Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted July 10, 2004 00:00
Serious Power Trip
But in reality the Patrol is more than just a bully looking for someone to push over. The GU Series was released in 1998 in foreign markets and had not stayed in the market this long to be just that. It has a capable engine and is well endowed with good off-roading capabilities of its four wheel drive system with automatic locking hubs. Which makes it often the weapon of choice for the UN security forces, European police, emergency and recovery teams, and other International agencies.
For an Asian SUV, the Patrol is the biggest of its kind that's available in our local market. With the Land Cruiser, which is an rival in terms of size not avaiable from the local dealerships. Outside, the Patrol screams R-E-S-P-E-C-T in big bold letters. Styling-wise, its not a knock out and its not really out there to win any design awards. Although a facelift similar to the Japanese variant would be a much welcome addition, it adds that modern touch to this fine truck.
Engine wise, the direct injection 3-liter turbo-intercooled diesel does the job adequately giving just the right amount of power and torque. Although I wouldn't complain if they have the 4.2-liter turbodiesel engine variant just for kicks. Now that would be something that would make good power and toque.
Inside, you get power seats, climate control, cupholders galore, leather seats and trims, which are some of the interesting creature comforts. A special note should be given to the air conditioning system which efficiently cools the whole cabin. The bench-type seats have since been replaced with reclinable true to third row seats. The dashboard looks a little outdated though. Noise, vibration and harshness has been dealt with properly except for the noise coming from the ceiling in the third row which comes out on rough roads. Otherwise, everything is as smooth as silk.
Although driving this SUV doesn't require much effort, it is clear that this has been setup for people who would rather be driven. A DVD entertainment system with monitors behind the front seat headrests are perfect for those long road trips or terrible traffic jams as the driver and front passenger are left to listen, as it is not really safe to be watching a movie while driving anyway.
One very good active safety feature for the Patrol would perhaps be the light sensing headlamps which is really convenient. Gear shifting is pretty smooth adding to the comfortable drive. Handling was something not really expected from an SUV of its size, as it handled the winding roads of Dalton Pass in Nueva Vizcaya pretty well and rode firmly as the standard Dunlop Grand Trek tires stuck on the ground as well.
Overall, its your urbanized off-road wolf in sheep's clothing. With all that chrome and leather you wouldn't want to get dirty with mud. In this market where its more of an executive's or those politico-type's wagon, the off-road capability of the Patrol is usually neglected, who usually says "Why go off-road when you can go on the other side of the road?"