Nissan gives Armada's overseas sibling the go-fast Nismo treatment

Ronan Glon
·3 min read

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Nissan injected some of the DNA that makes the GT-R a refined track car into the Patrol, a burly body-on-frame SUV sold as the Armada in the United States. Developed exclusively for markets in the Middle East, the Patrol Nismo gains what the firm describes as a race-inspired design, a sharper chassis, and a more powerful V8.

Don't get your hopes up: Nissan stopped short of stuffing the GT-R's twin-turbocharged V6 into the Patrol's engine bay. Instead, the Nismo keeps the standard SUV's 5.6-liter V8, but its output increases from 400 to 428 horsepower, while torque stays flat at 413 pound-feet. The same team of Takumi craftsmen that build the GT-R's engine by hand extracted the 28 additional horses, though how they upped the eight's output hasn't been revealed yet.

Nissan fitted a Bilstein-developed suspension system to improve handling, and it chiseled large vertical ducts into the front bumper to reduce the front end's tendency to lift. Out back, a roof-mounted spoiler improves the boxy SUV's aerodynamic profile. Nismo-specific 22-inch wheels save 10 pounds, which sounds entirely insignificant when we're talking about a 6,000-plus-pound behemoth. At least it's unsprung mass that the Patrol loses.

Visually, it doesn't take a seasoned car-spotter to tell the Nismo apart from the standard Patrol. In addition to the aforementioned ducts and wheels, the hot-rodded family-hauler gains honeycomb-shaped inserts in the grille, numerous red accents, and a redesigned rear bumper with a Formula One-like fog light and an air diffuser. It's anything but subtle, which was intentional; it was designed for motorists who want to make a statement.

While the exterior is racing-inspired, there's nothing track-ready about the cabin. Nissan outfitted the Patrol Nismo with features we'd expect to find in SUVs built by its upmarket Infiniti division, like quilted upholstery and an air conditioning system for the second-row passengers. It nonetheless added carbon fiber trim and more red accents.

"With the 2021 Patrol Nismo, our customers can experience the thrill of handling a car with a racing spirit and turn heads as they glide through the streets," concluded Thierry Sabbagh, the managing director of Nissan's Middle Eastern arm. He pointed out that demand from local customers convinced product planners to approve the model.

Nissan dealers in the Middle East will begin receiving the Patrol Nismo in April 2021. Pricing in the United Arab Emirates starts at 385,000 dirham, which represents about $105,000 at the current conversion rate. In comparison, Nissan charges 199,900 dirham (around $54,500) for the entry-level Patrol. Alternatively, the fifth-generation model introduced globally in 1997 remains on sale. It's sold as the Patrol Safari, and it costs 153,000 dirham ($41,700).

As of writing, nothing suggests the American-spec Armada will receive the Nismo treatment in the foreseeable future. We've reached out to the company for more details, and we'll update this story if we learn more.

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