To be honest it’s getting harder to really unload on any vehicle these days. Most new cars offer increasingly impressive levels of technology, some offer wildly futuristic designs, others amazing performance and fuel economy from small engines that in the past would be laughed at. As far as interior quality goes the lines are now that blurred it’s not uncommon for a South Korean offering to be not too far off what a premium German make is capable of.
So when the Nissan Patrol Legend Edition keys landed in my hands this week I had to put all of this out the window. It’s old, 1997 old in fact, it’s rough as guts, impoverished and frankly a punish to drive. BUT there’s a reason Nissan, for now, dares to still sell it – fair dinkum ability and a reputation that is indeed legendary. Even the sticker on the side says so.
Variant: Y61 ST Legend Edition.
Engine / Transmission: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel. 4-speed automatic.
Vital Stats: 118Kw / 454Nm
Nissan Claimed Fuel Economy: 11.8L / 100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: We’d love to tell you but there’s no trip computer.
Price: From $60,990
Wow Factor: Nissan say there’s $10,000 worth of free accessories thrown in on the 300-odd limited run Legend Edition. So instead of immediately racing out to ARB for some extra bolt on goodies you already score a snorkel, bull bar, electric winch, tow bar, excellent basket style roof rack and spare wheel cover. This is the type of gear that caravaners and campers simply adore and spend countless hours mulling over. This package isn’t some piece of marketing trickery either considering a stock ST model retails for around $57,000.
Most Impressive: Without a doubt this is one big vehicle, there’s ample room for five with even the third row able to cope with a couple of teens if need be. Ventilation has been sorted for all occupants with independent fan and temperature controls. From the driver’s perspective, visibility is also excellent with plenty of upright and square windows to peer out from.
The Patrol has the potential to cover plenty of territory thanks to a 95-litre main fuel tank and 30-litre sub tank. Off-road there’s also no doubt the Patrol is a solid performer, there’s plenty of room for those 17-inch alloy wheels to drop in and out of ruts. The old school 2nd gear lever for selecting 4×4 modes screams the ‘real deal’ as does the entire boxy look. There are only a few true bush-bashers left that aren’t saddled with oodles of tech, the Patrol Y61 is one.
However you do score an aftermarket infotainment screen with reversing camera and satellite navigation, heck there’s even Bluetooth.
Least Impressive: I could literally waste your time listing all the woes that plague this car, but very few of those are even relevant to the target audience. In fact Nissan sells way more of these than the vastly superior V8 petrol Y62 variant. But there are a couple of key areas that should prove worrisome for any prospective buyer. First up is safety, this model hasn’t been ANCAP tested since 2004 when it scored three out of five stars, acceptable back then. But with just two front and side airbags for the front occupants it’s almost irresponsible to throw the kids in the back.
Traction control and ABS are about the only safety net available, it is 2017 and partly why this once admirable machine is on the way out.
As a daily drive the Patrol Y61 is very truck-like, I’d put it in the same league as the Toyota 70 series in terms of drivability. On the highway it’s solid and steady, but wrestling it around a carpark or roundabout is a little tiresome after a while. The ride on corrugated roads is off the pace, you’re certainly never in doubt about the road conditions. Performance is steady at best, you only need to look at the outputs to realise you won’t be getting anywhere with any hint of pace. The engine is loud and extremely diesel in nature, especially when cold. Plus the brakes are a little scary, stopping in a hurry must be avoided at all costs. It’s possible to push the pedal all the way to the floor without actually inducing a solid ABS inducing stop.
The interior is about as sparse as they come, but that’s not peculiar to the Patrol. Jump in a Toyota Landcrusier and you’ll be given the same treatment. It’s all very hard wearing looking, but also a serious and unpleasant reminder of the past.
The Sweeping Statement: If you travel at least 1000km away from a major Australian city all you will see are Toyotas and Nissans, in particular Landcruisers and Patrols. I’m happy to concede that those folk out there know a good deal more about what’s appropriate for navigating our vast land than us city types. But the Nissan Patrol Y61 is part of a dying breed, at least for now you can really score some nice kit on what has been a credit to the 4×4 world for decades. I award the Nissan Patrol ST Legend Edition the EFTM Pass Rubber Stamp of Approval.