatic with active suspension (0-100 km/h in 9.2 seconds with a 210 km/h top speed, 11.2 L/100 km. fuel consumption).  While stocks last at its most aggressive pricing, buyers can enjoy all-weather, all-terrain family hauling in luxury supported with the Hydraulic Body Motion Control system which effectively makes the behemoth handle like a sports sedan, 360° video cameras to help park the land yacht, 13-speaker Bose® audio system and so much more. The updated model is a long way from arriving on our shores and will certainly cost more while maintaining the same dimensions and mechanicals.

Nissan Patrol Model Series Highlights

With the Nissan Patrol model series preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2021, I wanted to note some past highlights and accomplishments:

The story of Nissan Patrol begins in 1951, when post-war car production in Japan had only restarted, and the nation needed reliable off-road performance from a utility vehicle. Very early in its history the original Patrol started to demonstrate its unique capabilities. It became the first car to climb Japan’s revered Mount Fuji, a 2500-meter ascent that helped its status to grow. Soon Patrol’s rugged 4×4 “Go Anywhere” capabilities became a favorite of both professional and recreational drivers, both in Japan and abroad. The legend of Patrol was born.

In the nearly 70 years since, some 1.9 million Patrols have been produced over six generations and multiple versions, driving on- and off-road in more than 150 countries and creating a global heritage for durability that defines authentic performance in the world’s toughest conditions.

Dubbed “The Hero of All Terrain,” Patrol has become an iconic off-road vehicle, as exports from Japan to Asia, Australia, North and South America, India, Europe and the Middle East, created legions of owners and fans.

The 60 Series, the public-oriented second-generation, took on every type of harsh environment imaginable. A short-wheelbase G60 Patrol, driven by an Australian explorer family across hundreds of kilometers and 1,100 sand dunes in 12 days, was the first to cross the nation’s grueling Simpson Desert from the Northern Territory to Queensland in 1962. 

The motorsport community adopted Patrol, which became a consistent endurance rally competitor for decades. Known for its bright colors, the Nissan Patrol Fanta Limon became the first diesel vehicle to ever finish the Paris-Dakar in the Top 10 in 1987. Three decades later the Top 10 finisher Patrol Fanta Limon was fully restored by Nissan Technical Centre Europe, later returning to the Sahara to take on the sand dunes once again. In 2000, Patrol captured its first Australian Outback Challenge, and by mid-decade often filled the rally’s winning podium.

Beyond its recreational and competitive use, the Nissan Patrol has been employed extensively by defense, humanitarian and rescue forces, going to regions and locales where off-road conditions are most extreme. Constantly refining its performance capability, Patrol became a reliable partner for those across the globe helping people in harm’s way.

In 2007, extended-range Patrols supported an epic 24,000-kilometer journey for the documentary Long Way Down, led by actor Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman from Scotland to South Africa. 

In the Middle East, the first Patrol arrived in Kuwait in 1957, and has contributed greatly to the Nissan brand for its unique durability, quality and reliability. Over the decades, the Patrol’s many owners have included Gulf royalty and celebrities, who have also valued its all-terrain domination and premium driving experience. The Patrol as a family heirloom is a reality for many families from this region, and that is why so many examples from previous decades remain on their roads.

The Nissan Patrol holds three Guinness World Records, one for the largest synchronized car dance, which featured 180 Patrols (October 2018), another for the fastest ascent of a 100-meter sand dune by car – in a rapid 4.9 seconds (September 2015), and the first for towing the world’s heaviest aircraft more than 164 feet (August 2013).

In 1959, the second generation, 60-series Patrol was introduced and continued to build on the then well-established reputation of a vehicle that was a benchmark for rugged durability. This generation Patrol received various updates over the two decades it was in production. The third generation, known as the 160, arrived in 1980. This was the iteration which saw the addition of features, which would make Patrol more of an option for on-road motorists, as well as keeping the model’s off-road fans happy. Long trips across the deserts could be taken in greater comfort and the sight of families of the Gulf in fully laden Patrols became commonplace. In 1987, the fourth generation Patrol was announced. This vehicle was a massive success in the Gulf as it was not only a great leap forward in terms of technical sophistication but it featured enhanced levels of comfort which appealed greatly to owners. In 1997 – the fifth generation Patrol appeared, bringing the vehicle into the modern age of motoring with greater levels of both comfort and off-road performance. The 6th-generation brought the full NISMO treatment with variants producing even more power to 428 bhp thanks to the famed Takumi engineers, with increased torque to over 70% of the powerband supported with specially tuned Bilstein shock absorbers for improved handling and ride comfort combined with unique styling features and 22-inch forged alloy wheels complementing a Zero-Lift aerodynamic body kit.

Nissan Patrol Through the Years

  • (1951-1960) Patrol’s first-generation that launched the “Go Anywhere” legend, using a 7-litre, six-cylinder 85ps engine with 4-speed manual transmission. Available as a utility vehicle or even a fire truck.

  • (1960-1980) This consumer model earned a reputation as the Japanese off-roader to contend with, as it took on the world’s greatest mobility challenges. Second generation Patrol begun with 4.0-liter six-cylinder P engine, exported to Australia, Russia, South America – “King of the Off-Road”. Patrol makes first car crossing of Australia’s Simpson Desert. Indian army uses Patrol variant (Jonga)

  • (1980-1987) An ultimate performance vehicle with creature comforts, the 160 Patrol became a family-favorite, particularly in desert conditions by adding air-conditioning.

  • (1987-1997) Coil springs improved riding comfort, while introduction of a five-speed transmission and vacuum-operated differential lock added to driving performance. Fourth generation had advanced styling, linked rear axle, disc brakes, Safari Roof (1991) and coil-spring suspension; Series II introduced (1992) with fuel injection, Turbo Engine (1995). Patrol Fanta Limon diesel first ever to finish Top 10 in Paris-Dakar Rally.

  • (1997-2010) This Patrol became a benchmark for reliability with an automatic gearbox, electric windows and mirrors, and chilled icebox. In 2004 a Station Wagon version offered seating for up to ten, while an extra 40-liter fuel tank allowed long-range off-road adventures, with both gas and turbo diesel engines and advanced horsepower. Patrol wins first Australian Outback Challenge, (2005) top three finishers.

  • (2010-2019) Nissan Patrol 4×4 donated to the Pilanesberg National Park’s rhino protection unit in South Africa. Adel Abdulla in his Nissan Patrol crowned the 2016 FIA T2 World Champion. The series was launched in Abu Dhabi with a new platform, enhanced interior comfort and luxury, a new 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine, and 7-speed transmission. The series was equipped with world-first Hydraulic Body Motion Control System and the ALL MODE 4x4system, allowing driver to quickly switch between four different drive modes. Model known as “The Hero of All Terrain.”

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