2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior review: Australian first drive
Nissan takes the already capable Patrol 4WD wagon and adds $16K in off-road modifications and upgrades to make its toughest factory four-wheel-drive wagon ever. Glenn Butler test-drives it on Tasmania's toughest track.
- Heightened off-road ability
- Effortless V8 performance
- Looks tougher outside, nicer inside
- Dated infotainment
- Safety standards falling behind
- V8 performance equals big thirst
2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior
This is what happens when you send the already capable Nissan Patrol large 4WD to off-road finishing school.
This is the Nissan Patrol Warrior. At $101,160 plus on-road costs, it’s the most expensive variant in the current Patrol range. But it's not a luxury play. Instead, the extra money brings greater off-road ability and extra toughness both visually and in terms of performance.
So, how tough is it? Drive has come to Climies Track deep in the Tasmanian wilderness to find out.
How much does the Nissan Patrol Warrior cost in Australia?
The Nissan Patrol Warrior was developed in conjunction with Premcar, the same mob that developed the Warrior versions of the Nissan Navara 4x4 dual-cab ute.
Premcar, if you don't know, rose from the ashes of Ford Performance Vehicles, so it has been making good vehicles even better for almost three decades.
The Patrol Warrior is about $3500 more than the previous Patrol range-topper, the Ti-L.
But Premcar chose the more affordable Ti as a base for the Warrior. The regular Ti is priced at $84,900, which makes the Warrior $16,000 dearer.
So, what does that $16K bring in terms of tangible improvement?
Nissan says the Warrior upgrades are designed to provide a more aggressive appearance and improve its capabilities – not just off-road but also on-road. Changes have been made to the tyres, wheels, suspension and exhaust.
The exterior changes to the Nissan Patrol Warrior are not as bold as the Nissan Navara Warrior ute, and there's no bull bar because the current Nissan Patrol range doesn't offer one.
There's a red Warrior-branded front bash plate, black wheel-arch flares, black mirror caps and grille trim, Warrior side decals and badges, and a black insert in the rear bumper.
New-design 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama Geolandar G015 295/70 R18 all-terrain tyres measure 34.4 inches – some of the largest on any new vehicle sold in Australia. The tow bar has been modified to allow the Warrior to carry a full-size spare tyre under the boot.
Overall, Premcar's Warrior modifications increase the dimensions of the Patrol, making it an even bigger vehicle to drive. It is 94mm longer, 84mm wider and 50mm taller. It is also 72kg heavier, weighing in at 2884kg. In good news, the Warrior's carrying capacity is improved. The vehicle's GVM is now 3620kg, which is 120kg more than the Ti. Once you subtract the vehicle's 72kg heavier kerb weight, this means you can carry an extra 48kg inside.
Features shared with the Ti model include dusk-sensing headlights, leather-accented upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, six-speaker sound system, front and rear parking sensors, and autonomous emergency braking.
How much space does the Nissan Patrol Warrior have inside?
If you need a big 4WD to cart your family in comfort, you could do a lot worse than the Nissan Patrol. Big external dimensions translate into loads of interior space in all three rows, although the third row is the least comfortable for adults.
Because the Patrol Warrior is based on the Patrol Ti it has eight seats in 2-3-3 configuration, not seven seats (2-3-2) like the Patrol Ti-L.
The front seats are like lounge chairs and offer excellent visibility. For me, the driver’s seat sits too high. I prefer to sit a bit lower, but that aside, it's an excellent cabin on short and long road trips.
It’s worth noting that the Patrol’s cabin is very well insulated, which keeps outside noises outside, and trimmed beautifully to rival more expensive luxury vehicles.
The Warrior interior enhancements are minimal but make an impact. The garish woodgrain on lower surfaces has been replaced with black inlays while black Alcantara on the doors and dashboard – the latter with Warrior branding – makes this a more cohesive and classy cabin for my money.
The second row is generously proportioned, which means adults won’t struggle for head or leg room. There's also plenty of room behind the second row, so if you're touring five-up, luggage space is not an issue.
You get storage everywhere throughout the cabin, too, with a huge centre console bin, sunglasses holder, cupholders, and sizeable door pockets. Move into the back seat and you've got more USB ports and cupholders, as well as a centre armrest.
The third row has enough space for tall teenagers, but not for super-long road trips. Ti, as tested here, provides for three across the rear bench. Folding and unfolding the third row is best reserved for adults.
