Nissan tends to use the Chicago Auto Show to showcase weird or interesting concepts – just look at the Winter Warrior vehicles from a few years back. For 2018, the Japanese automaker is bringing a pair of snow-ready concepts fresh off the powder in Eastern Idaho. The track-equipped 370Zki (pronounced ski) will be joined by the lifted and brightened Nissan Armada Snow Patrol. We had a chance to preview both vehicles in their natural environment.
The Armada is a traditional body-on-frame SUV, one of the last of its kind. Elsewhere in the world it's dubbed the Nissan Patrol, hence the Snow Patrol name. Compared to the rest of Nissan's expansive SUV lineup, the Armada is a bit of anachronism. Still, it sits like a king above the Rogue, Rogue Sport, Murano, Pathfinder and new Kicks. The Snow Patrol takes that throne and lifts it even higher.
Modifications are simple yet effective. Pro Comp supplied a number of the new parts including the lift kit (2-inch front, 1-inch rear), the 20-inch Cognito Series 61 wheels, 35-inch tires and LED fog lights and light bar. Thanks to Smittybilt, the Snow Patrol has a new bumper, grille bar, rock sliders, fender flares and roof rack. Hidden in the bumper is a 12,000-pound winch. Inside, the seats are covered in new white and blue leather thanks to Katzkin leather. There's also a set of Weathertech floor mats. Like the 370Zki, the Snow Patrol has been covered in a bright wrap from Icon Image Graphics.
Compared to the 370Ski, the Snow Patrol is a bit tame. Sure, it's lifted and looks pretty mean with the black wheels and winch-infused bumper, but from behind the wheel it doesn't seem much different than a standard Armada. You sit slightly higher and the bright blue hood is a far cry from the more subdued colors offered by Nissan, but it still rides and drives as well as the standard model. Taking it out in the snow shows the real benefits of the suspension and tires.
By the time we arrived, Eastern Idaho had seen its fair share of snowfall. It wasn't difficult to find a road packed down with the white stuff. The Snow Patrol didn't seem fazed at all. It just hunkered down and clawed its way out thanks to knobby tires and a 390 horsepower 5.6-liter V8. The four-wheel drive system and snow mode make the work relatively easy. It's not quite as fun as ripping the 370Zki down a snowy road, but it's entertaining in its own right. The biggest difference between the two is just how normal the Snow Patrol felt. We're sure there are some Armadas or Patrols out in the world with very similar modifications.
Like the Z, this isn't a hint at some future production model. It's just Nissan having a bit of fun with their biggest SUV. Come see both cars at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.