So we thought it a good time to compare Nissan’s large petrol V8 powered 4x4 wagon with its most obvious competitor, the Toyota LandCruiser.
Nissan Patrol Ti. Pricing $71,990+ORC Service Intervals 6 months or 10,000km Warranty three-years, 100,000km Safety Not Tested Engine 5.6-litre V8 petrol Power 298kW at 5000rpm Torque 560Nm at 4000rpm Transmission seven-speed automatic Drive on-demand four-wheel drive Dimensions 5165mm (L); 1995mm (W); 1940mm (H) Turning Circle 12.5m Ground Clearance 272mm Boot Space 550/1490 litres Spare Full size Fuel Tank 140L Thirst 14.4L/100km (combined)
Toyota LandCruiser GXL. Pricing $83,571+ORC Service Intervals 6 months or 10,000km Warranty three-years, 100,000km Safety Five star ANCAP Engine 4.6-litre V8 petrol Power 227kW at 5500rpm Torque 439Nm at 3400rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Drive full-time four-wheel drive Dimensions 4990mm (L); 1980mm (W); 1945mm (H) Turning Circle 11.8m Ground Clearance 230mm Boot Space 1276 litres Spare Full size Fuel Tank 138L Thirst From 13.4L/100km (combined)
What Are We Testing And Why? For four-wheel drivers who adhere to the ‘no replacement for displacement’ theory, the Nissan Patrol and Toyota LandCruiser are available with a pair of the biggest capacity petrol V8 engines on the market.
The 2017 Patrol is in run-out mode at the moment with a revised model due at dealers soon, so there are some good deals to be had on this already well-priced and well-equipped large 4x4 wagon. And it’s the Nissan Patrol that leads the cubic-inches charge with a potent 5.6-litre V8 engine that makes 298kW of power at 5800rpm and 560Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The LandCruiser makes do with a 4.6-litre V8 that produces 227kW of power at 5500rpm and 439Nm of torque at 3400rpm.
Nissan dropped the base-spec Patrol ST-L some time ago and now the lowest grade variant is the well-equipped Ti model, which represents good value for money at $71,990 plus on-road costs. Standard gear includes 18-inch alloy wheels, satnav, 8-inch colour screen, keyless entry/start, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, tri-zone climate control air conditioning, leather trim, sun roof, auto headlights and fog lights. The top-spec Patrol Ti-L costs $88,990.
There are three models in the petrol V8 LandCruiser range starting with the $83,571 GXL, which costs $11.5k more than the better-equipped Patrol Ti. Other models are the $93,781 LandCruiser VX and the range-topping $115, 201 Sahara. The Cruiser is also available with a 4.5-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8.
As it’s closest in price to the Patrol Ti, we’ve chosen the V8 petrol LandCruiser GXL as a comparative vehicle for this story. Standard gear on this model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, satnav, 6.1-inch colour touchscreen, keyless entry/start, two-zone climate control air conditioning and auto-levelling LED headlights.
There’s ample space inside the Patrol Ti, which offers seating for eight across its three rows. The high-quality leather covered front seats offer plenty of scope for adjustment and it’s not hard to find a comfortable seating position, but visibility across the enormous bonnet isn’t great.
The colour screen is located up high on the dash and the instrument binnacle clearly displays all vital statistics. The air conditioning controls are down low on the dash so you have to take your eyes off the road to operate them, at least until you become accustomed to them. There’s a rotary dial on the centre console to operate the All-Mode 4X4 system, which is clearly marked and easy to use, and there’s plenty of storage between the seats, in the doors and in the glovebox.
Second-row occupants have good width and legroom, although the third row is best suited to kids. There’s a cavernous cargo area, even when the third-row seat is in use. Fold the seats down and the floor is flat but it angles up towards the front of the vehicle.
The LandCruiser GXL is also a large vehicle, but it doesn’t offer quite as much interior space as the gargantuan Patrol Ti, or the creature comforts. The cloth-covered seats have manual fore/aft/rake adjustment, and the interior trim appears more functional than luxurious, with loads of grey plastic. Having said that, the instruments are clear and the controls are well laid out, and there’s plenty of storage in the centre console, glovebox and doors.
Like the Patrol, there’s good width across the second-row seat in the LandCruiser, and there’s space for three kids across the third row. The cargo area is smaller than that of the Patrol, and the Cruiser’s third-row seats, which fold up to the sides when not in use, eat into cargo space.
The horizontally split tailgate of the Cruiser is more convenient than the one-piece design of the Patrol, as only the top half has to be opened to access smaller items, and the lower half can be used as a seat and/or bench when the vehicle is parked.
The Patrol’s 5.6-litre V8 engine is sublime. It’s a high-tech direct-injection unit with variable valve timing and it pumps out an amazing spread of power and torque across the rev range. Throttle response is excellent from low revs and the midrange is strong, so there’s no need to rev the engine to get decent performance out of the Patrol. It has that nice, lazy, large-capacity V8 feel.
