Toyota Land Cruiser GR Vs. Nissan Patrol Nismo
Two highly exclusive full-size Japanese SUVs, that have been given the high-performance treatment, and here's how they stack up
Toyota has been on a roll lately with the release of a lot of new models in its lineup. Since 2020, the GR performance division has released some of the most exciting road cars starting with the new Supra. Next, they gave us the GR Yaris, 86, and Corolla which are all high-performance versions of their regular cars. Now, they’ve added an SUV to that lineup.
After 14 years, Toyota decided to give the world a new Land Cruiser in 2021. But instead of getting TRD parts like its other Trucks and SUVs, they decided to give it the sporty GR Treatm ent. This is quite unusual for Toyota with such a big SUV, but there’s another manufacturer of something similar.
Nissan has never offered its Patrol SUV in North America, alternative versions like the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 are sold instead. Nissan’s Motorsport division has been giving us performance cars since the ’90s in the form of the Nismo Z and GTR. The Patrol has also received the Nismo treatment with special upgrades to enhance its performance. But being based on an older vehicle, is it good enough to beat the new Land Cruiser GR?
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The Toyota Land Cruiser GR sport is based on the new 300 series with the new TNGA Platform. This means it gets everything the regular Land Cruiser has but with some exterior upgrades. It has a more aggressive front end with a new grill design with white Toyota lettering across and a small GR badge. The lower part is now black instead of body color with a skid plate for protection.
The side profile reveals an unchanged vehicle but with new 18-inch alloy wheels and a small GR badge on the front fender. Just like the lower front bumper, the lower body trim, mirrors, door handles, and window trim are also black. At the rear, the Land Cruiser lettering is black along with parts of the lower bumper with a small GR badge. This is not a full-blown GR but a GR sport, it is more of an appearance package meant to enhance its off-road looks.
The Nissan Patrol is based on a much older model that's been around since 2010, so it is not a new vehicle. The first Nismo Patrol was introduced in 2018, but the current Nismo Patrol is based on the 2020 facelift model. Which has new C-shaped LED headlights and LED lights at the rear with new front and rear bumper designs. But the Nismo gets very aggressive styling and bodywork.
The V-motion grille gets a new black design with a similar design on the lower bumper with a Nismo badge. It gets slimmer air vents closer to the sides, with the fog lights moved to the bottom of the bumper. The bumper also gets a new aggressive aerodynamic splitter similar to other Nismo products.
The Patrol is already a wide vehicle but the Nismo still gets extra body-colored cladding on the wheel arches. It has newly redesigned side vents with red touches and a V-8 badge. The side steps now merge with the body cladding with red pinstripes that run the length of the vehicle. The stripes are on the front bumper, rear bumper, and black mirrors, it also gets huge 22-inch wheels with Nismo etching.
At the rear, it gets a bigger rear spoiler and a very aggressive bumper with a middle F1-inspired LED light. This is a much bigger vehicle than the GR Land Cruiser and the extensive changes make it more imposing. Nissan states that every changed part improves the aerodynamic efficiency of the vehicle. But the pronounced exhaust tips are fake, there is just one single exit exhaust under the vehicle.
Toyota Land Cruiser GR
Nissan Patrol Nismo
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Nissan has made more cosmetic changes to the interior of the Patrol to update the already aging interior. There is carbon fiber on the steering wheel, upper parts of the dashboard, and the center console with subtle red inserts. It also gets a red dial in the physical gauge cluster with the updated dual center screen setup.
Wider front seats are installed due to customer feedback finished with a mix of Alcantara and leather. The red and black two-tone theme is also found in the interior from front to rear. Just like the Land Cruiser GR, the Nismo Patrol also gets a lot of features found in the regular vehicle including a sunroof and a 13-speaker Bose sound system. The third-row seats are still present with more overall space than the Land Cruiser since it is a much bigger vehicle inside and out.
The GR Land Cruiser retains the same layout and technology as the standard vehicle but gets a few changes. There is a new GR sport steering wheel, GR branded start-stop button, and seat headrests. Only all black and red two-tone interior color choices are available. There are no weight savings inside so it retains every comfort feature in the regular Land Cruiser including the third-row seats.
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Gone is the old V-8 in the Land Cruiser 300 Series and replaced with new V-6 engines. The GR gets two V-6 engine choices. They’re all paired with the new ten-speed automatic with improved fuel economy and towing capacity. These engine choices are standard depending on the region it is sold in:
Toyota Land Cruiser GR
Nissan Patrol Nismo
The Nissan Patrol Nismo has one engine choice which is the 5.6 liter naturally aspirated V-8 just like the standard Patrol. But this V-8 has been assembled by the same Takumi engineers that work on the Z and GTR. It makes 28 more horsepower and an extra three pound-feet of torque as opposed to the standard Patrol.
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The GR has many standard off-road features just like the regular SUV but also include front and rear locking differentials. It gets improved road handling with the revised Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS) which also helps off-road. Despite being all-new, it still has a body-on-frame chassis which is the perfect setup for any off-road vehicle. There are different drive modes available from Eco to Sport+.
The GR Land Cruiser also has some optional off-road accessories which include:
Toyota Land Cruiser GR
Nissan Patrol Nismo
The Nissan Patrol is already a capable vehicle with a lot of off-road features. Being an older model, it still uses the same ladder frame chassis from the original 2010 model. But the Nismo is a much worse off-road vehicle than Land Cruiser GR and regular Patrol. The regular car has a slightly better approach and departure angle as well as ground clearance than any 300 series Land Cruiser. But the Nismo package focuses on performance instead which in turn reduces off-road capability. Even the suspension has been race-tuned with Bilstein shocks for better on-road handling.
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Toyota sold the Land Cruiser in the States until the latest 300 series. Due to poor sales with the 200 series Land Cruiser, Toyota decided to cancel the new one for the North American market. But it will be available in other markets. This is a shame as there are people who want this car but the demand is just not enough. The GR is even more exclusive, it is only available in the Middle East, Russia, Australia, and Japanese market.
The Nissan Patrol Nismo is an even more exclusive beast. The regular model has never been sold in the U.S., it is available in Australia, Central and South America, South Africa, parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The Nismo Patrol was exclusively launched and sold in the Middle East. So the rest of the world only has the choice of a GR Land Cruiser where they are sold.
These full-size SUVs are already pricey in standard form with the Land Cruiser starting at $95,000 and the Patrol starting lower at $83,000. But since the Nismo Patrol is sold only in the Middle East we will compare both prices in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The Nismo Patrol starts at 390,000 AED ($106,000) while the Land Cruiser GR Starts at 400,000 AED($109,000). Prices for the GR Land Cruiser will vary slightly depending on each region where it is sold.
Both the Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol are phenomenal three-row vehicles with great off-road capability. But in Nismo form, the Patrol is less capable off-road and more suited towards on-road use. However, the Land Cruiser’s off-road capabilities have been enhanced further with the GR sport trim. This is expected of TRD Products but Toyota has done a good job of making a GR SUV extra capable.
Davies is automotive writer with a deep passion for cars with an extensive knowledge of the automotive industry shared through his engaging and informative articles.