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Nissan SUV Heritage

Nissan SUV Heritage

Snapshot: Nissan invited us to Dubai to sample some of their finest SUVs, some of which are India bound early next year.

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Patrol, Pathfinder and X-Trail - These aren’t names of some fancy NASA space research satellites but some of Nissan’s popular SUVs imprinting their mark all over the world. Few people are aware of the company’s rich SUV heritage across the globe but we expect that to change soon with the arrival of their compact crossover Kicks. We sampled the car on the streets of Dubai recently to find out if it is a genuine contender in this cut-throat segment or you should go ahead and buy the Brezza or EcoSport instead! But comparison of these cars is another story that you can check out in the “Reviews” section.

In India, few people are aware of Nissan’s strong SUV heritage. Sure, some of us born in the 1970’s and 80’s would surely recall seeing the Jonga SUV as a part of many army convoys but apart from that, only a few appreciate Nissan as the maker of world-class SUVs.

The truth is that the carmaker has a long and exhaustive range that includes some of the most successful global SUVs. From the compact and cute Qashqai crossover to the big and bulky Patrol, there is an SUV to fit the size requirements of every buyer.

Nissan invited us over to Dubai to examine their SUV range. We also managed to try out the Kicks compact crossover that will head to India in early 2019. Here’s a summary of what we sampled.

Nissan Patrol V8

In a country that has the lowest fuel prices across the globe, the big, bulky and very macho Patrol is a huge seller. The Patrol is sold with a petrol engine with V6 and V8 options. The SUV is doing very well in the Middle East and not without a reason. We sampled the bigger V8-engined car and if we had to describe the performance in one word, it would be “effortless.” With the brilliant infrastructure and well-paved roads, the Patrol is a phenomenal performer in this region. The 5.6-litre petrol motor pumps out 400 bhp of raw power, enough to move a mountain or simply pull a train.

In fact, the Patrol has actually pulled a full-size jetliner aircraft without any reinforcements made to its chassis or engine unit.

We even went sand dune bashing with the Patrol. It’s hard to imagine any other big and bulky SUV that could have done this so easily. The driver of our car, in fact, confessed that the Patrol is by far the best SUV that he has driven. The SUV not only is easy to drive but also has top-class reliability, he claimed. It really is a cool cat. Though Nissan doesn’t have any immediate plans to bring this car to India anytime soon, chances are that fully built-up units could arrive by the end of 2019. But at Rs. 1.20 Crore (estimated ex-showroom, New Delhi) it won’t be cheap in the least.

Nissan Pathfinder

After the big, bulky and powerful Patrol, we sampled the comparatively compact Pathfinder. The 3.5-litre V6 motor makes 271 bhp of power on this car and you can choose between the 2-wheel and all-wheel drive versions. The Pathfinder is more of an urban SUV with light controls and a relaxing ride. Ample cabin space and generous quality levels should make it endearing against the rivals. We drove on mostly flat highway roads, so it’s a bit difficult to gauge the overall suspension set-up. But whatever little bit of patchwork roads we encountered, the car took them on adroitly. The steering, though accurate for the most part, felt a bit disconnected from the dead centre position. Even then, the Pathfinder, with its unique name, has plenty of charm to sway buyers into Nissan showrooms, if and when Nissan decides to bring it to India.

The Nissan Kicks, which we drove for the longest, has been reviewed in detail in our “Reviews” section.

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