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June 12, 2023

Review: 2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE

The Nissan Patrol’s been around in its current shape and form for quite a long time; 13 years in fact, if you stretch it to when the Y62 model designation was first introduced. During its tenure, it’s managed to outlive Nissan’s original commercial vehicle distributor (Universal Motors Corporation) and the addition, then deletion, and subsequent re-addition of its model suffix (Patrol Royale). Through all this and the three refreshes that followed, the flagship SUV merely existed. It seems Nissan was happy with the handful of sales it got.

But something unexpected happened in 2021; one that resulted in increased interest in this luxury SUV: the arrival of the Toyota Land Cruiser 300. With Toyota customers facing ridiculous wait times, or having to resort to equally ridiculous markups just to skip the queue (some even had to swallow the equally terrible situation with gray market imports), the Nissan Patrol suddenly looked like a rosy alternative. While it may sound like buyers are having to settle for something considered second best, that’s actually not the case at all.

Priced at P 4,698,000, the Nissan Patrol, admittedly, belongs in a price bracket where it’s bought by people who won’t likely value the opinion of a motoring journalist or TikTok influencer masquerading as a motoring journalist. But to the curious who would like to know how it drives and rides, it’s actually a pretty capable SUV. Sure, it’s quite old school in a lot of ways, but this SMDC studio-sized SUV delivers the reflexes of an athlete.

For starters, there’s the styling. The Patrol emphasizes its size rather than belittling it. The unapologetically slab-sided, squared-off body now gets the fascia to match. The previous version tried to hide its girth; this one embraces it. The angular headlights and massive V-motion grille give it gravitas, matched only by the refreshed rear-end and its larger taillamp cluster and the center chrome bar that joins them. They look “just right” but, mind you, at each corner are massive 20-inch alloy wheels. For 2023, the new look Nissan logo’s also made its way inside and out.

Measuring in at 5.270 meters in length and 1.995 meters in width (excluding the mirrors), the Patrol carves out nearly 21 cubic meters of space—more than the Land Cruiser 300. Its footprint (including mirrors) exceeds 11.5 meters putting it excruciatingly close to the Philippine building code’s standard for parking spaces at 12.5 square meters. With three rows of seats, it seats eight, and even fully occupied, there’s still a 467-liter cargo hold—bigger than some compact sedans or hatchbacks.

Those massive numbers are confirmed not just by tape measure, but by all the senses the moment you climb aboard. Make no mistake, the Patrol’s cabin is huge, you can live in here comfortably; there’s that much space. It’s so wide, there’s no way you can reach the passenger door handle from the driver’s seat. Talking to those in the rear seat is like placing a long-distance phone call. At times, you’ll wonder if the tri-zone climate control is capable of creating individual weather systems across the three rows.

The driver enjoys the usual cornucopia of adjustment afforded by a seat that move 8 ways (10 if you include the lumbar support) electronically (with a memory function and ventilation to boot) and a tiller that does the same for both reach and height.

Entry to the rear is equally massive with big doors leading to almost an aisle in front of the seat base to move into. The double hinged center console (it opens from the front or back to serve the first two rows) is acres wide, and is cooled to keep drinks chilled. Below it is the controls for the climate control as well as more USB ports.

The most old-school part here is how inflexible the seating is. It’s not as ancient as side-folding seats for the third row, mind you, but in some ways, it’s just as bad. Flipping the second seats to access the third row itself requires effort and is best done by an able-bodied adult because it moves so sharply. Now, if the third-row is folded, the only way to get them up requires reaching for the straps through the second row. It also needs muscle and some dexterity since they’re quite heavy. Also, because the second row doesn’t offer any sort of sliding mechanism, the room in the rearmost seat’s best suited for teens or adults with short, stubby legs. At least the seat back offers adjustable recline.

For cargo, it’s huge with all three rows in place (467 liters), but grows to 1,413 liters with the third-row down, and 2,623 liters with the second- and third-row seats down. Worth noting that getting the third-row back once you’ve folded them up is impossible, even if you’re vertically-gifted. Those handles are a long way away for anyone of average height. Plus, the power tailgate takes an eternity to open or close.

The interior design itself says it’s made for Sheiks since there’s enough plastic woodgrain to match the Business Class of an Emirates A380. Thankfully, they’ve made the transition from brown to a more subdued shade of black. Another nifty touch that suggests it’s made for the Middle East’s extremely hot weather is the placement of the second- and third row vents. Instead of placing them at the center of the ceiling, they’re all positioned by the generous glass area. This creates a curtain of cool air preventing the sun’s heat from barreling through the glass. The standard color scheme is black, but opting for the silver exterior color gives this nicer-looking tan leather combination. And who doesn’t love the pleated leather on the door cards?

Despite the solid build, the general look is starting to look dated. Thankfully, Nissan’s done the job of masking this by giving the Patrol a new steering wheel, fancier gauges, a new 12.3-inch split-screen infotainment screen, and ventilation controls. The touchscreen-based infotainment system shares its basic layout and functionality with the Terra and Navara, but because it’s quite a reach for Asian arms, there’s a BMW iDrive / Mazda Connect type rotary control knob that serves as a backup complete with several physical button shortcuts.

