Nissan have retained Ti specification in their top of range vehicles in all models; from the passenger cars through to the big tough Patrols with their legendary go anywhere reputation it’s always the Ti that has the bells and whistles.
Yet the Ti Patrol auto seven seater was new to the marque, in that the 3 litre four cylinder turbo charged and inter cooled diesel was under the bonnet in lieu of the more familiar 4.8 litre stump pulling fuel injected petrol engine.
The feel and comfort of Ti specs; which involves lots of leather on seats and steering wheel, power everything, wood grain trim electric front seating adjustment, satellite navigation, reversing camera, in-dash 6 stack CD, rear seat entertainment system, front and rear climate control air conditioning, central locking, sun roof plus other features will remind driver and passengers that this is the best equipped Patrol that Nissan currently offer. The appointments are designed to provide comfort and well being whether humming along the highway or battling through the stop/start city traffic.
And when there are no roads any more there’s a limited slip differential, ABS brake system, side steps to keep stones and sticks from kicking up onto the body, and terrific suspension travel to keep wheels planted on the road at all times. While passengers might be aware that the road has gone and the car is actually making it’s own road they don’t feel much thanks to a remarkably compliant suspension set up involving a 3 link coil spring with stabilizer up front and a 5 link coil set up with stabilizer at the rear. That’s the Patrol through and through.
Interestingly, the acclaimed 3 litre diesel engine has long been offered in the somewhat lesser specified ST, ST-S and ST-L models yet it’s taken a fair while for the frugal oil burner to make it’s way into the Ti.
The 3 litre Ti reviewed was a smooth running 5 speed 7 seater auto and while I found it had ample power to easily tow my 5.5 metre centre console fibre glass boat ( the wagon is rated for up to 2500 kg for a braked trailer ) I could not organize the weather sufficiently for a photo of the event. It rained.
One of the most fascinating things about the 5 speed auto Patrol Ti is the remarkably light feel. Sure it’s a big wagon; but not in any way daunting thanks to light but direct power steering and an over all feeling of balance. Part of that overall ‘light’ feeling no doubt comes from the 3 litre engine which is remarkable responsive with 354 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm and 118 kW of power at 3,600 rpm. What’s more, the engine telemetry is set up so the turbo is kicking in right from the outset, without any lag whatsoever, ensuring that the 3 litre Patrol pulls hard straight off the mark.
Big boats on well sloped ramps or a caravan or camper being towed up the beach will cause no problems for the Patrol owner at the wheel of a 3 litre auto.
The turning circle, at 12.5 metres, is reasonable given the size of the vehicle but there still might be need for a double take when parking in the supermarket slot with a car each side. After all, this is a 5 metre plus long unit.
On the highway the 3 litre direct injection diesel Ti is a solid but predictable unit. Those top of range creature comforts are very easy to live with and it is remarkable how easy the big Patrol is to drive thanks to being able to choose just the right setting for the seating, the great visibility from the high command style driving position and the assistance afforded by the satellite navigation system. Experiments showed me that navigating to a chosen street in the smallest country town is quite feasible.
As a 7 seater the Patrol seats 5 in normal configuration with a pair of additional seats in the rear compartment for 2 more passengers. While the set up is not as space saving as some of the other large four wheel drives that have their additional seats below the floor prior to use the advantage of the Patrol’s is simply that they are full sized seats, not just for a pair of youngsters. If required, it’s a simple matter of removing a couple of bolts and the seats can be slipped out entirely leaving the entire rear luggage compartment free for use, complete with 60/40 folding rear seats to further enhance space for that all important “gear”.
Fuel economy is a big topic today. Just about anything from lawn mowers to large trucks seems to have an ‘alternative ‘ fuel available and diesel vehicles, once a great novelty, are the in thing. The Ti Patrol, powered by the slow revving 3 litre turbo engine – 100 kays per hour equals 2,000 rpm – was simply astounding offering a consumption of 10 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of highway and town driving. And with a fuel load of 125 litres aboard there is a very useful touring range available.
In summing up there’s no doubt that Nissan have struck a home run with the 3 litre diesel engine now offered in the Ti, top of range, Patrol wagon. The demand for the frugal but powerful engine has been there for some time, it just surprises me that Nissan have somehow taken their time to offer the package. In all, a great car, plenty of user-friendly features and a pleasant unit to drive. Big, it might be: cumbersome it’s not.Reads: 4599