Around the world, it is known as Patrol. It was around for decades before coming to the US as the Armada. It is Nissan’s somewhat forgotten full-size SUV. In a world taken by anything SUV, it is somewhat amazing it doesn’t sell better in the US. Now the next Nissan Armada is in the works and rumor has it that it will go back to its early Patrol roots to take on the Bronco.
Patrol was first introduced in 1951 as Nissan’s version of a Jeep
The Patrol/Armada is Nissan’s version of Toyota’s Land Cruiser. It was first introduced in 1951 as Nissan’s version of a Jeep. But while the Land Cruiser has always had a rabid following, the Armada? Not so much. But if the Armada suffers from anything it is its size. It is a big SUV. So Nissan is looking to attract a new audience with the next Armada.
It wants to downsize the Armada a bit which puts it into Bronco territory. With all of the hype and hoopla, the Bronco is causing what better direction for Nissan to pursue? A retro Armada with some of the charm of the original Patrol. Nissan has somewhat of a precedent for one of its most popular cars right now.
Last week it revealed the Proto Z, Nissan’s almost production-ready 2022 400Z sports car. And it has gone retro. Going back to its rich roots is on the minds of Nissan marketers and decision-makers. So with roots, retro, and the Bronco in the air in Yokohama, here’s what we know.
“Futuristic but at the same time you keep some of the iconic elements of the very original Patrol”
“It is a very interesting dynamic we have and now everything is out there and we might do something very futuristic,” Nissan senior VP of product planning Ivan Espinosa said to Practical Motoring. “But you could think of doing something futuristic but at the same time, you keep some of the iconic elements of the very original Patrol. For example the round eyes, the very straight lines at the front. So it is what we are now massaging around those things.”
While an afterthought in the US the Patrol is as well-loved in some countries as the Land Cruiser or Jeep. With Espinoza talking round lights that go from the beginning of the Patrol to the 1980s Patrol and GQ Patrol. But he says that the trick is to attract the older customers but also have an edge that will grab younger potential customers.
The Proto Z retro philosophy could work for the Patrol
Espinoza says Nissan has done that with Proto Z and that same philosophy could work for the Patrol. But he says that function should be the overriding factor. His thoughts are that there should be two versions of the Patrol.
One would function more like the Armada, or maybe more like the Bronco. And then a second, smaller Patrol called Patrol Safari would be a retro presentation that was well-suited for off-road terrain. In the past, there was a Patrol Safari so Nissan would also be reviving a name from its past. Of course, it has a name like that for the US; it’s called Xterra…