Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol

New to the overlanding market last year was Nissan’s Titan XD PRO-4X Project Basecamp. The stock light-duty truck was endowed with an impressive collection of aftermarket add-ons that included a custom exterior body wrap from Rocket West Off-Road, a host of functional exterior accessories, and a full complement of essential camping necessities.

Project Basecamp’s success at attracting heightened attention for Nissan led to the development of the new Armada Mountain Patrol. It rejuvenates the Patrol brand, known around the globe as a series of 4WD vehicles that have been available in a multiple of variant offerings since 1951, although the name has not been used in North America since 1969. Nissan describes the Armada Mountain Patrol as the “the ultimate overlanding family adventure full-sized SUV.”

The eight-passenger model made its debut at Overland Expo West recently in the high country of Arizona. We took it motoring along an assortment of off-road trails that ranged from dirt roads to technical 4WD track. We were impressed with its 4WD capability that was illuminated by its competent low range gearing, good ground clearance, respectable approach, and departure and breakover angles. The Mountain Patrol could have a future as an everyday family-hauler, an errand-runner for goods and gear destined for the ranch or the range, or as a summer get-away-mobile to explore the lands where the pavement ends.


Powered by Nissan’s 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8 engine that is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission, it has an 8,500-pound towing capacity. A Magnaflow cat-back exhaust system helps the heavy-duty hauler breathe. Auxiliary fuel storage has been provided by RotoPax. “One thing true off-road enthusiasts understand about the Armada Mountain Patrol is its authentic adventure heritage. Every 2018 Armada is inspired by the global Patrol—a vehicle with over five decades of off-roading credibility,” explained Brandon White, Nissan North America’s director and chief marketing manager. “For that reason, only minimal modifications were made to the factory Armada drivetrain.”

A number of custom comfort, convenience, and storage features boost its prowess, including a Lowrance navigation system, an off-road radio system from Rugged Radios, a Rhino Rack aluminum back-bone pioneer tray, ARB pull-out drawer system, Pelican gear cases, Dometic refrigerator/freezer, and Otterbox Venture coolers.

Add-ons from Baja Designs brought a roof-mounted LED light bar, bumper-mounted fog lights, and wheel well lighting. Recovery tools are a 12,000-pound Warn Platinum Series winch, rack-mounted Maxtrax vehicle recovery boards, Hi-Lift vehicle jack, and Rhino Rack shovels. Icon Vehicle Dynamics contributed a heavy-duty coil-over suspension, with extended A-arms. Stunning 17-inch Icon bronze rebound wheels are wrapped in 35/12.25/17 Nitto Ridge Grappler tires that provide aggressive traction.

Camping gear includes a four-person Mt. Shasta roof-topper tent from Cascadia Vehicle Tents, a custom awning from Rhino Rack, and Alps Mountaineering’s pop-up tent, sleeping bags, and chairs. Katzkin leather seat covers provide a comfortable and plush ride, while an ARB refrigerator helps keep food cold and fresh.

To help protect the Armada body, vehicle protection equipment from Calmini includes rock sliders, a spare tire swing-away, and custom-fabricated heavy-duty steel bumpers in the front and rear.

Stylish and roomy, all Armadas have a refined interior, as well as an advanced technology suite of available smart safety and security features such as intelligent forward collision warning, intelligent backup intervention, and intelligent around view monitor. Completely revised for its second-generation in 2017, the 2018 version comes in a range of high-content grade levels: SV (starting at $46,090), SL ($50,850), Platinum ($59,190), and Platinum Reserve ($62,190). They are available in both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations, which adds authentic off-road capability (4WD versions have an upcharge of $2,900).

Inside, Armada combines a premium level of materials with a special emphasis on quietness and quick cooling and heating for passenger comfort. The roomy interior has 40 inches of second-row headroom and 41 inches of second-row legroom, allowing riders ample stowage and accommodations for gear. The Armada Mountain Patrol project vehicle is not for sale but is a demonstration model designed to highlight the capabilities of the stock Nissan Armada.

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Sue Mead’s career as an auto journalist began as a freelance evaluator for Four Wheeler Magazine in 1988, on the first team that included women. Today, she travels the globe test-driving cars and trucks, and writing for dozens of publications around the world, including Automobile, Truck Trend and CNNfn. Mead has also authored four books on 4WD sports. Her career has taken her through 69 countries; she was the first American female Driver of Record in the Dakar Rally (2011, where she took 1st Place in the Open Production Class) and is an inductee to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.