2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE Review Philippines: Huge is the first word that comes to mind when you first see the 2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE, but there’s more to this SUV than just its size. Its posh interior, powerful V8 engine, and surprisingly agile handling make it one of the best large SUVs in the Philippine market today – its fuel economy notwithstanding.
- The nicest interior you’ll see in an SUV
- Powerful V8 engine
- Comes with an abundance of tech and driver assists
- Can fit a family of 7 comfortably
- Horrible gas mileage
- Some dated styling cues
Every year I find a way to torture test a car during the holiday break, and this year I may have gone overboard. Nissan lent us their 2023 Patrol Royale LE to play with, and I decided for some reason to take it up north past Tugegarao City to Santa Ana, Cagayan to see if this massive brute can handle the best and worst roads that the Philippines has. The 12-hour, 626 km drive (one way) isn’t a trip to be taken lightly, but since I was driving Nissan’s very best SUV, I wasn’t really worried.
2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE Review: Design
One thing about the 2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE that’s obvious the minute you lay your eyes on it is just how big it is. It’s really hard to convey in pictures just how massive Nissan’s flagship SUV is, but it is gargantuan. Other SUVs look like crossovers in comparison when parked next to it.
That size is both a blessing and a curse. Sedans, motorcycles, and other SUVs gave me a wide berth on the road, as no one wanted to find out who would win in a low-speed collision with me (hint: not them). On the other hand, the Patrol’s size meant that I had to be extra cautious when looking for parking spaces and had to keep a close lookout for low overhangs, which stopped me from parking it in my normal slot in my apartment building (I had to find alternate parking while I had the car with me).
You’re not completely left to your own devices though. Nissan Intelligent Mobility features include four cameras scattered around the Patrol’s chassis that cover all of the blindspots around you. Multiple proximity sensors tell you exactly how close those kamotes are to you so you don’t inadvertently squish their dumb butts because they wandered into your blind spot. And while you technically have a blind spot near the bumper because of how high you sit the long hood, proximity sensors and a front camera negates that problem entirely.
2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE Review: Interior
While passenger comfort is the thing that most buyers of the 2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE would be concerned about, driving this behemoth was incredibly comfortable. Both the driver and passenger seats up front are electronically controlled, with independent climate control systems for both driver, passenger, and rear occupants. Driving for 12 hours straight isn’t something that any sane person should do, but if for some reason you decide to do the same thing I did your back isn’t going to get wrecked at the end of the trip if you’re in this behemoth.
My wife was my primary passenger during the ride, and she told me that she’d never been in a seat as comfortable as the one in the Patrol. All of the creature comforts made for a comfortable ride for her, despite driving 12 hours straight to our destination. The interior reflects the flagship status of the Patrol. There’s leather and wood grain everywhere, and the styling is nice enough that even a Sheik would approve. And if it wasn’t obvious already, there’s plenty of space inside. If you somehow need to carry all of your worldly possessions all at once, all of the rear seats can fold down producing a total of 2,623 liters of space.
There’s a massive 12.3-inch, split-screen display up front that you can plug either your iPhone or Android device into. Nissan provides two USB ports (one is Type-C and the other is Type-A) to interface with the infotainment system via Android Auto or CarPlay. There’s also a Qi-certified wireless charger available here as well. The infotainment system has its GPS, though its map isn’t as complete as what Google offers so you’ll be plugged in to either Google Maps or Waze most of the time.
2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE Review: Driving Impressions
The 2023 Patrol Royale LE is very easy to drive for such a large vehicle. The light steering makes cruising in Manila traffic easy, and hydraulic body motion control makes going over the occasional bump a non-issue. We had to drive through a bunch of roads that were under construction up north on the way to Tugegarao and it was very surprising how well the two hydraulic systems in the 2023 Patrol Royale LE’s handled them. I could barely feel the bumps when I drove through them, and I’m pretty sure that you could drive through rough terrain at a higher speed than most SUVs without upsetting your passengers thanks to the stabilization system.
Nissan has spared no expense in making their 2023 Patrol Royale LE as safe as possible when it comes to driver assistance. Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention that’s part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility is a particularly useful one for a vehicle of this size. It nudges you in the right direction via gentle corrective steering force when it detects an object in your blind spot when you don’t signal.
There’s also an intelligent Lane Departure Warning with Lane Intervention, which sends the driver a clear visual alert via LEDs embedded in the A-pillar near the side mirrors if they’re moving away from the correct lane if they don’t signal. Continue on that path and the vehicle gently taps the brakes to let you know you’ve strayed on your lane, which is enough to encourage most drivers to move back.
Driving for hours on going north is monotonous, boring, and frankly terrifying, in parts, but the tech 2023 Patrol Royale LE helped quite a lot during the drive. The 5.6-liter V8 certainly helped this huge SUV get going, and thanks to its under 7 second 0 to 100KM acceleration it had no problems overtaking huge, lumbering trucks in the Cagayan Valley roads that seemed to forget that slow vehicles should stay under the left side. The Patrol is also an off-road thoroughbred and has several 4×4 modes to traverse even the sketchiest piece of road without any problems.
When I wasn’t overtaking slow trucks, the Patrol’s Adaptive Cruise control came in handy during long, boring stretches of highway. You simply turn it on, decide on a speed, and rest your right foot. You can set how far you want to be from other vehicles as far as distance goes, and if the car in front of you slows down, the Patrol slows down with it to match, and goes back to your desired speed once it’s able to. In situations where a vehicle suddenly decelerates or stops in front of you, the Patrol’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system lets you know right away. It will automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a frontal collision.
No vehicle is perfect, and the 2023 Patrol Royale LE is no different. The biggest con here if it wasn’t obvious already is just how thirsty this thing is. This isn’t my first time driving a vehicle with a V8 in it, and while I had an idea of what kind of mileage I would get with it, I was still in shock to find out what our bill was when we filled the massive 140 liter (not a typo) tank back up to full with premium gasoline when we got to our destination.
With regular driving (some overtakes, going over mountain roads, and plenty of highway use) we got 6.3 liters per kilometer from the V8 engine. That’s with a lot of Adaptive Cruise Control used to try and conserve gas. There was still almost a quarter of fuel left in the tank when we topped up, which resulted in a Php 6,236 fuel bill at around Php 58.46 per liter at the pump. Ouch.
2023 Nissan Patrol Royale LE Review: wrap-up and verdict
Then again, people who can realistically afford the 2023 Patrol Royale LE’s Php 4,698,000 price tag aren’t too concerned about gas prices at their local pump. They’re more concerned about safety, power, carrying space, and ride comfort. And the 2023 Patrol Royale LE knocks all of those concerns out of the park.