Cars

Classy, Capable and Comfortable: On and Off-Road with the Nissan Patrol

How do you best illustrate the capabilities of a full-sized SUV? Go on a drive, of course.
IMAGE Nissan Philippines
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When it comes to gigantic off-roaders, customers are spoiled for choice. Many carmakers offer full-sized SUVs for people who like space—lots and lots of it—to go with performance and style. Ford has its Expedition, Chevrolet has the Suburban, Toyota has its Land Cruiser, of course. 

Nissan’s dog in this fight is the Patrol. It might not have been as visible as some of its competitors in recent years, but local Nissan execs are now ready to give it its moment in the spotlight.

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Photo by Nissan Philippines.

GoAnywhere with Nissan

A line of Patrols waited for participants of Nissan’s GoAnywhere Campaign one damp and gloomy Wednesday morning. We were assigned Patrol number 6 in gleaming white. A colleague slid behind the wheel while I called shotgun. The third member of our team had the middle row all to himself.

The immediate impression is one of space—it felt like we were in a mobile living room. Caramel-colored leather seats that adjust with automatic power buttons, intuitive touchscreen dashboard, and entertainment monitors for rear seat occupants—you’d be forgiven if you felt like you got upgraded to a plane’s business class seats. Bluetooth headphones are even provided, just like on a fancy airline.

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Photo by Nissan Philippines.
Photo by Nissan Philippines.

We took the long way round some of Cavite’s busiest towns and cities up to everybody’s favorite weekend destination—Tagaytay. At one point we reached Nasugbu along the Batangas coastline just as a mid-morning shower soaked the landscape. It was here where I switched with my colleague and I finally got behind the wheel of the Patrol.

Anyone used to driving a sedan will find it takes a while to get used to the feeling of driving a hulking SUV. It was the same for the Patrol, but the feeling was also one of satisfaction and power—like being in control of a formidable machine.

Off-roading experience

The first stop was lunch at Antonio’s, arguably the most well-known fine dining restaurant in the country. The choice of the restaurant wasn’t accidental—the Patrol was clearly being marketed to those with luxurious and discerning tastes.

At Tagaytay Highlands, Nissan pulled out all the stops to create an actual off-road course to highlight the capabilities of the Patrol. It would’ve been easy to find a muddy, rocky, bumpy stretch of dirt path for the Patrol to conquer, but to design and build a course from scratch meant the carmaker was not just confident about the Patrol’s features, but also serious about the safety of the participants.

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I’ve been on a few off-road drives, but the course still proved daunting. Guided by a professional driving instructor, I maneuvered the Patrol carefully through tight corners and up steep hills. The objective was to showcase its Hill Descent Control (letting the car take control when going downhill) and Hill Start Assist (allowing the driver to switch easily from brake to gas pedal even while hanging on a slope).

The off-road course itself was designed for the Patrol to conquer, including the big finale—a particularly steep dirt hill we were supposed to maneuver almost diagonally downhill. Thankfully, there were no surprises; everybody came out of it in one piece, including the vehicles.

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Photo by Nissan Philippines.
Photo by Nissan Philippines.

Bottom line 

We can mention the Nissan Patrol’s powerful 5.6L V8 engine with seven-speed automatic transmission, Hydraulic Body Motion Control which helped stabilize it enough throughout the zig zag stretch going down to Taal, and its suite of Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies such as the Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Parking Guide.

But for anyone looking for the bottom line, it’s this: the Patrol is a worthy contender whether you’re a driver on the lookout for a capable off-roader, or an on-the-go passenger looking for a spacious, comfortable ride in the back seat. And the best part is the price; the Nissan Patrol is practically a steal at P3.88 million compared with other models in its class.

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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