The Nissan Safari was a Japanese version of the world-famous Nissan Patrol. It started life in 1985 and was sold with a rather odd 24V electrical system where most vehicles were built with a 12V system.
Coincidentally, the same year that the Safari was released was the first year that the fourth generation Nissan Patrol was unveiled. By this time, the Patrol was known as a well-rounded and reliable full-size SUV all around the world. The Safari was sold only in Japan and in the Philippines as the Patrol Safari.
Walkaround of a JDM Nissan Safari imported to the USA:
This buyer’s guide is intended to give you a more in-depth look at the Safari and what makes it stand out from the Nissan Patrol. We here at JDMBuySell.com, have compiled a lot of information to give you the most comprehensive buyers guide on this unique SUV.
Pros and Cons
- Great off-road vehicle
- Simple, yet functional interior
- You won’t see many on the road
- Easy to find replacement parts
- Bad gas mileage
- Some features of from the Patrol were not available on the Safari
- Only sold in a RHD configuration
- It’s big
- Technically inferior compared to other vehicles of that time
Common issues plague every make and model vehicle out there. It doesn’t matter how much money an automaker spends on testing or R&D; there will always be problems down the road, and Safari is not immune to that. This section is dedicated to the common issues that Nissan Safari owners have recorded over the years.
12V converter. The Nissan Safari uses a unique 24V electrical system that overall is exceptionally reliable. However, some parts still require only 12 volts of power and that’s where the 12V converter comes into play. This often fails and leaves critical components dead in the water so to speak. Replacing the converter will fix this issue.
Rust. As it is with most JDM vehicles, rust can be an issue even if the vehicle has been meticulously cared for. When looking at a Safari, one should inspect rust-prone areas such as the firewall, roof gutters, inner guards, etc. for any signs of rust.
Mass airflow sensor. This is a design flaw as the MAF on the early Safari’s as it was placed in a spot where it was exposed to dust and ash, therefore causing it to fail prematurely. There is nothing much one can do, but Nissan did rectify that problem on the later models.
Death wobble. This is a well-known issue in the Patrol/Safari community. There are several reasons why the vehicle might shake/vibrate while getting up to speed, but the most common is the kingpin preload. This can be solved by simply taking out some of the shims.
Weak rear shocks. The Safari came from the factory with a soft rear suspension to help it go over rough terrain. Over time this can cause the back end to get saggy and will need replacing.
The Nissan Safari can range anywhere from $7,500 to $16,000 depending on the quality and factory option the vehicle came with. Let have a look at some of the most expensive and cheapest Safari’s available from dealers through JDMBuySell.com. As these were sold in fewer numbers than its brother, the Patrol, there aren’t that many to choose from currently.
There is plenty of choice in the full-size SUV market. Nearly every automaker seems to make one. We are going to show you a list of all the comparable alternatives to the Nissan Safari so that you can see what kind of competition is out there.
- Toyota Land Cruiser (Read our Landcruiser Buyers Guide)
- Mitsubishi Pajero (Read our Pajero Buyers Guide)
- Nissan Patrol (Read our Nissan Patrol Buyers Guide)
- BMW X5
- Isuzu Bighorn
- Jeep Cherokee
Models and Specifications
First Generation (Y60; 1987-1997)
The first-generation Safari was based on the popular Nissan Patrol. It was introduced to the Japanese market the very first year that the fourth generation Patrol was unveiled to the world. It was similar to the Patrol except for the 24V electrical system which is widely known to be more superior and reliable. Additionally, the Safari came with a few added touches to truly make it go anywhere, such as a Warn winch.
Second Generation (Y61; 1997-2005)
In late 1997, Nissan unveiled the second-generation Safari, which was based on the fifth-gen Patrol. Again, it was basically a Japanese Patrol with a reliable 24V system and a few added factory goodies. Unfortunately, the Japanese public was not so keen on the Safari as in 2005 Nissan pulled the plug on the Y61do to poor sales.
To this day, the Safari is one of the most capable, dependable and best off-road vehicles that Nissan has ever produced and due to the fact that these vehicles are reaching 25 years old, people will want them here in North America; prices are sure to skyrocket soon.
Yes. The Nissan Safari is similar to the Patrol and is noted to be even more reliable than its brother due to the 24-volt electrical system
Unfortunately, no. The Safari was only sold in Japan, therefore left-hand drive vehicles were not produced.
Yes. Most parts are interchangeable between the Safari and Patrol, therefore making parts more accessible.
Absolutely! The Safari/Patrol is well known around the world to be a go-anywhere kind of vehicle with relative ease. This includes harsh climates such as Antarctica or the Sahara desert.
After about a week or so of driving a right-hand drive vehicle, you will feel right at home and it will become second nature.
How to Import a Nissan Safari
Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.
Can you make this guide better? Are you a huge fan of the Safari? If so, please contact us.