Nissan’s completed 10 years in India so they decided to celebrate this in the only way possible – a grand party featuring all their cars. What, you expected a Page 3 do with fashion designers in attendance? Sorry, that’s not how petrolheads roll...
So if you found yourself part of the Nissan Carnival festivities at the Buddh International Circuit, you got to see and drive Nissan’s lineup in India – the Sunny, the Micra, and the Terrano. But that’s not why we were so excited. Nope, the real reason is that we’d heard Nissan had flown down a couple of special guests.
Leafy Green Machine
From the outside, the Leaf looks just any other premium hatchback around. Get inside, and you find a very well-put-together cabin that looks and feels very, very good indeed. But it’s when you turn it on that you realise this isn’t just another hatch – it’s an electric car, one of those new-fangled upstarts that will eventually save our planet.
Out on the slalom course, the chunky steering offers plenty of feedback and since there’s no clunky gearbox or clattery diesel, the Leaf is surreally smooth to drive. But more than anything else, it’s the tech in the Leaf that makes it so interesting – You get all the torque right from 0 RPM, there’s a regenerative braking system just like you’d find in an F1 car, and you can use a smartphone app to plan out your route and turn on the air conditioning even before you get out of bed.
Nissan Patrol V8 4x4
You can’t miss the Patrol. Not even if it’s trying to hide behind a Himalayan range. It’s simply massive. Over 5 metres long, almost 2 metres wide and tall, and nearly nudging the 3 tonne mark on the weighing scale. But even with all the weight the Patrol has to cart around, it’s not slow. That’s it comes with what’s known amongst petrolheads as A Very Good Thing - A 5.6L V8 that pumps out 400 screaming horses, all of which Nissan says will drag the Patrol to the 100 km/h mark in around 6.6 seconds.
Inside, it’s a sea of wood and leather, all rather comfortable and inviting – and rather good at insulating you from what lies outside. Now, that’s critical, because the real point of a beefy 4x4 like the Patrol is its off-road capability.
King off the road
Bouncing around on the off-road section, you do realise what all the fuss is about. The V8 provides enough power to terrify small asteroids and there seems to be enough ground clearance to set up camp. Inching down steep inclines or powering up elephant-sized mounds of loose dirt, the Patrol seems nearly idiot proof. That’s not surprising, as this beast comes packed with the stuff 4x4 veterans go into raptures over - a Limited Slip Differential with a lockable rear differential. Backing all this up is plenty of technology – Hydraulic Body Motion Control, Active Brake Limited Slip, Hill Start Assist, and Hill Descent Control.
The Leaf and the Patrol might be as different as damp chalk and aged cheddar, but they’re both fun to drive. The Patrol, which just might see an Indian launch sometime, is an old-school brawler that has as much presence as a supertanker, while the Leaf is its hippie, tie-and-die wearing cousin that’s probably going to be the next startup billionaire. Can we just have both?