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Car reviews - Nissan - Patrol - Warrior


We like
Massive clearance and off-road geometry; big V8 sound through side exit exhaust; outstanding ride and handling balance; superbly weighted steering for large vehicle; retains factory tow rating, warranty, and much more
Room for improvement
Dated interior décor and HMI; no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto; physical size an issue in the bush; petrol-only engine a thirsty option for hardcore off-roaders; misses much of the off-road, infotainment and safety tech of nearest rival

Capable, confident Patrol Warrior ready-to-rock from the showroom floor, just don’t forget the fuel card…

5 Oct 2023



IT HAS been more than a decade since the current Y62-series Patrol took to the road, having entered production way back in 2010. Of course, the vehicle has undergone the expected facelifts along the way, but has retained its core mechanicals, safety equipment, infotainment technology and more… points it seems are not an issue for some.


Nissan Australia says sales of the Y62 are as strong as ever, indicating that the model may even break records before the year is out – an extraordinary feat considering the design age of the vehicle, and proving, perhaps, that the design has stood the test of time.


Of course, it could also be argued that the Patrol’s only serious competitor is too expensive and too hard to get hold of.


Indeed, comparing the Toyota LandCruiser GR Sport – the big T’s ultra-capable off-road SUV – with the newly released Patrol Warrior and the near $40K price difference is one many might find hard to swallow… even if the LC300 is streets ahead in terms of overall modernity.


And while it could also be said that Nissan ‘still’ only offers a tried-and-tested (read: old and thirsty) V8 petrol engine, that $40K saving equates to a helluva lot of petrol – closer to 20,000 litres of the stuff at the time of publication.


But we’re not here to compare apples and oranges – and we’re certainly not here to bash the Patrol. After all, we did plenty of that on Tasmania’s rough-as-guts Climies Track last week.


So, what is the Patrol Warrior, I hear you ask?


In short, it’s an off-road modified four-wheel drive that is designed to suit those with an appetite for the great outdoors. More specifically, it’s aimed squarely at those without the desire to go through the rigmarole of modifying their own vehicle, offering a factory-backed warranty, in-dealer servicing and even one-stop financing and insurance.


Anyone who has tried doing that off their own back will know how tricky things can get.


Modified by Epping-based Premcar, the Patrol Warrior (from $101,160 plus on-road costs) follows a similar ethos to the Navara PRO-4X and SL Warrior adding the most highly sought after pieces of equipment to an already proven package.


In the case of the Patrol Ti-based Warrior, those additions include black 18-inch wheels wrapped in more off-road oriented Yokohama all-terrain tyres, new guard flares, and a beefy bi-modal exhaust system with side-exit outlets.


A blacked-out exterior and interior does away with much of the dated chrome accents, while Alcantara upholstery adds a premium flair.


It rides 50mm higher than the derivative model and retains Nissan’s complex Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC) suspension system, used to eliminate the need for anti-roll bars, albeit with several enhancements, and is available in four paint colours: Brilliant Silver, Moonstone White, Gun Metallic, and Black Obsidian.


As mentioned, the Patrol Warrior retains Nissan’s standard 298kW/560Nm 5.6-litre petrol V8 engine, coupled exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission.


Drive Impressions


Most four-wheel drive brands offer a pretty piss-weak excuse for a launch drive when handing the keys to the motoring media. Perhaps afraid of the limitations of the driver, the vehicle, or both, they tend to restrict the experience to a handful of fire trails, a couple of puddles, and maybe a tow test, if you’re lucky.


Nissan didn’t…


For the unfamiliar, Climies Track, on Tasmania’s rugged west coast, is an 18km obstacle course that takes around 3-4 hours to tackle. It clings to the cliffs above the Southern Ocean, winding and undulating the granite and clay of the Heemskirk Regional Reserve.


To say it’s stunning is an understatement. To say it’s challenging is a given.


From the Tasmanian Parks Service:


“Very difficult – suitable for high clearance vehicles with dual range and tyres suitable for the terrain. Drivers should have extensive and advanced experience as there are several technical challenges. Recommended to be done in groups of four or more vehicles, as vegetation is too low to winch from. The track is suitable for experience 4WD drivers only, with hill-climbs, bog holes, rocky river crossings, and muddy eroded sections”.


