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Nissan Patrol Legend Edition 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
6
Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new 2016 Nissan Patrol Legend Edition with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in the South Australian outback.

Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new 2016 Nissan Patrol Legend Edition with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in the South Australian outback.

If you need evidence as to just how capable Nissan's Y61 Patrol is when it comes to biting off and spitting out great chunks of Australia's toughest off-road terrain, just take a quick tour of its prehistoric cabin.

Expect no plush luxuries or cutting-edge technology. Nope, the interior of the old-school Patrol is as modern as a Dunlop Volley and as technologically advanced as a calculator watch - and likely every bit as appealing to the fashion-focussed crowd. But the Patrol's madly passionate owners just don't care. To them, it's a tool designed to do a job, and nobody picks up a chisel and laments the lack of digital radio, or wonders why a tape measure doesn't have more airbags.

As a result, the Y61 Nissan Patrol has remained largely unchanged since its 1997 launch. And even now, in 2016, the Y61 model outsells its would-be replacement, - the far more modern and comfortable, but hugely unattractive, Y62 Patrol - every single month.

Nissan has arranged something of a farewell party for its iconic off-roader.

But the bell has finally tolled for this outback wanderer, with Nissan calling time just ahead of Euro 5 emissions standards (standards the Y61 Patrol would fail).

So Nissan has arranged something of a farewell party for its iconic off-roader, the Nissan Patrol Legend Edition. Based on the top-spec, seven-seat ST model ($57,390 MSRP), the Legend Edition wears about $10,000 worth of accessories, and carries a drive-away sticker price of $57,990 for the manual and $60,990 for the automatic.

The Patrol Legend Edition is limited to 300 vehicles, and once they're gone, they're gone.

Price and features

As familiar as a gumboot, and every bit as practical, the Y61 Patrol's is a design firmly rooted in purpose. Expect no big, blinging alloys or fancy body contours. The few design elements that have been included on the Patrol Legend Edition all serve a specific purpose, whether it's the snorkel that sprouts from the bonnet or the  electric winch bolted to the bull bar.

The only nod to modern luxury is the aftermarket touchscreen slotted into the dash.

Nissan's answer to the iconic - and equally unchanged - body styles of Jeep's Wrangler or Land Rover's Defender, the exterior of the Patrol Legend Edition is a big and brutalist box, with 17-inch alloys wrapped in thick, off-road rubber at each corner. Add to that its jacked-up ride height, gaping wheel arches and the vaguely intimidating steel bull bar, and this is not a 4WD you'd expect to encounter on the school run.

Inside, it is utilitarian at best, with cloth seats, a basic materials and a manual all-wheel-drive set-up sandwiched next to the conventional gearbox. The only nod to modern luxury is the aftermarket touchscreen slotted into the dash.

Engines and transmission

It's a predictably simple and straightforward offering for the Patrol Legend Edition. There's no under-the-bonnet changes, so expect the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, with power channeled through a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and fed to all four wheels via a very capable four-wheel-drive system.

The Patrol is in the bush bashing business, and business is good.

One quirk, though is the differing power outputs, depending on your gearbox of choice. Manual drivers will get 118kW and 380Nm, while auto drivers make do with 118kW and 354Nm. Claimed combined fuel economy is pegged at 10.9 litres per hundred kilometres in the manual, but jumps to 11.8 litres in the automatic.

But the Patrol is in the bush bashing business, and business is good, so expect a low-range equipped four-wheel-drive system with auto-locking front hubs and a rear diff lock as standard fare.

Price and features

Most of the Legend Edition additions are bolt-on bits, so if you're familiar with the existing range, you'll be plenty familiar with this farewell offering.

You'll still find 17-inch alloy wheels, manual air-conditioning for front and second-row passengers and a leather-wrapped gearshift knob and steering wheel.

All of which is made particularly impressive by the fact the Legend Edition, in real terms, is cheaper than the current top-spec ST model on which it's based.

Opting for the Legend Edition, however, adds a candy store of off-road treats, including a snorkel, bull bar with electric winch, gigantic roof racks, spare wheel cover and tow bar, while inside you'll nab satellite navigation and a reversion camera. Nissan values the lot at about $10,000.

All of which is made particularly impressive by the fact the Legend Edition, in real terms, is cheaper than the current top-spec ST model on which it's based. The current top-spec Patrol wears a sticker price of $57,390. The Legend Edition, however, wears a drive-away sticker price of $57,990 for the manual and $60,990 for the automatic.

