2011 Nissan Patrol SUV Officially Revealed, More Upscale and with New 400HP V8

The brand-new, seventh generation of the Nissan Patrol had its world premiere in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The Japanese firm claims that the 2011 model year of its Toyota Land Cruiser rival builds on its history as one of the most capable 4x4s in the market adding a more modern design, enhanced interior comfort and luxury as well as a more powerful V8 powerplant to the equation.

Nissan's product design director, Taiji Toyota (how ironic...), tells us that the Patrol's all-new exterior design, which was previewed by the 2006 Terranaut Concept, is less rugged and more upscale.

"Not as edgy and hardcore as its predecessor, the softer new surfaces are beautiful and add a sense of modernity to the design equation, while still maintaining a ruggedness and commanding road presence" he said.

In similar fashion, the new Patrol's interior is a much more luxurious place to be with the company claiming that since most customers spend less than 15% of the time off-road, it wanted to create "a better, higher quality interior for the whole family".

That translates to a more premium design with generous amounts of leather, polished aluminum and wood grain paneling as well as a bevy of luxury features such as a new multi-screen DVD entertainment system with two rear-facing 7-inch screens embedded into each front seat headrest.

Furthermore, Nissan says that it has improved passenger space with the 2011 Patrol offering over 100mm more legroom for second row passengers, and a roomier third row of seats as well.

The latest generation Patrol is built on a new platform and is offered with a new and more powerful 5.6-litre V8 engine that replaces the previous model's 4.8-liter V8. Featuring direct injection technology, the new V8 produces 400hp and 550Nm of torque. Nissan did not disclose any details on any other future powerplant offerings for the Patrol.

The 5.6-liter V8 engine is linked to a new 7-speed automatic transmission and an upgraded 4WD system that incorporates a variable 4x4 mode package allowing the driver to quickly switch between four drive modes: sand, on-road, snow and rock.

The 2011 Patrol gets a new suspension setup that now employs 4-wheel independent suspension, upgraded from the previous rigid axle setup, while Nissan also equipped the SUV with a Hydraulic Body Motion Control System (HBMC), which is said to reduce body roll during lane-changing and cornering.

Other highlights include the new Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control and a revised brake system with new hydraulic brake booster and a 4-piston opposed front caliper setup with larger 358mm front discs.

While the new Patrol will form the base for the 2011 Infiniti QX (see here) - due for launch in North America towards the end of the year or in early 2011- it remains to be seen if Nissan's luxury SUV makes it on this side of the Atlantic.