I can tell you with quite some qualification that the track doesn’t tolerate the uninitiated – and will mince the average four-wheel drive as soon as look at it. If you want scratches, dents, broken CVs, torn bumpers, and punctured tyres, this is the place to do it. Consider that picture painted.


Unusually mild and wind-free weather made our trek along Climies a spectacular one, and we must say the Patrol Warriors looked right at home among it. Aired-down tyres and low-range gearing made for slow but steady progress, the tricky stuff presenting itself not a few hundred metres from the trailhead.


Immediately, the variable rate dampers and mega-ground clearance on offer are put to work, the bright red bash plate and side steps narrowly clearing the rock and ruts below. The bumpers clear each obstacle with millimetres to spare – showing just how badly damaged a lesser four-wheel drive would be in identical conditions. This is step-at-a-time, pick-your-line-carefully terrain.


Cross a mud hole, select the right cog, and hold that sonorous V8 in its sweet spot. The Patrol Warrior hauls its considerable bulk effortlessly up inclines that require judicious use of a wound-down side window to navigate. It’s a lot of fun – and almost too easy.


Even with the additional clearance and long travel suspension it is possible to lift a wheel (or two) when traversing some of the Climie’s deeply eroded sections. It’s here that the rear differential lock can really save your bacon. If it was wet, we might have asked for a front one – or even a winch.


Premcar said it considered everything from a bullbar to a winch, additional diff locks and even a supercharger when piecing the Warrior together. But in keeping the model showroom friendly and knowing how off-roaders like to build on the ability of their vehicle over time, it was thought the kit list offered would suffice (and keep costs down).


The wide body of the Patrol took some manoeuvring in parts of the former bullock track connecting the remote fishing settlements of Trial Harbour and Granville Harbour. Look closely at the images attached and you’ll likely see the deep ‘bush pinstripes’ that now adorn Nissan’s $100K off-roader. Ouch.


Remarkably, the paint damage – and a couple of beaten side steps and bash plates – were the only hiccups in an otherwise issue-free run. It says a lot for the promise of a designed-for-Oz package.


Back on the black-top and it’s obvious that completing a track like this also says a lot about the Patrol. With the tyres reset to road pressure – and the taps opened far further than they had been for hours – it was reassuring to hear not a single creak, rattle, or groan; just a bit of mongrel from the cheeky side exit ‘pipe.


The Patrol certainly feels its size on narrow Tassie roads, leaning a little more than a family SUV, but not nearly as much as a hack-job lifted “fourbie”. There’s a cadence to the vehicle’s progress that is easily dialled into, the sweetly weighted steering giving an air of confidence when you might have only inches of sealed stuff remaining. It’s very reassuring.


We also appreciate the generous mirrors and decent DLOs when positioning the Patrol in tighter confines. It’s a vehicle that goes, stops and steers with the kind of analogue fluidity a four-wheel drive should – something we hope is retained if and when the new Patrol ever arrives.


Of course, the vehicle isn’t without its foibles, and one look at the trip computer shows just one of the Patrols shortfalls – fuel consumption. We stayed north of 20 litres per 100km despite a significant amount of highway cruising, and with just two passengers on board.


Load up the family, the luggage, the dog, the boat, some camping equipment and a couple of slabs and we reckon you’d chew through that 20,000 litres of petrol we spoke of earlier in just a couple of years… maybe the ‘Cruiser is a more cost-effective alternative after all.


There’s also no doubting the out-of-date nature of the instrumentation and infotainment arrays – and some of the electronic driver aids on offer. The ye olde Patrol is famously behind on all three counts, the lack of wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay connectivity and a sat nav system penned by kindergarteners just some of the peeves experienced at launch.


Still, for $100K or thereabouts, there aren’t too many off-the-tiles four-wheel drives like this one. To think you can drive out of the dealership and be in the thick of it the same day is a luxury that is very hard to find elsewhere – and should be reason enough to see outdoorsy Aussie buyers forming a queue at Nissan showrooms around the country.


Just don’t forget the fuel card, eh?

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