The V8 is mated to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission with tall sixth and seventh ratios aimed at aiding economy on the open road, but with a hefty kerb weight of 2715kg the Patrol is not exactly economical. Nissan claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 14.4L/100km, but load it up or attach a trailer and it’ll use significantly more fuel than that. Fortunately, a big 140-litre fuel capacity provides a decent touring range.
Unlike Patrols of old, this one features a fully independent suspension system with Nissan’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC), which consists active dampers that help control body roll. As a result, the Patrol offers a compliant ride over bumpy surfaces but maintains a flat stance when cornering. The HBMC set-up works well and helps to disguise the vehicle’s hefty overall weight.
The Patrol’s All-Mode 4X4 system provides most of the torque to the rear wheels on the road and then apportions it towards the front wheels when slip is detected. The system works well and the Patrol offers good traction on slippery surfaces such as wet and/or gravel roads.
While the LandCruiser can’t match the Patrol for outright performance, the 4.6-litre V8 is still a silky smooth unit. As well as a displacement disadvantage, the Toyota V8 lacks the direct-injection technology of the Nissan V8. Nevertheless, the Toyota offers strong performance throughout the rev range and enough overall grunt to get the 2740kg LandCruiser GXL moving along at a fair clip. The Cruiser’s six-speed auto has a good spread of ratios and shifts smoothly enough, but again it falls short of the Nissan’s seven-speed ’box.
While the Cruiser has independent suspension up front, it runs a live-axle rear, and it doesn’t ride as well over bumpy surfaces as the Patrol. Overall ride quality is compliant enough, but the Cruiser exhibits more body roll when cornering than the Patrol. VX and Sahara-spec Cruisers are equipped with Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), but the petrol V8 GXL misses out on this feature (it’s not even available as an option), which is a pity because KDSS does an impressive job of minimising body roll.
The LandCruiser has a full-time 4X4 system for added traction on slippery surfaces with a lockable centre differential. Both vehicles offer a maximum 3500kg braked-trailer towing capacity.
Both Patrol and LandCruiser offer impressive off-road performance, with good low-range reduction and plenty of ground clearance. Both are also equipped with sensibly sized tyres for off-road driving, with adequate sidewall height. The Patrol wears 265/70R18 rubber while the Cruiser has 285/65R17s.
The Patrol’s All-Mode 4X4 system is easy to operate; just rotate the console-mounted dial from Auto to 4H for a 50:50 torque split front and rear, then rotate it one more step to engage low-range. There’s a separate button for the rear diff lock, another to activate hill descent control and a third to disengage the stability control. The four driving modes are on-road, sand, snow and rock.
Despite its fully independent suspension, the Patrol has good wheel travel, which combines with effective traction control and the locking rear differential to maintain forward progress over rough terrain.
The Cruiser’s centre diff is locked via a button on the centre console, next to which is another button to disengage the stability control. There’s a separate rotary dial for selecting high or low range, and another dial for Crawl Control, which is essentially an off-road cruise control that maintains a set speed. It seems as though the 4X4 controls have been randomly placed around the centre console rather than logically positioned.
The LandCruiser doesn’t have a rear diff lock, but it does a good job keeping its rear wheels on the ground over undulating terrain thanks to its rear live-axle set-up which provides excellent axle articulation and, in turn, good traction. While front wheel travel isn’t as good as the rear, it’s still pretty good for an independent set-up. Another feature of the LandCruiser’s off-road package is its Turn Assist, which when activated can lock the inside rear wheel to minimise the turning circle in tight terrain.
Patrol Ti and LandCruiser GXL come with a basic list of standard safety features including ABS, traction control and stability control.
The Patrol Ti also scores air bags for all three rows, front and rear parking sensors and Intelligent Around-View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. But it misses out on features exclusive to the higher-spec Patrol Ti-L including active cruise control, forward collision warning, intelligent distance control, lane-departure warning and intervention, blind spot warning and intervention and intelligent brake assist.
The LandCruiser GXL has front row airbags and third row air curtains, a reverse camera, multi-terrain ABS, hill-start assist control and trailer sway control. You’ll have to stump up extra money for a LandCruiser VX if you want second-row air bags, and front and rear parking sensors, while only the top-spec Sahara scores Safety Sense + with Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Safety system with Pedestrian Detection, Automatic High Beam and Active Cruise Control.
So, Which One Wins And Why? There’s simply no denying that those after a large petrol-powered 4x4 wagon are better off spending their money on a Nissan Patrol Ti over a Toyota LandCruiser GXL. The Patrol offers superior value for money, on-road performance, on-road handling, interior packaging and off-road capability.
Of course, those who’d prefer a large diesel-powered 4x4 wagon will have to make a beeline to the nearest Toyota dealer to pick up the 4.5-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8 version of the LandCruiser 200, but that’s a story for another day…