It’s hard to think of a reason why you’d buy the Nissan Patrol pick up even exists in SA.
When you look at Naamsa’s sales figures, it’s quite clear that South Africans have made their choice in this segment, and the Nissan isn’t it.
I don’t really know why this is, because I spent a day behind the wheel of the new Patrol bakkie at its recent SA launch and I’m struggling to think of a reason why you wouldn’t buy it.
Obviously it’s now a car for us city dwellers. This is the kind of bakkie for real farmers who transport pigs to the market on a Friday and the wife to church on a Sunday.
What matters most is the ability to cope with tough terrain and a decent reliability record.
The Patrol is known for its off road prowess and it also has a reputation for not letting its owners down. Perhaps it’s just a case of consumers forgetting that it exists? I must be honest at this point and say that I completely forgot Nissan made such a thing. It’s only when the invite to drive it came through that I actually remembered that there was more than one Patrol derivative.
So what’s new on this Patrol? Well, nothing eye catching. The outside looks exactly the same as always, but there is a new 3,0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with 110kW and 380Nm on tap.
I’m reliably informed that the engine it replaces was rather pap, but the new car doesn’t feel remotely pap. It’s not a Golf GTI, but you certainly won’t be holding up traffic on the highway. It gets to 120km/h easily enough and if you don’t keep an eye on the speedo, you’ll soon find yourself in a cold, damp police cell trying to explain that you didn’t notice you were breaking the law.
On gravel it’s a very impressive machine. It’s actually hard to tell the difference between tar and gravel road driving from behind the wheel. The suspension has obviously been tuned to cope with rough roads on a daily basis. The downside is noticeable body lean in the corners, but who cares about that in a bakkie anyway.
One thing possible customers might enjoy is the additional extra tank. With both tanks topped up to the brim, the Patrol pick up can travel up to 1600km. If you don’t like filling up regularly, this is the bakkie for you. The Patrol can also be topped up with 500ppm diesel, giving it a one-up on the new Land Cruiser V8, which needs 50ppm to keep it happy.
I didn’t get a chance to test the off-road ability, but it has a locking rear differential, low range gearbox and chunky tyres. If previous generations are anything to by, I doubt this new Patrol pick up will struggle when the going gets tough.
It costs, which is in the Land Cruiser ballpark. Would I have one over the Land Cruiser? I honestly don’t know. I live in the city, so I have no use for a proper boere bakkie.
If you happen to have a few sheep you need to transport from point A to point B, I recommend having a look at both cars. The Nissan seems to be quite the bargain, and who doesn’t like a bargain these days.