#CarNews: Nissan Patrol test drive in Kenya’s Eburu Mau forest

Nissan Kenya


By Dannish Odongo


To small bodied drivers like me, the Nissan Patrol LE 5.6L 2014 7-speed automatic model, can look a bit intimidating due to its sheer size. The weight of its moniker ‘The Beast,’ fully settled in when we were ushered into Tribe Hotel’s parking lot. But all those fears were firmly put to bed once I sat behind the wheel and took it for a drive.

The Nissan Patrol’s acceleration, handling and braking is akin to that of a small car and not of a large 8 seater SUV which weighs well over 2 tonnes.  The result was that it gave me a jab of confidence but as I continued with my journey. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that such a large car would be slow off the mark but Nissan addressed that ‘potential problem’ with a 5.6 litre V8 producing 400 horse power and 560 Newton Metres of torque (in the Nissan Patrol Y62) that will literally flood your body with adrenaline when you are driving out on an open country road.

Overtaking and joining highways is child’s play because the power of the Nissan Patrol is always there on demand at any moment with minimal lag any time you need it. It maneuvers through rough terrain like the king it is. The tire alone can pay dowry and cover honeymoon costs. This car is a preserve of people who believe in getting the very best out of this life. When you are done spending 16M shillings only, the value you get will far outweigh the dent in your pocket.

The rough unforgiving terrain of the Mau Eburu ecosystem was the destination of our test drive. On our way to Eburu Mau forest (Which means mountain of smoke in Maasai), we passed Eburu secondary school formerly known as happy valley, and for a moment, the colonial Kenya met face to face with the ‘beast’ which is a piece of innovation that excites. The acacia trees and the gravel that surrounds Mau Eburu ecosystem bowed in honor of the king as it subdued nature.

The engine on this car really pays dividends off the road taking on steep inclines with a surprising amount of ease. Its rear locking differential and the declines are even easier to tackle with its Hill Descent Control allowing the driver to just focus on steering as the system monitors the vehicle’s descent. Although it does not have adjustable air suspension, its clearance is more than sufficient to take on any obstacles you might come across while off the road. The vehicle’s 360 degree view camera and the parking sensors make off-roading and parking this large vehicle much easier than what it would otherwise be.

What I fell in love with most is the excellent interior that is built with one purpose in mind, passenger and driver comfort. The extremely spacious, soft leather seats would sometimes deceive you that you are in a VIP lounge and make it ideal for fatigue free long distance driving. The superior suspension cushions you from any effect of potholes on the road. It takes on corners with an insignificant degree of body lean which enables the driver and passengers to go round corners at high speed.

The interior of the vehicle has several touches of luxury such as the heated and cooled front seats, the wood appointments running from the driver’s door past the centre console to the passenger’s door, the dual screen rear entertainment system with wireless headphones, the dual zone climate control, a refrigerator ‘cool box’ which is large enough to hold 6 500ml water bottles – the list goes on.

The Nissan Patrol is a true luxury SUV with serious off-road credibility because as they say, driving should not be torturous.

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