A huge advantage when I was in the market for a bigger, more robust 4x4 and overlanding vehicle, having owned a Nissan SANI 3.0 V6 ( Mark 2), was a cost factor. I looked at the Toyota Cruisers ( around the 1998 - 2000 models) and Nissan Patrols ( 1998 - 2000 models) and for a 4.2 diesel with around the same km on the odometer with similar extras, there was approximately R 80 000 to R 100 000 price difference. This is purely a missed opportunity from Nissan SA's side to be competitive in a market eager for good quality solid front and rear axle 4x4's. This was the main deciding factor for me to choose a Nissan Patrol, over the Toyota. I now own a 4.2 Diesel intercooled turbo Patrol, that came with a brand name Roofrack, brand name aluminium bullbar, brand name spotlights, suspension lift, dual battery, and brand name rear drawer system as well as a 60 litre water tank with pump fitted under the Patrol.
Many times one reads on other forums that there are comments from guys that drive Toyotas, and refer to any other vehicle as the lesser brands.... I mean really.... Lesser brands????? I really hope he is talking purely of the fact that they sell more Toyotas than ANY other brand of vehicle, because if he, unfortunately like many people are referring to comparing the likes of Toyotas performance and all other aspects to ALL other brands, well He needs to get his head out his ass. I am VERY passionate about my Patrol, as are most people who own a good vehicle, the Patrol and Nissan guys just happen to be less arrogant than most.
But back to the Patrols. The value for money that you get in a second hand Patrol is fantastic. The GQ's are as reliable as the newer GU series albeit a few years older. Ride quality with the adoption of the all round coil springs, excluding the much older Safari and all the "Pick up" models which have the coils in front and the leaf spring set up in the rear, make it the perfect overlanding vehicle. "Voetspore" proved that free of charge !!
Disavantages, well with anything there are disadvantages. Every brand has them. For example why not have a standard front diff lock, like the Land Cruisers? Does the Patrol need a front locker??.... well no not really. The articulation on the coil sprung solid front and rear axles give a huge advantage over the leaf sprung solid axle vehicles making the need for a front locker more a nice to have than a need to have. The diffs and gearbox of the Patrol are so over designed that something really astronomical would have to happen before those diffs will break.
The rear difflock on the Patrol is a weak point, and many have had issues with it. However, My Patrol now has 240 000 Km on it and my rear difflock is working perfectly. Yes extra care needs to be taken when engaging the difflock as it cannot be engaged when on the run as the teeth will take a pounding over time and eventually fail. But so far so good on my Patrol, and my Iron Maiden has done some pretty wild trails over the years I've had it.
Then there are the early (2000 - 2004) 3.0 Patrols. These are unfortunately Nissan's little embarrassment. The TD42 6 cylinder power plant ( and what a power plant !!!) in the 1998 - 1999 model GU and up to 1997 in the GQ models, with basically zero electronics, except for a wire telling the diesel pump to "fagga juice" to 6 hungry cylinders connected to a flywheel the size of a Voortrekkers ox wagon wheel, and weighing probably as much as Mike Tyson, made the TD42 an almost worldwide phenominon of being classified as "bulletproof". Unfortunately with the world moving forwards and wanting more power out of smaller and yes, more fuel efficient power plants the ZD30 motor was to replace the TD42 ( in all the station wagon diesel models). The TD42 was kept in the "Pick up" bakkie, with the addition of a factory fitted turbo and intercooler.
The ZD30 diesel power plant is a fantastic motor, the 4 cylinder engine produces sufficient power and torque to catapult the heavy 2.5 ton body ( without extras ) into much higher speeds and unbelievable fuel efficiency, that the TD42 "old technology " motor could never achieve. But this came at a price. Higher power required some serious fueling, and with a diesel more fuel means more heat, and more heat means trouble. This was the era of " handgranade " model Patrols.
Now don't get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with a 3.0 diesel Patrol. One just needs to know how the vehicle was driven and maintained. If I have the opportunity, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 2000 - 2004 model 3.0 Patrol. However I would want it for a reasonable price as I would without a shadow of a doubt have the motor opened up and have it checked for any damage, and replace these parts before the motor breaks and then the costs skyrocket as there will be more to replace. I would definitely install an engine management system to monitor the EGT's, and this would be a fantastic machine to travel Africa in.
In conclusion, would I have rather bought a petrol 4.5 Patrol, or the 3.0 diesel Patrol instead of my "old school" 4.2 turbo diesel?... or bought a Land Cruiser..... or a Landy, a Jeep, ..... ahhh the list can go on forever. The answer is simple everybody loves their vehicle. We often tease each other here on the forum and out at events about the advantages and disadvantages of diesel vs petrol..... but at the end of the day you haven't lived, and have no room to comment until you've driven in a Patrol !!