Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

First drive: 2024 Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition in the UAE

It’s one of those cars that never dies, literally and figuratively. Aside from its reputation as a bulletproof offroader, the Nissan Patrol Y61 rides on a chassis that dates back to 1980, albeit with heavy updates, and the current iteration of it has been around since 2005, continuing alongside the Patrol Y62 as its more rough-and-tumble sibling. But the end is near, as the “Al Ostoura” edition of the Super Safari marks the final run of the Y61.

Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

The Super Safari is a classically handsome SUV, and the Al Ostoura (meaning “The Legend”) embellishments are very subtle, limited to a fender badge of sorts, a graphic on the rear D pillars, unique 17-inch wheels and some bespoke stitching on the inside.

The interior is a throwback to the good old 1990s, with textured grey soft-touch surfaces, hard plastics in lower areas, some faux plasti-wood trim, and tan leather on the seats and doors. It feels outdated but not uncomfortably utilitarian like in Toyota’s LC70, but the Y61 had evolved much more to become a 2000s-ready vehicle.

Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

Modern features such as an Apple Carplay-equipped touchscreen and wireless charging have been retrofitted, and it even has a sunroof, front/rear parking sensors, a pretty decent single-zone a/c with rear cooler controls, and a basic rear camera.

Other features include halogen headlights, front/rear foglights, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, tyre pressure monitor, ABS, dual front airbags and ESP. The upper tail lights are almost vestigial as the rear bumper lights are wired to do the bulk of the work.

Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

In terms of space, it’s great up front, with good all-round visibility thanks to its classic thin pillars, while the second row offers legroom comparable to a compact car. The third row folds up to the sides of the otherwise-spacious boot and is only somewhat comfortable for shorter adults.

Powered by an engine so old that the company still quotes gross horsepower, the 4.8-litre inline 6-cylinder makes 280 gross hp (probably about 250 hp net) and 451 Nm of gross torque. Featuring Valve Timing Control (which is where the nickname “VTC” comes from) and Nissan Induction Control System (NICS), it is mated to a well-tuned 5-speed manual or automatic transmission, our test car having the latter, with tiptronic functionality.

The 0-100 kph acceleration is leisurely at about 11 seconds, but more power would be beside the point, considering the body-on-frame chassis is set up for serious offroading. Fuel consumption is almost on par with the much bigger-engined Patrol Y62, although the latter benefitted from much more modern technology.

Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

The ride isn’t bad at all, given that it sits on live-axle suspension, and while occasional harshness is obvious on some surfaces, having 3-link front and 5-link rear coils probably helps in civilizing it. Engine growl is prominent on acceleration and wind noise is on the high side at freeway speeds.

Turning the wheel requires some effort and feels a bit truckish, but surprisingly, the power steering is electronic and speed-variable, meaning it’s at its lightest at low speeds and firms up at high speeds. The disc brakes are easy enough to modulate, even if distances are slightly on the longer side.

Of course, all these compromises exist because the Super Safari is a serious offroader. Ground clearance is excellent, and approach/departure angles are very good, 37 degrees in the front and 31 in the back.

Nissan Patrol Super Safari Al Ostoura Edition

The engine is torquey, but you have to gun it somewhat to climb up dunes that are effortless for a V8 Y62. Having a tiptronic setup to manually select gears comes in handy and the Y61 is otherwise unsinkable in soft sand if you know what you’re doing.

Of course, the Y61 was built to take harder hits than the Y62. If you’re a serious offroader, the Y61’s deficiencies are instead a strength. And it’s still a far more bearable daily driver than a Land Cruiser LC70 or a Jeep Wrangler. Even at its high price, given its solid history of surviving our region’s climatic idiosyncrasies, it may be worthwhile to grab onto one before they disappear for good.

Image credit: Marouf Hussain Chowdhury.

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