Buying a Car

The Best Truck That Was Never Sold in the US

Lawrence Wilson | November 18, 2014
The Best Truck That Was Never Sold in the US


I know it's a matter of opinion, but many four-wheelers across the rest of the world would agree with me. The Nissan Patrol is the best truck that was never sold in the United States. Well, not exactly--there was an earlier version available during the sixties and a later version known under the name the QX56. However, the best models of this legendary vehicle didn't make it to the U.S.

I would go out on a limb and say that maybe, except for the Toyota Landcruiser, no match for the Nissan Patrol as an off-road vehicle has been seen in the United States. The Nissan Patrol was famous for its rugged construction. In the '80s it came with leaf springs in both front and back and solid axles as well. It was a mid-sized vehicle in its day, and it had no match in its class. It was even built as heavy-duty as some one-ton trucks. Off-road it was almost unstoppable. It was immensely popular, and continues to be even to this day, in the Australian market and in places where good roads are the exception. It is very popular in the United Arab Emirates, where it is modified for races in the dunes.

The following were the most popular versions of this legendary truck:



The 160 Series

Nissan Patrol 160 Series


The 160 Series was the third generation of the Patrol, manufactured from 1980 to 1989. This vehicle was leaf-sprung, which was popular for most four-wheel drive trucks of the day. The MQ/MK, as it was known in the Australian market, carried on the legendary toughness of its predecessor. It came as a short-wheel-based 4-door model, a long-wheel-based 4-door model, or a two-door pickup. Engine options for the 160 included:

  • The SD33, which was a 3.3-liter, inline 6-cylinder diesel that also came in the IH Scout
  • The SD33T, another option in the Scout
  • A 4-liter, inline 6-cylinder petrol
  • A 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder petrol

These engines were literally bullet-proof. For many owners, upwards of 300,000 miles was not uncommon with the diesel engines, and that's before a rebuild. The 160 came with a four- or five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic, which was an option in the petrol versions.



The Y60

Nissan Patrol Y60


In the late '80s, there was the Y60, which came with coil suspension at both ends and a heavier-duty front axle. Some pickups still had leaf at the front and  back. Coil suspension gave the vehicle amazing articulation. It was fairly comfortable to drive in, as the comfort levels had improved over the previous model.

This model came with a 4.2-liter naturally aspirated straight 6-diesel. It also came with a 4.2-liter petrol with the same configuration as the diesel. These engines were tough, and like the SD33 diesels, many owners drove over 300,000 miles without problems. The diesel was quite strong and torquey for its day. The TD42, as the diesel was known, was immensely popular. To this day, many owners are still driving them in the Y60 configuration daily. Other engines in the Y60 were the 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder petrol and the 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder turbodiesel.

Transmission options for this Patrol were a four- or five-speed manual and a three-speed automatic, which was an option on the petrol engines. In Japan, the domestic market got the Nissan Safari, which had as standard what the Patrol had as options. Some TD42 engines came with a turbocharger and automatic transmission.



The Y61

Nissan Patrol Y61


In 1997 there was a model change to the larger Y61. Even though it had a larger, taller body than its predecessor, this model came with the same axles, engine and transmission as the Y60, with minor improvements. The choice of engines also increased to a ZD30 diesel, which was turbocharged and more powerful than the TD42, although smaller in size. This engine has not proved to be as rugged, though, and many owners have had problems with it over the years. A 4.5 inline 6 petrol was available as well as a 4.8 inline 6. The Y61 had similar off-road performance to the Y60, but was more comfortable on the road. The 4.8 had the option of a five-speed automatic, which was more advanced than the automatic on the other petrol engines. The rest of the transmissions were the same as those on the previous Patrol, with a few minor upgrades.



The Y62

Nissan Patrol Y62




The model that eventually made it to the United States, the latest Patrol or Infiniti QX56, was built in 2010, although the Y61 is still being built in some markets. Off-road performance has suffered a little in comparison to previous Patrols, and is similar to most four-wheel drive trucks being built these days. The comfort levels and on-roadability have improved tremendously. This SUV comes with a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine.




To date, no diesel options are available. This Patrol comes with the option of four transmissions:

  • A five-speed automatic
  • A six-speed automatic
  • A five-speed manual
  • A six-speed manual

The Infiniti QX56/Patrol is a bit larger than its closest competitor, the Toyota Landcruser, and also more powerful. It also competes against the Ford Expedition, the Chevy Tahoe and the Dodge Durango.



The Patrol has had legendary status in the countries where it has been sold. The parts have even been used in lesser vehicles, for those enthusiasts who need extreme off-roadability. I believe that at its best, this is the best truck that the U.S. never got--do you agree? Let me know in the comments.

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