Success demands the proper wheels.
For some, it's a sports car or coupe. That's why you see a lot of Mustangs, Miatas, or even 911s on the road. For others, it's an executive saloon where they can sit in the back and relax. The Camry is perhaps the minimum, while others opt for a 7 Series or an S Class.
For many of us, however, it's a big and luxurious 4x4 SUV. That's why you see a lot of Expeditions, Pajeros, and Land Cruisers. Actually, the queue for the latest LC 300 is just ridiculous. The desire is strong, and it's no different from getting a penthouse condo or a house with 3 or more floors plus a roof deck. People pay to have that feeling of towering above everyone else.
Such is the case for the Nissan Patrol. Actually, Patrol Royale.
Nissan took their time launching the new Patrol Royale here. We did get to fly to Abu Dhabi before the pandemic to drive this very model with the understanding that it was to be launched here in April or May 2020, but that didn't happen. There were two reasons: the first is the outbreak of the pandemic, and the second is because they still had quite a lot of units of the previous one to sell.
That's why the Patrol Royale you're looking at was launched in the Philippines in December 2021. Yes, it took a long time for the Patrol to go on sale; probably one of the longest delays in a model launch in recent memory. The question is: was the wait worth it?
The short answer to that is: yes. But the long answer: yes, but it depends on what you're after.
If you're after curb appeal and that arrival factor, then absolutely. This may still be the same Y62 generation that has been in production since 2010, but Nissan really nailed the styling of the model. In all honesty, I wasn't really a fan of the styling of the pre-2021 Patrol Royale because it was penned at a time when Nissan's design direction didn't seem too inspired. Of course, that's subjective, but some of my examples apart from the Patrol Royale include the first-generation Leaf, the fourth generation Micra, the first generation Livina, and even the first generation Juke.
That all changed with the facelifted Y62. Like you can really see the step up in terms of the curb appeal with this. The body may be the same, but the face really looks proper and a bit more squared off. The wheels are new, the headlights appear similar to the Terra in terms of inspiration, and the taillights are also new. At least they didn't adopt that weird chrome bar on the Terra that looks like a closet handle.
But really, it's the grille that makes that big impact with the size and the two-tone finish on it. And it matters not whether you like chrome or don't; with the Patrol Royale, it's a perfect match like ketchup with fries. I do wish they had a demo car in black or white because then the details would really pop.
I wasn't expecting big changes with the way things are inside the Patrol Royale (again, facelift) but the changes that Nissan did make are very much appreciated. Gone are those brown faux wood accents that you'd find in your Dad's Camry or your Lolo's Chedeng; instead Nissan opted for the dark gray ash wood design. It does look way better and way classier than before. If you miss the brown, don't worry, Nissan did opt for the brown leather interior for Philippine-spec Patrols.
Many of the switches and stuff are the same, and the seats are as comfortable as ever, but what's really different here is the dashboard. Here's where it gets weird: Nissan actually has different interiors for the Patrol in different markets. When they launched the facelifted Patrol in Australia, the interior was still the old one. But over in the Middle East (the core market of the Patrol), they have the newer interior, which is the same one that we have.
Nissan didn't explain why, but I have a feeling that it's an LHD/RHD thing; the markets with the steering on the left side have the new interior, but insofar as I can check, markets with the steering on the right side like Australia have the older interior. I'm guessing it's an economies of scale thing; I can't really find other major RHD markets that offer the Patrol as the UK, Thailand, Indonesia, and even Japan do not offer the model.
The steering wheel appears to be the same, albeit with the same alteration of the wood trim. The new Nissan logo is on the steering wheel, just like on the grille. The instrument cluster has changed too, as it now features a larger color screen similar to the Nissan Terra and the new Navara. Here you can play around with the many Nissan driver-assist technologies like the adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and so on and so forth. The only thing it doesn't have is the lane centering or lane following system to make it a ProPilot capable vehicle; the limiting factor here is the hydraulic power steering. But don't worry, most Patrols here aren't driven by the owners anyway, but more on that later.
The big change is with the middle of the dash. Nissan really rethought the center area without changing it so much that it'd cost too much to make. There's now a wide 12.3” screen on top, and it has the usual goodies like Android Auto and Apple Carplay. If you're a bit of an audiophile, this has 13 Bose speakers all around and the audio quality is impeccable. The piano black trim looks fantastic in the middle, and you've got a tri-zone climate control system, a wireless charger (behind a door below the A/C controls), and the usual USB ports.