Driving

Perhaps wisely, Nissan opted to restrict the driving of the outgoing Patrol to the rutted tracks and slippery climbs of the stunning South Australian outback, so it's difficult to report on just how the ageing Y61 would perform on road. If we had to guess, though, we'd be putting money on it feeling a little past its used-by date on sealed tarmac, and downright uncomfortable in the city.

But point its squared-off nose in the direction of some genuinely tough terrain, and there's nowhere else you'd rather be. It absolutely destroys all in its path with very little effort, and it does it in such a hard, bouncing and hugely entertaining way that you can't help but smile.

Keep the Patrol in Wolf Creek country and it feels almost indestructible.

Our test route took in a series of increasingly challenging off-road routes, including bouncing over sharp rock, scrabbling up loose-surface hills and descending impossibly steep declines, and the Patrol Legend Edition did it all with absolute ease. And like all good four-wheel drives, the Patrol does most of the thinking for you, with the driver really only asked to choose a path and let the car do the rest.

Our limited time on smooth surfaces made genuinely assessing the car something of a challenge, but we can report a vagueness to the on-centre steering that doesn't bother you off road, but would be considerably less fun on tarmac. The brakes, too, had a less-than-reassuring sponginess to them, but it's difficult to say how much of that was the dirt beneath the tyres.

Still, keep the Patrol in Wolf Creek country and it feels almost indestructible.

Practicality

It all comes down to your sense of "practical". If you want to be able to drive up practically anything, then we've got good news for you. If you're looking for a comfortable seven-seater, then the news is a little less positive.

For a start, the third-row of seats is strung up with straps until they're needed, and if you should happen to put any humans back there, they'll find their surrounds fairly sparse, largely because they are genuinely - and without exaggeration - sitting in the boot, and so enjoying all the creature comforts a space normally dedicated to luggage has to offer.

Things improve for second-row passengers, but they'll be having more fun in summer than winter, as their air-con controls only cool, they don't heat. There's no pull-down seat dividers or cupholders on offer, either.

A special mention also has to be made of the fuel tank, which will carry a handy 95 litres, with another 30 litres in the sub - or reserve - tank, meaning long-distance trips are a breeze.

Front-row passengers share two cupholders, and the nav-equipped touchscreen does improve the ambience, but it's an old-school cabin layout.

Elsewhere, there are two child-seat anchor points in the middle row, and you'll get 380 litres of cargo space with all three rows of seats up, which jumps to 1260 litres with the third row flat. Drop both the second and third row, however, and you get a very handy 2150 litres.

Towing capacity is 3200kg in the manual, and 2500kg in the automatic. A special mention also has to be made of the fuel tank, which will carry a handy 95 litres, with another 30 litres in the sub - or reserve - tank, meaning long-distance trips are a breeze.

Safety

Prepare for another trip down memory lane. Airbags are few and far between, with only dual front and side bags for front-row passengers making an appearance. And you can forget all about things like autonomous braking, lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring - they simply don't exist on this car.

In short, its active safety equipment is largely limited to the driver actively stamping on the brake pedal in an emergency. You do get cruise control, along with ABS, brake assist and Nissan's traction control system.

The Y61 Nissan Patrol was crash tested by ANCAP in 2004, and scored a three-star rating, out of a possible five.

Ownership

The Nissan Patrol Legend Edition is covered by Nissan's three-year, 100,000km warranty, and will require a trip to the service centre every six months or 10,000kms. It also falls under Nissan's Service Certainty program, with service pricing capped for the first 12 services.

At the time of publication, the six services required during the warranty period were priced at a total $2671.89.

Verdict

As nostalgic as the Hey, Hey It's Saturday reunion, the Y61 Patrol has rightly built its cult following, despite lacking some non-negotiable safety kit. There are far more comfortable ways to tackle tarmac, but if your morning commute requires you to take the roads less travelled, then the Nissan Patrol Legend Edition is a huge amount of fun.

Tough and cool or just too long in the tooth? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Pricing Guides

$49,989
Based on 48 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$29,880
Highest Price
$70,450

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
DX (4x4) 3.0L, Diesel, 4 SP AUTO $29,880 – 32,990 2016 Nissan Patrol 2016 DX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
ST (4x4) 3.0L, Diesel, 4 SP AUTO $43,999 – 45,880 2016 Nissan Patrol 2016 ST (4x4) Pricing and Specs
ST (4x4) LEGEND EDITION 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $35,860 – 42,680 2016 Nissan Patrol 2016 ST (4x4) LEGEND EDITION Pricing and Specs
ST N-Tec (4x4) 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $44,984 – 44,990 2016 Nissan Patrol 2016 ST N-Tec (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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