By Paul Gover.
Australia is suffering badly from LandCruiser deprivation.
The king of the outback, and the default hauler for caravan families, is basically a sell-out until the back end of 2022 despite the upcoming arrival of an all-new 300-Series ‘Cruiser.
That news has been especially tough for people who had their hearts set on a LandCruiser to provide an escape valve through the pandemic shutdown of overseas travel, but there is an alternative …
It’s the Nissan Patrol, which has been under-appreciated in Australia for more than five years.
The latest Patrol originally arrived with a focus on the Middle East, where its V8 petrol engine was a no-brainer and no-one cared about prices that were set well beyond $100,000.
Over time the Patrol has become better known and better liked, so it’s time for another look at the next-best-think to a LandCruiser.
The pricing now starts from $78,910 and even the fully-loaded test car, a seven-seater Ti-L with all the frills, still hits showrooms from $93,365 before on-road costs.
Nissan says the current order bank for the Patrol means buyers are waiting 3-4 months for a delivery, but that’s better than the (yes, again) LandCruiser.
The hulking Nissan is not a ‘Cruiser, but it does a pretty fair impression thanks to a big-and-bold body, incredible cabin space, great towing ability and off-road strengths that mean it will keep going after most owners give up.
It feels giant from the wheel, particularly for parking or in tight city traffic, but the initial fear passes quickly and there is great all-round visibility unlike many of the latest trendy compact SUVs. It also sprints well with the V8 engine and the seven-speed automatic is particularly smooth.
Highway cruising is relaxed and easy and, although there was no chance this time to hook a caravan on the back, the Patrol is a winner in that area.
The flagship Ti-L is great for families, with rear-seat screens and headsets for the youngsters, and even the third-row seating is fine for adults.
It’s a very Japanese-centric type of luxury, including faux wood panelling, and a sharp contrast to the Genesis GV80 that recently passed through the test-car garage. But the Genesis is an SUV and the Patrol is an old-school four-wheel drive.
With that in mind, and even allowing for a thirsty engine, it’s a great choice and has the strengths for people who are shopping in the LandCruiser class but happy to consider something else.
Price: from $78,910
Engine: 5.6-litre petrol V8
Transmission: 7-speed auto, 4-wheel drive
Safety: not tested
Position: heavyweight hauler
Plus: quality, comfort, towing, off-road ability
Minus: not a LandCruiser
THE TICK: easily