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Nissan SUV Heritage Experience Dubai

September 20, 2018, 03:22 PM IST by Omkar Thakur

Touch down


Nissan’s India journey started long before they launched their first product in the country commercially. Before the X-Trail was offered in 2004, the Indian armed forces had chosen a Nissan. It was the P60 back in the 60s which was licensed and built at the Jabalpur Vehicle Factory and was known as the Jabalpur Ordinance and Gun-Carriage Assembly, better known as the Jonga. It served the armed forces for almost four decades and in spite of new army recruits, the veterans still swear by the Jonga.



So, before Nissan began its new innings in India, we were invited to Dubai, the land of superlatives, to experience their SUV heritage. In the plushest desert on the planet, we had a bouquet of Nissan SUVs, the Kicks, the X-Trail, the Pathfinder and the top-of-the line Patrol at our disposal. The Kicks is the Nissan’s opener for the new innings in India and you can read about that here.



Ras Al Khaimah




On our first day in Dubai, we had to drive down to Ras Al Khaimah, one of the Emirates and we were handed over the X-Trail to start with. The 100-odd kilometres drive from downtown Dubai set the course of the trip. As we steered on to the Sheikh Zayed road from one of the poshest areas in Dubai, the wide roads welcomed us with disciplined traffic. 



The X-Trail is a mid-size premium SUV and it was at home in the four-lane highway running through the desert and showcasing man's ability to build marvels on barren land. The skyscrapers gave way to smaller buildings and then single-storey houses and then tiny shrubs as we crossed Sharjah and Ajman. We veered off the highway on to the country roads in Ras Al Khaimah and that's where we were struck by the beauty of the desert. 

The countryside showcased the ochre desert with tiny shrubs against a deep blue background. The broken roads gradually gave way to sand trails and yet the X-Trail just sailed through. But then as the terrain got tougher, we decided to give the X-Trail a break. Not because it was not capable, but because we had something big and massive to barrel through the sand.



I climbed on to the Patrol, Nissan biggest SUV, and I knew in a moment why it is the bestselling SUV in the Emirates. It felt like a tank that would probably drive through a sandstorm as if it was any other city road. Having deflated the tyres to a lower pressure, the Patrol dug through the slippery sand, plunging ahead effortlessly.



When we reached the dunes, the expert dune bashers took over the helm and piloted us through. We climbed up the dune slopes, swung over the crests and slid down the other side and all of that without even having to grab on to the handles. I was wondering why dune-bashing is considered so tough when we glided through everything almost unperturbed. But when I saw the other cars fighting the desert like Spartans, I realised how marvelous was the engineering on the vehicle I was riding.



As the sun set over the distant horizon, we started our journey back to the city and this time I was driving the Pathfinder. Now, like the X-Trail, the Pathfinder is also a mid-size SUV but it sits on the luxury end of the segment. The difference was evident right as I started off the parking lot. The steering was light but firm and it felt much more solid. With the 3.0-litre V6 underneath the hood, it had much more go. We tuned into Arabian music on the way to the Boulevard, the Address, one of the choicest dinner destinations in Dubai.



The Frame Dubai



The next day was about Kicks and Frame and we aren’t speaking about rugby here. Because the Kicks is the smallest SUV in Nissan’s GCC line-up and the frame here is the Dubai Frame. Located on the way to Bur Dubai, the Frame is a newly-built monument. It is a 105m by 150m void which frames the phases of Dubai. Once atop, on one side is Bur Dubai or Old Dubai, the historical part of the city. On the other side is the new Dubai filled with exotic marinas, humungous skyscrapers and man-made islands – the dream of Dubai. The Frame represents the juncture of the transformation of Dubai and I couldn’t stop myself from drawing a parallel.



It metaphorically describes Nissan’s journey in India. On one side, we have the heritage of the Jonga and on the other side is the future that Nissan has planned for itself. The Kicks would be the first of the icons on the new side and we would love to see it rise up above the skyline.




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