The biggest question hovering over the Patrol is its performance, and not because of the usual reason. With a direct-injected 5.6-liter V8 under the hood, frugality isn’t its middle name; heck it can’t be muttered in the same sentence. Even with light throttle inputs, if left puttering around in the city, you’ll see the trip computer registering a dismal 4.6 km/L. Unleash the full power of the V8 gets you a sub-7-second 0 to 100 km/h time, but expect it to drain the 140-liter (yes, that’s not a typo) in about a week. On the highway, it does better, registering close to 8 km/L. Regardless, you’re almost guaranteed to be a regular at your nearby gas station if you decide to daily drive this. Oh, and get this, 95 octane fuel is recommended here.

Aurally, the entire drivetrain goes for quietness than outright bark, yet the characteristic V8 rumble fills the cabin even at half throttle and this can get quite addicting. There’s no turbocharged surge or rollercoaster-like acceleration shove, just a powerful wind-up of speed, a dash of vibration permeating through the gas pedal, and of course, the copious fuel consumption.

Living with the Patrol is where things can get concerning. Aside from worrying about garage roof heights and parking space width, negotiating narrow streets or car parks can be challenging. It’s fair point to say that if you park it around the house, you park it around the house. Parking challenges aside, once you get used to it, it’s actually quite easy to drive. At lower speeds, the large glass area and light steering make it easy enough to drive around once adjusted for its gargantuan size (thank goodness for the 360-degree camera and corner sensors). In city confines, it feels pretty much like any standard large luxury SUV that ploughs through potholes using nothing more than its sheer weight and excellent NVH isolation. However, start pushing it around, and it pushes back. For a nearly three-ton SUV, it can get up and boogie.

During spirited driving, it remains extremely stable and flat with none of the body lean you’d expect from an apartment with wheels. Aside from its sophisticated Double Wishbone suspension at both ends, Nissan’s employed a magical system they call Hydraulic Body Motion Control or HBMC. It’s a simple yet clever system that doesn’t run on any computer. Instead, it uses hydraulic cylinders located at the shock absorbers to adjust roll stiffness by transferring fluid between left- and right sides. The system also activates during off-road driving. Whenever it senses that a wheel has dropped, it is able to add a greater amount of wheel travel.

For 2023, there’s also a fair bit of safety gear fitted in as well. The full suite of Nissan Intelligent Mobility features here includes Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, something you don’t get in other Nissans. Once the system detects an object in your blind spot, and you don’t signal, the Patrol actually generates a corrective steering force to keep you away from the said object. Even more impressive given the steering system here is the more traditional hydraulic setup, so kudos to Nissan engineers as to how they were able to implement that.

The current generation Nissan Patrol may be close to knocking on its teenage birthday, but it shouldn’t be a deterrent to buyers who need and want to go big. Yes, it’s thirsty, and yes it’s old, and yes it’s almost too big for city living, but if you need this amount of space, then there’s no substitute. It remains a tour-de-force that’s capable as it’s comfortable. Typically, Nissan was happy for the Patrol to exist, but now, it wants to fight and pummel the competition to submission. Some may say that it’s a couple of years too late, but better late than never, right? It what could be the current model’s swan song, this latest version has helped cement it as a legend.

2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE 5.6 AT 4x4

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Bottom Line
Pros Comfortable, capable, and surprisingly easy to drive.
Cons Thirsty, barely fits in a standard parking space, tight third-row.
TL;DR An old-school luxury SUV that rightfully deserves your attention.
Year Introduced 2010 (Refreshed: 2015, 2018, 2022)
Warranty 5 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Luxury SUV
Seating 8
Engine / Drive F/AWD, Low, Locking
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 5.6
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders V8
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 405 @ 5,800
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 560 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~95
Transmission 7 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 4.31 km/L @ 18 km/h,
5 km/L @ 22 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 140
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,270
Width (mm) 1,995
Height (mm) 1,955
Wheelbase (mm) 3,075
Curb Weight (kg) 2,830
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone, w/ HBMC
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone, w/ HBMC
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Mechanical, Foot Brake
Tires Bridgestone Dueler HT 684 II 275/60 R 20 H (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 35
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 3 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
Intelligent Emergency Braking
Lane Departure Warning
Intelligent Lane Intervention
Blind Spot Warning
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention
Hill Descent Control
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Light Operation Auto, w/ Auto High Beam
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Power
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather/Wood
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, Ventilated & Heated
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 4-way, Ventilated & Heated
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold-Tumble
3rd Row 50/50 Split-Fold
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Tri-Zone, with Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 13, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Gas guzzler. Depreciates quickly. Difficult to resell after 3 to 5 years

  2. 11.5 square meters foot print  & 12.5 square meters parking space (?)

    1. Yes. The Patrol takes up about 11.5 square meters (L x W) including mirrors. A Philippine standard parking space (minimum) is 12.5 square meters (L x W).

  3. TikTok influencer masquerading as a motoring journalist - hahaha!

  4. Nissan Patrol Royale or Toyota Land Cruiser?


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