The Nissan Patrol chassis cab was built for lightweight duties and features a rugged off road character enhanced by a capable all wheel drive system and the generous ground clearance. With a gross vehicle mass of up to 3400 kg, the vehicle is one of the most versatile chassis cab models available on today’s market and feels like home on any terrain, being able to deal effortless with river crossings, sand dunes or muddy construction sites.
The rear axle of the Nissan Patrol chassis cab can be equipped with either leaf suspensions or with coil springs.
Under the hood the vehicle is equipped with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine which has a maximum output of 160hp.
The Nissan Patrol chassis cab has a starting price of $50.000 and is available in two trim levels - the DX and the ST.
The Nissan Patrol Chassis Cab features a ladder-frame chassis, which gives it the tough character of a mountain horse. For enhanced off road performances, the vehicle received relatively low overhangs and a high ground clearance that can deal with almost whatever off-road situation is thrown at it. The big 16 inch wheels are also another proof of the off road nature of the truck and cope well with the flared wheel arches.
On the other hand, compared to the competition, the overall design still feels a bit dated, despite the countless exterior upgrades made by Nissan over the years.
The long nose is dominated by a chromed grille which is flanked by two rectangular headlights. Other significant exterior features include side steps and over fender flares for enhanced body protection. The generous rear deck will prove to be useful for a wide range of rugged missions as it can carry big loads without problems.
The utilitarian exterior is matched by a similarly rugged interior. The cabin comfort isn’t anything to rave about and it’s obvious that the design was sacrificed for functionality. The materials are almost as hard as a rock, while the metallic rear bulkhead is also visible and reminds you constantly about the utilitarian nature of the vehicle.
On the other hand, we are not talking about a luxurious passenger car and the lack of pleasant materials and attractive design lines won’t bother us that much. The Nissan Patrol puts practicality on the first place and it does it brilliantly well.
The utilitarian dashboard is fitted with a bunch of controls which are within easy reach and have a logical layout. The main buttons are also pretty big and are easy to use even with gloves.
Then there are the big seats, which even if they won’t feel as comfortable as a sofa, they’ll offer good support and are easy to climb in and out of. Moreover, they are wrapped in a special cloth that is easy to clean. The driving position is also pretty good and the tilt adjustable steering wheel enhances the comfort, while the generous windshield and the big door mirrors offer a great all round visibility.
The instrument cluster doesn’t have any special design, but is easy to read and is fitted with two main gauges and an additional central display which shows different information about the vehicle, but sadly it doesn’t record fuel economy.
As most vehicles in the segment, you also have plenty of storage places to deposit your things. Starting with the doors which are fitted with large bottle holders and finishing with the generous glove box, all storage places are positioned intuitively and are easy to find.
Engines and performance
The Nissan Patrol chassis cab is available with a single engine option. Under the hood there is the capable 3.0 litre diesel that offers plenty of punch and can deal with generous payloads without thinking twice.
The clutch feels a bit heavy, but it offers a clean take off. The engine develops 160 hp @ 3200 rpm with 380 Nm @ 2000 rpm of torque and even if it’s not the most powerful unit in the segment it offers satisfactory performances. It has a healthy acceleration on the sharp inclines and scrubs off speed with determination even when is fully loaded. The engine is also pretty smooth and quiet and the cabin is pretty well isolated keeping the wind noise and engine vibrations outside.
There is no automatic transmission available and the 3.0 liter diesel is mated on a 5 speed manual gearbox which is a bit hard to use and feels kind of jerky compared with other units in the segment.
Ride and handling
The Nissan Patrol chassis cab is available with either leaf suspensions or coil springs. As you’ve probably expected the ride is on the bumpy side even with the coil spring configuration and the vehicle also comes with a relatively big body roll. On the other hand, things will start to get better if you add some load at the back.
The Patrol’s power steering however, is among the best in the segment and the steering wheel has a nice sense of weight and offers you adequate feedback without feeling overly light.
The ventilated disc brakes aren’t something to rave about and they lack that strong bite typical to Ford trucks, but they’ll do their job with dignity.
However, the off road terrain is the true “natural environment” of the Nissan Patrol chassis cab and here the vehicle offers extraordinary performances climbing over rocks with ease and attacking the toughest terrains with poise.
The Nissan Patrol Chassis cab is a dinosaur among the other trucks in the segment, and we don’t say this in the good way. Its exterior design is fairly rugged and copes well with its utilitarian nature, but it feels dated. The interior is also far behind its competitors in terms of design and features, but at least is very practical and spacious.
Even if the engines can deal with almost anything you’ll asked from them, they are pretty weak and you’ll find stronger units at the other trucks in the segment.
Leaving the bumpy ride behind, the main strengths of the Nissan Patrol chassis cab remain its engaging steering and the excellent off road abilities.
Video: Nissan Patrol Chassis Cab Crush Test