In 1951, the Japanese National Police Reserve, the forerunner of the modern Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, was expanding rapidly and needed a light 4×4 vehicle. Several car manufacturers responded, with Nissan developing the Patrol as its entry into the competition. Although it lost to Mitsubishi’s license-built Willys Jeep, Nissan realized the Patrol had potential on the civilian market. Although the Nissan Patrol never officially made it to America, we can experience its legacy in the 2023 Nissan Armada. If you’re a fan of the Patrol or the Armada, be ready to be entertained since the tale of these two models is one of passion, ingenuity, and the ambition to build something genuinely unique.
The Nissan Patrol: A Jeep Competitor
When the first-generation Patrol was unveiled in 1951, it became a huge success. It was the ideal vehicle for exploring the great outdoors and navigating challenging terrain because of its potent inline-six engine, sophisticated 4×4 system, and high ground clearance. The Patrol was a dependable and rugged truck that could take whatever the road might throw at it because of its classic Jeep-like style and long-lasting construction.
The Patrol developed over time, with Nissan releasing new generations that were considerably more potent, sophisticated, and fashionable than the previous ones. The third generation saw the Patrol lose its Jeep-style canvas top, and the fifth generation gained a luxurious interior. Car aficionados around the world welcomed each new generation with enthusiasm and appreciation, although American buyers never had a chance to experience the Patrols’ power, durability, and off-road capabilities.
For Nissan, creating the Patrol wasn’t just about creating a vehicle that was powerful and advanced; it was also about creating a vehicle that was truly special. It was about building a machine that would inspire a sense of adventure and excitement in those who drove it. And that’s exactly what Nissan did; it designed a model that would inspire people to go out and explore the world.
The Nissan Armada: An American SUV
Eventually, Nissan decided to bring an off-road SUV to America, but it chose not to give us the Patrol. Instead, it developed the Pathfinder, which was based on the Nissan Hardbody pickup. In 2000, the Pathfinder was joined by the smaller Xterra, but Nissan still wasn’t satisfied and dreamed bigger. The result was the 2004 Nissan Armada, which shared its bones with the new Nissan Titan full-size pickup truck.
The release of a full-size SUV by Nissan caused a stir in the car industry. The Armada was an ideal vehicle for families and adventurers alike thanks to its strong V8 engine, roomy interior, and variety of cutting-edge technological features. With a 5.6-liter power plant that generated 385 lb-ft of torque and 305 hp, it was significantly more potent than the Patrol, Pathfinder, or Xterra with their six-cylinder engines.
The first-generation Armada was distinguished by its roomy cabin. This made the SUV ideal for big families or groups of friends, with space for eight people. It included other useful storage options as well, such as a spacious center console and a fold-down third-row seat. As Nissan ended the 2000s with no fewer than three off-road SUV options for the American market, it looked like there was no need to bring the Patrol to the United States.
The Many Faces of the Nissan Patrol
However, as the 2000s turned to the 2010s, Nissan’s SUV lineup underwent an abrupt shift. In 2013, the Pathfinder was completely redesigned, trading its rugged truck frame for a front-wheel drive unibody platform shared with the Nissan Altima. Next, the Xterra and Armada both ended production in 2015, leaving Nissan without a single off-road SUV for the American market.
But Nissan had not abandoned the off-road SUV segment entirely. In 2010, the Nissan Patrol entered its sixth generation, boasting more power and luxury than ever before. Nissan decided to take advantage of these attributes for its Infiniti luxury brand, replacing the Armada-based first-generation Infiniti QX56 with a Patrol-based second-generation model in 2011. This change was met with positive feedback from critics and consumers alike.
When the first-generation Titan and Armada ended production in 2015, Nissan decided it was time to separate the two models. While the second-generation Titan continued with an updated version of Nissan’s full-size truck platform, the second-generation Armada was instead based on the Infiniti QX56 (although that model had been renamed the QX80 in 2014). Although it had taken a roundabout path and now wore a different name, the Patrol had finally made it to America.
The Patrol-Based Armada
Nissan unveiled the new Patrol-based Armada at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Many upgrades were included in this new model, such as an improved engine, a new exterior design, and a renovated interior. A 5.6-liter V8 engine with 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque propelled the next generation of the Armada. The SUV offered an option of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, like the previous generation, although it used a new seven-speed automatic transmission.
Today, the 2023 Armada boasts a larger, more opulent, and more innovative design than ever before. It now has 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque from its V8 engine, with a sleek, contemporary appearance and a roomy, cozy, and stylish interior. Several cutting-edge driver-assist systems are also included, such as Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, and an Intelligent Around View Monitor. There is also a fantastic-looking Midnight Edition which adds a blacked-out color scheme.
Consumer and Critic Reception of the Armada
The Nissan Armada has received positive reviews from a variety of sources, including automotive experts, journalists, and consumers. Many critics have praised the Armada for its powerful V8 engine, spacious interior, and advanced technology features. Reviews have also highlighted its off-road capabilities and praised its ability to tow boats, trailers, and RVs.
Over the years, the Armada has also picked up a large number of awards and accolades. For instance, in the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, the Armada was named the highest-quality Large SUV, beating the Chevy Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia. It also received an 87 out of 100 consumer-verified J.D. Power Rating, based on hundreds of thousands of independent opinions and reviews by verified car owners. While it may not officially use the Patrol name, the Armada shares the Patrol’s legacy for reliability and performance.
How the Nissan Armada Benefitted From the Nissan Patrol
The Nissan Armada has benefitted from much of the engineering and design behind the Nissan Patrol, adapting the Patrol to the needs of the American market. While the Patrol may have never officially made it to the United States, it continues to be sold in markets around the world. In 2019 the Patrol received a facelift that added a new front bumper and sharper lines. It also now makes use of the same advanced driver-assist technology found in the Armada. However, while the Armada leans more into luxury, the Patrol plays up its adventurous past with models like the Patrol Nismo and Patrol Desert Edition.
Overall, the Nissan Armada and Nissan Patrol are two models with rich histories that continue to evolve and improve with each new generation. The second-generation Armada was a continuation of the already popular Nissan Patrol but made some key changes that allowed it to be respected as a multi-purpose full-size SUV. With its powerful V8 engine, spacious interior, and advanced technology features, the 2023 Armada is the perfect vehicle for families and adventure seekers alike.