Perhaps the hardest thing about living with the Patrol is the climb up onto the vehicle, and the Warrior’s 50mm ride height increase has made this even steeper. Side steps help, as do grab handles. If you have a young family, then loading Junior into a car seat is definitely more challenging, unless you’re a professional basketballer.
The Patrol’s doors open to almost 90 degrees, which makes it a little easier to get humans and cargo in and out.
|2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior|
|Boot volume||467L to third row|
1413L to second row
2623L to first row
Does the Nissan Patrol Warrior have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
One area Premcar had no control over is the infotainment system, and that’s a shame because this is where the big Patrol’s age is most obvious. The outdated 8.0-inch in-dash display is touchscreen, but it lacks a lot of the modern must-haves like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and DAB digital radio.
That’s even more disappointing when you realise those features are fitted to Patrols in other markets, along with a more modern central entertainment stack. For some reason, Nissan Australia has not bothered to bring that update to our market.
But hey, you do get a CD player with MP3 compatibility; something that has gone the way of the Dodo on younger vehicles.
Bluetooth compatibility is baked in, as is a proprietary satellite navigation system.
The sound system has a decent sound quality, and the screen’s graphics – while looking dated – are easy to understand and interact with.
Up front, there’s a 12-volt outlet and a pair of USB-A ports, plus a second 12-volt outlet under the centre armrest.
Is the Nissan Patrol Warrior a safe car?
The Y62 Nissan Patrol on which the Warrior is based has not been crash-tested by the ANCAP independent safety authority, so we don’t know if it is a five-star car or not. Given the Y62 is in the twilight of its life – a Y63 Patrol is expected within the next two years – this is unlikely to change, leaving buyers to guess at whether the Patrol is the best large 4WD when it comes to protecting their family in the event of a collision.
Nissan equips the Patrol with dual front airbags and curtain airbags that cover all three rows. There is no front-centre airbag to prevent front-seat head clashes, nor is there a driver’s knee airbag – both of which are included in the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series’s safety kit. The LandCruiser also has a five-star ANCAP rating.
|2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior|
What safety technology does the Nissan Patrol Warrior have?
The Patrol Warrior’s active safety equipment levels mirror the Patrol Ti, which means it has autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. This is a decent level of active safety support, but it’s falling behind the times, given there are much cheaper SUVs that offer more advanced versions of those systems.
How much does the Nissan Patrol Warrior cost to maintain?
Nissan says the Patrol Ti on which the Warrior is based, and all of Premcar’s Warrior enhancements, are covered by a factory-backed five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Service intervals remain unchanged at 12 months and 10,000km, the latter of which is a touch stingy. The costs of the first five services are $452, $581, $559, $916 and $509, making it $3017 for five years and 50,000km.
Service six is $741, which is relevant in a five-year timeframe based on the national average of 12,000km per year.
The annual comprehensive insurance premium on the Patrol Warrior is an unknown at the time of writing because our sample insurance provider is yet to add the vehicle to its database. An indicative quote for the Patrol Ti comes in at $2909.14 and the Patrol Ti-L is quoted at $3251.60. This suggests that the Patrol Warrior is likely to carry a similar insurance premium.
All quotes assume market value rather than agreed value and are for a 35-year-old male living in Chatswood, NSW, with a clean driving record who garages the vehicles at night. Your quote may differ depending on your individual circumstances.
|At a glance||2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior|
|Warranty||Five years, unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 10,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1592 (3 years, 30,000km)|
$3017 (5 years, 50,000km)
$3758 (5 years, 60,000km)
Is the Nissan Patrol Warrior fuel-efficient?
The Nissan Patrol large 4WD is not a vehicle you buy to maximise your fuel mileage. The 5.6-litre V8 is rated at 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres against the ADR81/01 mandatory laboratory test. In real-world driving, we’ve recorded 16.2L/100km in previous tests.
For this launch drive we saw 21L/100km on the notoriously tough Climies Track outside of Strahan in south-western Tasmania. The road drive from there up to Cradle Mountain brought that average down to 17.8L/100km. One further run from Cradle Mountain to Devonport delivered a purely on-road average of 15.2L/100km.
Overall, our fuel use averaged out at 17.3L/100km.
Fuel Consumption - brought to you by bp
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||14.4L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||17.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||140L|
What is the Nissan Patrol Warrior like to drive?
