Johannesburg - Nissan’s latest-generation Patrol was originally never earmarked for our market, having being launched abroad way back in 2010 while South Africa and other select markets got an updated version of the older version. But now well-heeled SUV buyers will be able to buy the latest version with the release of the sixth-generation model in South Africa this week.

This new Patrol takes a significant step upmarket as a larger and more sophisticated package, also sporting a whole suite of modern driver assistance gadgets, which we’ll get to in a moment. Oh, and technically this vehicle has been here before, albeit with different styling, in the form of the short-lived and controversially-styled Infiniti QX80.

Unlike the previous Patrol, which was offered with a choice between diesel and petrol power, this new 2.7-tonne hulk is available with just one petrol engine option in the form of a brawny 5.6-litre direct injection V8, credited with 298kW and 560Nm, and mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

It also comes with a version of Nissan’s All-Mode four-wheel-drive system with Auto, 4H and 4LO modes and an electronically controlled part-time transfer case. Under normal conditions the engine drives the rear wheels, but the system can direct up to half of the torque to the front wheels when road conditions warrant it. Hardcore off-roaders will be pleased to hear that the Patrol still sports a rear diff lock.

Moving inside, the Patrol offers room for seven passengers and there’s a long and indulgent list of standard amenities.

These include a touch-screen infotainment centre that includes 3D navigation and a 13-speaker Bose sound system, multi-screen DVD entertainment for rear occupants, a sunroof and dual-zone climate control with 'curtain' vents for rear occupants.

The front seats are eight-way power-adjustable as well as climate controlled - and the steering wheel is also heated.

Driver assistance features include blind-spot assist, forward collision alert with Intelligent Distance Control and Forward Collision Warning, active cruise control, drowsiness detection and Nissan’s Around View Monitor that uses five cameras to give drivers a 360-degree view.

The Patrol is offered in just one spec grade called the ‘Premium’ and it commands a premium of R1 299 000.

This includes a six-year/150 000km warranty and three-year/90 000km service plan.

The Patrol’s closest rival is the Toyota Land Cruiser 200, which sells for between R999 900 and R1 345 000, with both models powered by a 195kW/650Nm 4.5 V8 turbodiesel.

IOL Motoring