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Driven: Nissan ends Y61 Patrol with Legend Edition

Old mate: Nissan is saying thank you to its venerable Patrol Y61 for 20 years of service with a Legend Edition special and a swag of goodies.

Loyal Nissan fans stockpiling final Patrol Legend Edition ahead of Y61 end date

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Nissan logo9 Dec 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

AFTER a 20-year run in the Australian market and more than 100,000 sales, Nissan’s much-loved Y61 series Patrol is being put out to pasture with a limited Legend Edition wagon.

Based on the top-spec ST grade, the 300 special editions come with $10,000 worth of extras and driveaway pricing only $600 more than the standard ST before on-road costs.

The five-speed manual swansong Y61 is on offer for $57,990 driveaway, while the auto costs $3000 more at $60,990.

Even with dated technology and largely unchanged styling, the venerable truck is still attracting a strong following.

While the Japanese car-maker says increasing numbers of its off-roading customers are demanding the latest tech and comfort features, an enclave of fans still lusts after the no-nonsense Patrol, with some even stockpiling for the future.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the long and successful life of the Y61 in wagon and pick-up forms, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said some loyal customers were bulk buying to ensure a supply of the model long after production dries up.

“We’ve got a couple of clients who have stockpiled cars for the next few years,” he said. “They pre-ordered a bunch of cars to keep them going through, and we have been working with them because we have been flagging (an end date) to some of our big customers.”

But while a number of loyal Patrol owners are squirrelling the final examples away, Mr Emery explained that most customers were demanding more from their large 4x4s, and most had started the transition to the smaller and newer Navara ute.

“There’s certainly some loyal Y61 customers that we’ve had some conversations with and they would prefer to keep buying the car into the future but then they also have higher expectations around technology so they know to some extent that the car, the market has outgrown it a little bit,” he said.

“Our biggest clients for Y61 have been Telstra and some of the fire authorities, and some of those are transposing across into Navara. You’ve seen the growth of that segment in the last 10 years which has started to take up the slack of some of these larger cab-chassis vehicles. There has been a shift in customers from the larger Y61-sized vehicle and that is going to continue.

“There’s only two or three cars in the segment, and that’s been slowly declining in the last four or five years as people have moved across into the next size down. Navara has a strong heritage and has probably taken up the mantle as being the utilitarian vehicle that our customers turn to.”

The nail in the coffin for the Y61 has been new Euro 5 emissions standards, which the vehicle’s diesel engine cannot meet.

While many customers are making the change to Navara, Mr Emery said the reception of the final special edition was expected to be warm.

He predicted the last examples were likely to dry up in February or March as customers plan trips north.

“Our dealers have known for a couple of months because they had to put orders in, and some of them have pre-sold already,” he said. “Y61 loyal owners will want to get the last one and then, because of its specification, we will probably have a lot of people who will buy one in the new year for heading north.”

The exclusive Legend Edition will only be offered in Australia to celebrate its long heritage Down Under over six generations and 50 years of the Patrol. Since the Y61 wagon was launched locally in 1997, 104,510 have found homes here.

Like the long-standing version, the Legend Edition is on offer with either a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic bolted to a 3.0-litre 118kW four-cylinder diesel that produces 380Nm for the auto or 354Nm when under the bonnet of the self-serve shifter.

Fuel consumption is rated at 10.9 litres per 100km for the manual and 11.8L/100km for the auto.

To mark the model’s close connection to Australia’s harsh outback, the Legend Edition has been upgraded with a number of genuine Nissan accessories to allow owners to go further into the bush.

At the front end, the special edition has an airbag-compatible steel roo bar, complete with electric winch, while at the back, there’s a tow bar and branded spare tyre soft cover.

A reversing camera and satellite navigation system accessed through a 7.5-inch touchscreen are also included.

For owners with lots of kit and family to carry, a roof rack is standard, as is an air intake snorkel for increased wading depth. The exterior modifications are capped off with Legend Edition decals on the front doors.

Customers have a choice of three colours: White Diamond, Polar White or Platinum.

The Patrol’s ability to tackle challenging terrain of all types is one of the attributes that cemented the Y61’s reputation among Australian fans, and the Legend Edition shares the same capability with low ratio 2.02:1 transfer case, self-locking free-wheeling hubs and a locking rear differential.

Front suspension is a three-link set up with coil springs for greater wheel articulation on severely undulating terrain, while the rear set up also uses coil springs with a five-link arrangement for a balance of ride comfort and load lugging capacity.

Its carrying capacity is 577kg. A braked trailer means the Y61 can haul 3200kg, while unbraked towing capacity is rated at 2500kg.

Four-wheel drive enthusiasts who like to go a long way off the beaten trail will appreciate the Patrol’s 95-litre main diesel tank, which is backed up by a 30-litre reserve for extended range. A water-in-fuel warning light is another classic outback survival touch.

In addition to the special equipment, the Legend Edition shares all of the standard features and kit fitted to the ST including seven seats, a split tail-gate, nine passenger panic handles, twin trip meters, hard-wearing cloth seats, vinyl floor liners and USB, iPod, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels roll on 275/65 tyres. Bumpers are body-coloured, complemented by over-fender flared wheel arches and standard side steps.

Second row passengers are treated to zoned air-conditioning and heating, while all occupants are entertained by a six-disc CD changer and four-speaker sound system.

The Patrol Y61 bloodline comes to an end with the Legend Edition bringing a 20-year story to a close and making way for the Y62, which arrived in February 2013.

2016 Nissan Y61 Patrol pricing
DX$53,890*
ST$57,390*
Legend Edition$57,990ˆ
Legend Edition (a)$60,990ˆ
*Excludes on-road costs
ˆDriveaway

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