Let’s start with powertrain changes. The Patrol's 5.6-litre V8 engine makes the same 298kW and 560Nm as before and works in concert with a seven-speed automatic and heavy-duty full-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case.
In other words, nothing new there.
Well, one thing. The Patrol Warrior gets a second exhaust pipe. Cool, right? It actually is, because this second exhaust, which exits out the side of the vehicle, gives the V8 Patrol a very pleasing Nascar-like V8 growl under acceleration.
Even though it doesn’t bring any more power or torque, or change the Patrol’s in-gear performance, it makes the Patrol a more evocative and rewarding vehicle to drive. The system is not intrusive, however. If you’re gentle on the throttle, the Patrol Warrior burbles quietly like a refined prestige vehicle. If you get aggressive with the throttle or put the transmission into manual mode, you get the V8 growl. Win-win.
Next, the Patrol's Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC) suspension system has come in for some attention. Premcar tweaked it to handle the Patrol’s higher ride height and higher centre of gravity, and keep the Patrol commendably flat and stable in bends.
If you’re not familiar with HBMC, it is a hydraulic system that replaces swaybars to help a vehicle resist body roll in bends and corners. The problem with swaybars on 4WDs is that they compromise off-road performance by reducing wheel travel. So, finding a system that both allows long wheel travel off-road while keeping wheels tightly controlled on-road is not easy.
HBMC does this, and it does it very well.
In addition, Premcar installed firmer front springs, softer triple-rate rear springs, progressive-rate rear bump stops and retuned dampers, which all combine to give the Warrior greater off-road skills while also moderately improving on-road performance.
Then there are the big 34-inch Yokohama all-terrain tyres I mentioned earlier. All up, Nissan quotes a total body lift of 50mm compared to the Patrol Ti – 29mm is from the new suspension, and 21mm from the larger tyres.
The front and rear tracks are said to be 40mm wider for a broader footprint, which again helps on– and off-road performance. Approach and departure angles are up, too, 40 degrees and 23 degrees respectively. The latter takes the tow bar into account, which has been redesigned to fit the spare tyre beneath.
The Patrol is still a wonderfully stable and luxurious vehicle to drive everyday. Premcar’s modifications have not changed that. The Patrol still sits commendably flat around corners – despite a 50mm increase in ride height. It floats over rougher roads with aplomb, and handles bitumen ruts, expansion joints, speed bumps and all other road rubbish without unduly ruffling occupants’ feathers.
Off-road, the Warrior’s uprated suspension really comes into its own. This vehicle has the wheel travel, the suspension control and the four-wheel traction to cover seriously rugged terrain. Rocks, mud, sand, you name it. The Patrol Warrior is now one of the most capable three-row 4WDs on sale today.
My biggest gripe with driving the Patrol is the transmission. It’s a smooth-shifting ’box, which is good, but it needs to be more responsive on inclines and to increased throttle pressure. Seven speeds aren’t worth much if it’s not willing to let you use them all when you need them.
The transmission is also an obstacle at times in really tough off-roading. We noticed that, when in low-range and travelling down steep hills, it would refuse to change from first to second (or second to third) unless we had some throttle applied.
|Key details||2023 Nissan Patrol Warrior|
|Engine||5.6-litre V8 petrol|
|Power||298kW @ 5800rpm|
|Torque||560Nm @ 4000rpm|
|Drive type||Four-wheel drive|
|Transmission||7-speed torque converter automatic|
|Spare tyre type||Full-size|
|Tow rating||3500kg braked|
Should I buy a Nissan Patrol Warrior?
If your family likes adventuring beyond the blacktop, but needs a comfortable and roomy steed that handles daily needs as well, then look no further. The Patrol Warrior is a commensurate off-roader with the skills to make every drive easy.
The Patrol Warrior’s only weaknesses are an ageing infotainment system and safety suite, and the fuel thirst that comes with a big-capacity V8.
How do I buy a Nissan Patrol Warrior – next steps?
Nissan is holding a number of orders for the Patrol Warrior already, but our intel says anyone who places an order in September or early October is likely to get their car in time for Christmas. Nissan expects wait times will come down in the new year once Premcar’s Warrior production line hits top speed.
It’s always possible that you’ll find one at a Nissan dealer, so start with Nissan’s ‘find-a-dealer’ facility on its website. You could also look in Drive’s classifieds to find Nissan Patrol stock in dealers right now.
If you want to stay updated with everything that's happened to this car since our review, you'll find all the latest news here.