Thursday, May 16, 2013

Used Car Review - Nissan Patrol Safari (1991-2000)

After years of hiatus, Myk Belmonte follows the story of a comeback kid who wants to bring a bang to the Senate, as well as win the wallets of the buyers.

1991-2000 Nissan Patrol

Our candidate for the elections is making a comeback after years of being out of the spotlight. Surely, the SUV elections during the 90s had only a few candidates vying for the spot inside the senate, or in this case, the garages of the buyers.

Introduced in 1987 under the Y60 platform, the Nissan Patrol was totally 100% new mechanically as it carries a coil spring suspension. This remains the off-road prowess it is known for since 1951, especially that is one selling point of the Patrol. It remained in production until 1997, where the Y61 replaced it although some countries had it a little longer.

1991 saw the release of the Patrol Safari in the Philippines after years of the 160 series being sold locally. From prominent families, local businessmen, and the people who get voted by the masses, it has a following. Surely the elite voted their wallets for the Patrol, alongside the Pajero of the same period as their vehicles to carry their families in a safe but high profile fashion. This is one common car you'll see as back up vehicles of the president until they saw better days when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced them with the Y61 models. 2000 was the last time you can buy them brand new.

Value and Costs
You can experience the moneyed people had done before without losing your image for as low as P300,000. However, the price range between P330,000-P700,000 can be questionable since the car is almost two decades old and in that range one can get various modern vehicles that are friendly to drive. But then, if you have a driver this does not pose a problem (which I will discuss later).

One advantage of this SUV is that there is no need to worry on where to fuel up, since this uses a rudimentary diesel engine. No piezzo injectors to replace, especially that earlier models of the Y61 series had a problem with their diesel engines. Parts can be acquired at your favorite car shops but for some components, waiting is a must. Watch out for the suspension and the vehicle emits black smoke, especially you wouldn't want to be flagged down by ASBU's

Exterior and Interior
Patrols with sirens are the images when mentioning the Patrol Safari. I couldn't help but associate it with either President Ramos or Estrada. This SUV wants to grab attention, especially the muscular but bulky body, and wide wheels comes standard. Let's not describe it further since the vehicle speaks for itself and for the owner.

Ancient is the word to associate with the Patrol's dashboard, as squares covered in black are dominant. The clock and stereo is placed in the lower portion and covered by the stickshift, which is good so that driver distraction is avoided. Gauges are huge, so that you can remind the driver he is over speeding especially when the fuel gauge goes down. The seats are hard, but legroom and headroom is excellent, especially the latter benefits from a tall roof. Planning to clamber in from the outside? It is difficult to do so as well going inside the third row, as you must go over a folded seat.

If the Pajero of the same period had a 2.5 4D56 (upgraded in 1999 to the 4M40), the Patrol has a monster, a TD422 4,169cc six diesel which has 123hp at 4,000rpm and 270Nm at 2,000rpm. With torques arriving as early as 2,000rpm, this one can move with ease. This one has 10 gears due to the fact it has 2WD and 4WD high and low settings. How does it drive when in these settings? Let's proceed to the next paragraph.

Driving Impressions
Thank goodness that the clutch isn't stiff, in fact it is more easier to press down. However, the shifter is somewhat uncooperative especially that placing it in gear is a challenge. Steering is light, which we are thankful but maneuvering can be daunting especially if you are graduating from a sedan. Before I forget, the 10 gears must be used wisely. Best to leave it in 2WD form especially that the 4WD low can make the Patrol a snail while the 4WD high can make the SUV wild in releasing under steer and at the same time, handling can be a problem.

Reminiscing what was life in the 90s? Buy yourself a Patrol Safari and try driving in the posh hotels and golf courses to get the feeling of being a rich guy back then. Comparing this to the SUV's of today, this would be left behind but there is a special place in the automotive culture of the Philippines. Would your wallet vote for this? You decide.

The Good:
  • Road respect
  • Great off road
  • Easy to steer
The Bad:
  • Ancient
  • Heavy
  • Expensive even at second hand prices
The Pick: Local units

Engine: 4,169cc TD422 I6 diesel
Power: 123hp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 270Nm @ 2,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front and rear coil springs

Price (New): P1,500,000 (estimated)
Price (Now): P330,000-P700,000
Rivals: Mitsubishi Pajero, Isuzu Trooper, Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Expedition
On Sale: 1991-2000

Nis-Parts - (02) 742-1531

Photos courtesy of

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