The center armrest still houses a cooler unit, and the lid can be opened from the front and from the back. Nissan also reorganized the shifter area. They moved the controls for the 4x4 system and moved the cupholders, but really it's more like reshuffling your living room. The centerpiece is still the couch, and that's over in the back.
If you're a Patrol customer, chances are this is where you'll be sitting: the middle row. And why wouldn't you? The cushioning is fantastic, you've got your own A/C system, plenty of legroom, and a fold-down armrest with cupholders for convenience (albeit a bit low). Oddly enough Nissan deleted the headrest monitors for the back seat, but in the day and age of the smartphone, what's more important are charging ports; thankfully you've got two just behind the coolbox. The only thing I think is missing is a sliding mechanism because it'd be nice if you can move it forward or backward if you would ever want to.
The third row, well, it's nothing to write home about. This is technically an 8-seater, meaning Nissan says 3 people can fit in the third row. Of course, I think the third row won't be employed in such a fashion because the knee room there is quite limited (even for my 168cm height), and also given how Patrols are used here.
Unlike other markets, the Patrol Royale in the Philippines is used more as the transport for the elite, whether they be political or financial. And that means armoring is the popular option with modifications to the glass, run-flat tires, inserts in the doors, and so on and so forth. And in the highest armor ratings available, that would also mean a ballistic door where the third row would be. That's just the way the Patrol is used here.
That seems like a lot of weight to lug around, and that's why the Patrol has a massive 5.6-liter V8. There's nothing new about the engine; we've become quite accustomed to its abilities with its 405 horsepower and 560 Newton meters of torque. So we have no doubts it will easily manage the extra weight of armor options, but we're also used to the thirst of the engine.
Unlike the Land Cruiser, the Patrol has no diesel option, so that 5.6 liter V8 runs on gas. Even with a 7-speed automatic, the best we can really expect is 4.5 kilometers for every liter consumed in the city, but once you run into heavier traffic expect around 3.5 km/l. On the highway that improves to around 9.2 km/l, but you can stretch it out more if you want to. But then again, if you're a Patrol owner and driver, you're most likely immune to fuel price increases unlike the rest of us mere mortals. That also applies to taking on all kinds of terrain; the rest of us are mere mortals too.
Take the Patrol Royale off-road and you can expect that you can simply power through if you know what you're doing. Is there a flood in your way? Nissan's official water wading is 700mm, but I can tell you now that I've driven the Patrol Y62 through waterways deeper than that. Remember that 4x4 control panel there beside the gear selector? It has settings for road, sand, rock, and snow. We may not have a use for snow, but really what you need to be able to get through anything is how to use the 4x4 low range and when to use the locking rear differential. And if you use the 4x4 view on the 360 camera, it gets ridiculously easy. Child's play, actually.
Many were critical of the Y62 because it was in this generation that Nissan made the big switch to fully independent suspension. The Patrols before had solid axles front and rear, and that kind of setup -while old- is a godsend when you're dealing with tough terrain. But the Y62 has double wishbones front and rear. Does that mean it is any less capable?
The short answer is no. Sure, there will be nuances with the behavior of the suspension (ground clearance isn't maintained as the suspension moves) as serious off-road enthusiasts aren't wrong for swearing by live axles and articulation, but the long travel suspension can offset that, along with extra ground clearance. The real trick up the Y62's sleeve (or wheel arches) is the HBMC. Basically, it keeps the body as stable as it can even on tough terrain and at speed. It's a good system and something we've put to the test while doing 160 km/h on dirt in the North African desert.
Really though, many Patrol Royale customers in the Philippines will likely stay on the pavement. And that's where the choice really is rewarding. It just cocoons you comfortably and safely in a way that is hard to experience in something at this price range. While many rivals offering similar capabilities are already well north of PHP 5 million, the Patrol Royale is still at PHP 4.458 million.
Yes, it's a facelift, but that was really all that was needed.
- Make: Nissan
- Model: Patrol Royale
- Engine: 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V-8 VVEL
- Max Power: 405 PS @ 5800 rpm
- Max Torque: 560 Nm @ 4000 rpm
- Transmission: 7-speed AT, 4x4 + EDL
- Price as Tested: ₱4,458,000