Ah, the mysterious island of Siquijor. Located in the Visayas region, the country’s third-smallest island has been known for its mystery and witchcraft, for better or worse. Apart from local folklore, Siquijor is known for its pristine beaches and biodiversity. While anyone can simply rent a motorcycle or a van while going around the island, Nissan Philippines has decided to go big and bring in their latest line-up of light commercial vehicles (LCV) straight from Manila, namely the Navara pick-up, Terra midsize SUV/PPV, and the flagship Patrol Royale full-size SUV.
Receiving a mild refresh for this year is the Terra and Navara, which both get a new Nissan Connect 8-inch touch screen infotainment system. While the Navara and Terra’s capabilities have already been well documented here at Go Flat Out, this article will mainly concentrate on the Nissan Patrol Royale, since this will be Go Flat Out’s first time to take Nissan’s flagship SUV for a spin. An article about the Terra and Navara’s all-new infotainment system will follow shortly.
Costing P3,888,000, the Nissan Patrol Royale is actually off to a great start in terms of pricing, undercutting its chief rival, the Toyota Land Cruiser, by as much as P600,000. This is mainly due to the Japan Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), in which cars made in Japan with an engine size bigger than 3.0-liters are exempted from tariffs.
The Patrol Royale’s excellent pricing is also due to what is under the hood, which is a massive 5.6-liter VK56VD V8 petrol engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL), producing 400 hp and 560 Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. The beefy numbers do speak for themselves. Nissan’s second most powerful model in the local line-up scoots to 100 kph in just 6.6 seconds–faster than a Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, Honda Civic RS Turbo, and Mazda MX-5.
Unfortunately, being a petrol-powered behemoth weighing 2,750 kg that has that much performance means it also drinks fuel like there’s no tomorrow. I averaged a measly 4.3 kilometers per liter during the trip around Siquijor. On paper then, the Patrol Royale may have higher running costs due to its expensive fuel bills, but that’s only true to a certain extent because the price gap between the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol Royale is so huge, the cost savings with owning the diesel-fed Toyota is almost negligible.
Another advantage that the Nissan Patrol Royale has over the Land Cruiser is its overall refined and comfortable nature. NVH is superb, suppressing outside noise excellently with only the throaty V8 engine rumble permeating through during hard acceleration. The sound is quite addicting, and it’s one reason why we’ll miss big naturally-aspirated engines.
Credit for its plush ride is given to the all-around independent double wishbone suspension with Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC). A hydraulic chamber is located in each shock absorber, transferring hydraulic fluid between the left and right sides as the vehicle goes through a turn, thus suppressing body roll. As a result, the ride is always soft yet body roll is well controlled. The light steering does not provide a lot of feedback, but along with how well the suspension deals with body roll, it all contributes to making the Patrol Royale feel smaller and more nimble than it actually is. It’s the same story when in the city. Despite its wide dimensions at 2,235 mm with its side mirrors, the Patrol Royale is easy to maneuver due to the light steering, large glass area and 360-degree Around View Monitor camera system. Things, however, can get quite sketchy when parking this behemoth because the Patrol Royale just about fits within the Philippine standard for parking lot sizes.
As you cruise down the financial districts of Metro Manila, people will be drawn towards the Patrol Royale’s elegantly-designed exterior. Others try to make their SUVs look sleeker and smaller, but the Patrol Royale embraces its “go big or go home” demeanor. There’s no hiding the fact that this is a large SUV with its wide V-motion chrome grille flanked by LED headlights, slab-sided side profile, and a squared-off rear fascia with likewise square-shaped LED taillights. Even the 20-inch wheels look quite small for the Patrol Royale.
The Patrol Royale’s interior has a regal vibe to it and enough soft-touch plastics, wood and leather to satisfy an oil tycoon. Impressively, I even managed to find soft-touch plastics under the dash and in the lower parts of the doors. This interior does not feel cheap at all and props to Nissan for doing such a nice interior.
What isn’t nice are some of the tech that constantly reminded me that this is a full-size SUV that was released globally back in 2010. For instance, the multi-information display uses the same dot-matrix technology found in calculators while the infotainment system is the older version of the Nissan Connect interface found in the new Terra and Navara. As a result, there’s no Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Still, the Patrol Royale’s cabin tech is miles better than that AVT-sourced crap that the Toyota Land Cruiser has.
Its exterior “huge-ness” is thankfully translated into its interior. Talking to the front passenger next to you feels like talking to a person from another zip code. The back seats are also very wide, more than enough for three adults seated abreast to avoid rubbing shoulders with each other. The third row was folded the entire trip, therefore, I am not able to give a thorough conclusion about its space. As for creature comforts, the front seats get both power adjustment as well as heating and ventilation, while those at the back are treated to a rear entertainment system with two 7-inch screens controlled via a remote. Wireless headphones are available and so is a crisp 13-speaker Bose sound system.
Just like the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Nissan Patrol was merely just a utilitarian but capable off-roader. Fast forward to 2019, and the Nissan Patrol now carries the Royale name for the Philippine market, and it rightfully deserves it. It’s still a capable off-roader that can take you to places other SUV would not dare to, but one that’s able to cocoon you in luxury and isolate you from the chaos of the outside world. It’s an SUV that can go anywhere with Royale-ty.
Patrol Royale – P3,888,000