When the Nissan Patrol 4W60 was released in Japan in 1951 with its 75 HP bus engine, four wheel drive and folding windshield, it was unapologetically practical. The larger 4W70 was based on the American military Dodge M37. But like most cars that begin this way, it eventually started to move upmarket. Fortunately Nissan decided to keep producing a version for those of us that enjoy a simple work vehicle.
For those of you that are already disappointed at the fact that you can’t get a Patrol in the U.S, don’t be, because you can totally get one. Indeed, for the first time in ages you can get a Patrol without having to jump through hoops and without being afraid that one day Homeland Security will decide that your SUV represents a worse threat that IS and will come to crush it for great justice. However, there’s a catch.
You can get a Nissan Patrol in the U.S of course but it’ll be called Infiniti QX80. If you find the name nonsensical, it’s because it kinda is. Infiniti’s used to have a nice system going along where you had a letter and a number that was indicative of engine size. Now it’s more of an ambiguous scheme where all the names begin with Q for reasons only known to at-the-time CEO Johan de Nysschen, who has gone over to do the same thing at Cadillac.
To see why it’s badged as an Infiniti rather than a Patrol, you only need to look at the interior. This is a Patrol Brougham in every sense of the word. Look at that sumptuous leather covering every single part of the interior that’s not already covered in wood. Under the “Inspired by Buick” hood lives a 5.6L V8 making 400 Horsepower (Out of the NV3500 Bus, so at least some of the heritage is there). Prices start at $63,250. Clearly no longer a car aimed at U.N missions. But if you live in a place where the U.N actually does missions, Nissan will gladly sell you something a bit more…genuine Patrolish.
That’s more in the spirit of the Original. No Portholes to be seen here, no leather either unless you’re hauling some to be treated. Instead of Forward Collision Warning, you get dual fuel tanks. Instead of a 400HP V8, you get either a proven 4.8L inline-6 with 280HP or a 160HP 3.0 Turbo diesel. Not exactly autobahn performance but it’ll go on and on even if you are not particularly fond of those pesky service recommendations.
Having said that, it’s not entirely devoid of luxury. One of the options you can have is a cooler box in the center console. Just the thing to keep your Apollinaris nice and cold in the middle of the desert. It’s more of a necessity really. You can also get a stereo with Bluetooth compatibility and central locking if you want to. Availability of airbags is dependent on the market though, Australia gets one and the Middle East doesn’t. Then again, the Australian Patrol pickup begins at the equivalent of $51,000 USD and the Middle-East one doesn’t.
Also of note is the 6×6 version, the Patrol is a very popular vehicle in the Arab Emirates so something like this was really inevitable. Apart from the bragging factor six-wheel-drive vehicles have a plethora of uses in the dunes of the Middle East. So you can think of it as a sensible alternative to the decidedly not sensible at all Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. The extended bed is also useful for whatever you want to carry while jumping across the desert: Water, Camels, you name it. The source where I got the pictures from also mentioned a “six-wheel steer mechanism” but I haven’t got the faintest idea about how such a system would work.
There’s no telling how long things like this and the still-in-production 70-series Land Cruiser will last. There will always be a need for a rugged utilitarian vehicle. The question is whether they will just keep updating old designs until the end of time or come up with new vehicles that have practicality as their true purpose, rather than comfort or technological superiority. Either way, the hard-working buyers of these cars will end up winning.