In the United States, the Nissan Armada has always been big, if not necessarily big business. Large as it may be, it’s always seemed outclassed by equivalents from domestic automakers. Overseas, however—particularly in the Middle East—it’s a big seller. Known in other markets as the Nissan Patrol, it’s been thoroughly refreshed for 2020. Does it preview the 2021 Nissan Armada we’ll get stateside? Let’s take a look at the changes and examine that possibility further.

Most obvious is the new front fascia, which brings an edgier, more angular appearance. It’s something of a reinterpretation of Nissan’s V-Motion styling language, particularly with the giant chrome V which lines the trapezoidal grille. The headlights take a big stylistic departure, now with a partially split design similar to what’s seen on other Nissans. The lower portion features more open sculpting to add to the visual interest.

Around back, it may not look like that much has changed, but a new taillight design adds sequential turn signal illumination. A new rear cargo door stamping was designed to accommodate those lenses. The rear bumper is reworked slightly to enhance airflow. Styling changes to the profile are few if any.

The interior is more significantly updated with new digital displays. A new infotainment touchscreen supplements the center control stack, which is surrounded by reconfigured HVAC buttons. The control knob is moved to behind the gear selector to make space for the double-screen arrangement, which also integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger display screen is fitted between the instrument dials to show the driver key vehicle information. Luxurious trim and upholstery apparently inspired by the GT-R are also available.

So, what does this all mean for American drivers interested in the 2021 Armada? Consider first that, while mechanically nearly identical, it has a different appeal in markets where it’s sold as the Patrol. Desert dwellers love the body-on-frame brute for being just as appropriate for blasting wispy sand dunes as it is for cruising skyscraper-lined boulevards. As such the style changes may not make their way to the North American-spec 2021 Nissan Armada three-row SUV; the vehicle has typically worn a slightly different look in other markets.

However, the additional interior displays will hopefully be added. They would do much to modernize the 2021 Nissan Armada and keep it fresh in the highly competitive segment. Nissan recently announced that the 2020 Nissan Armada carries over identically from the 2019 model year, save for the addition of heated outside mirrors and optional 22-inch wheels. Given that, a refresh next year would be a welcome change, but we’ll likely have to wait at least a few more months to learn what might be in store for Nissan’s biggest SUV.

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