Nissan says its Armada Mountain Patrol is “the ultimate overlanding family adventure full-sized SUV.” We tested it out recently in the high country of Arizona and love that it’s a great multi-purpose vehicle could be the perfect everyday family-hauler in the city, an errand-runner for supplies destined for the ranch or the range, or as a summer get-away-mobile to explore the beauty of Big Bend National Park. The specially-modified eight-passenger Armada follows on the heels of last year’s Nissan Titan pickup-based Project Basecamp that was a special project vehicle built to showcase a stock light-duty truck with a 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.
The Armada Mountain Patrol is 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, director, Chief Marketing Manager, Nissan North America, Inc. “For that reason, only minimal modifications were made to the factory Armada drivetrain.”
Because it’s been designed for exploring, the Armada Mountain Patrol includes a number of custom comfort, convenience, and storage features, including a Lowrance navigation system and a Rugged Radios off-road radio system. A key ingredient to the Mountain Patrol’s prowess is a variety of storage systems that include a Rhino Racks 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 wheelwell lighting. Recovery tools include 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.
Special camping gear includes a four-person Mt. Shasta roof-topper tent from Cascadia Vehicle Tents keeps occupants safely above the ground and a little closer to the stars.; a custom awning from Rhino Racks; and Alps Mountaineering’s pop-up tent, sleeping bags, and chairs. Katzkin leather seat covers provide a comfortable and plush ride for interior passengers, 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 advanced technology that includes a suite of available smart safety and security features such as intelligent forward collision warning, intelligent back-up 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) – 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 40.0 inches of second-row headroom and 41.0 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.
Following its public debut at Overland Expo WEST in Flagstaff, Ariz., the Armada Mountain Patrol project vehicle will take the road less traveled to various media and outdoor events through the remainder of the year. “We want to thank everyone who provided input on the design and equipment for this special Armada Mountain Patrol build,” added White. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome and look forward to showing it at Overland EAST in the fall and at a wide variety of events.”