Have you ever had those long weeks where you are just waiting for the weekend? I was having such a moment on a Tuesday when I was asked to join a team of drivers the following day to test drive the 2014 Nissan Patrol 5.6L (Sixth Generation Y62 Chassis). This was the adventure I was waiting for.
Come Wednesday, I got to The Tribe Hotel by 7.45am. The drive was to commence from the hotel to the Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf resort then proceed to Eburru Forest in Ol Doinyo Eburru to test the capabilities of this new machine on a rough terrain.
The Nissan brand wants to strengthen its brand in this region, but I had a feeling that they just wanted to announce to its clients that it is no longer with DT Dobie but with Crown Motors Group Ltd.
After the briefing, the drivers were introduced to the Nissan team and it was great to see our finest motorsport champ Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo winner of several rallies in Kenya.
At 9. 15am, we left the hotel in an 8 car convoy. The ride had began.
First thing I noticed was the smooth interior. The great smell of leather or was it pleather. The controls were made for a driver who enjoys comfortable driving. From Bluetooth capabilities, instrument panel to keep the driver updated on the car’s functionalities to a freezer to cool drinks that can be accessed from the back seat and from the front. It is a very spacious car and can fit up to 8 people. It’s an ideal car for a road trip with friends and family. The second row has two 7” multi-screen entertainment system to entertain the passengers at the back. It can also connect to an iPod, a DVD player or a game. Since we did not have our headphones, we did not make use of that feature.
When we got to the highway, one thing I noticed is that the car picks speed effortlessly as soon as you accelerate. The engine produces an electrifying sound when it picks speed unfortunately, only the people in the car can hear the music of the engine.
Another thing I appreciate about the Nissan is the stability. At corners, it maintains flat riding as though you were on a straight road so you can imagine how the overtake was smooth for the passengers.
Within 40 minutes, we got to the Great Rift Valley Lodge, had a quick lunch and flagged off to the Eburru Forest, just 10km from the lodge. Now this is where the rough terrain starts.
The car has variable 4×4 mode control where you can switch from mud, rock, sand or off road. Through the rough road, the car maintained its stability and comfort and funny thing, the passengers kept wondering ‘what rough road’ . We did an easy 90km/h on a rough road. That was exciting.
The forest was the perfect place to test the Patrol’s capabilities, as it has a rough terrain and small hills and valleys. The Nissan Patrol is climbable at 45 degrees up the hill and down the hill. This means that you can only see the road using the navigation display monitor because if you look at the windscreen, all you will see is the sky. It was that scary.
The drive round the hills was superb and this is where I really appreciated its stability, control and power. The car is capable of inclining up t0 48.5 degrees. This felt like the car would tilt and topple down the hill, but the Patrol remained steady going round the hills. Down the hill, what amazed me is that the driver does not have to have his foot on the brakes or the acceleration. The Hill Descent Control (HDC) assist the driver downhill at a very descent speed and the driver is left controlling the car.
The Hill Start Assist (HSA) a feature that also impressed me. The technology is made in such a way that on a steep hill, the car does not move back when the driver starts to accelerate. HSA applies pressure on the breaks so the car continues with the grip even as the driver releases the brakes. That to me was the icing on the cake because it means that as a driver, you are secure in whatever condition you are driving in.
After an hour of the drive in the forest, it was time to head back to the city. The ride back was smooth. I was worried about the fuel back but we got back with no hitches. When it comes to fuel, the car can consume, so be ready for that.
Generally, the Nissan Patrol 5.6L is a combination of style, comfort and adventure. It is smooth on the tarmac and a workhorse on the offroad. They call it ‘King of the Off-Road’ and I believe them.
At a Price of 16M, the Nissan Patrol is targeting Range Rover clients and Centum employees. I hope to move from my reasonably priced Nissan to the Nissan Patrol 5.6L someday.