New Nissan Patrol might go retro as a Bronco rival
Nissan says work is underway on a new Patrol and that it could be styled as a retro throwback, much like the popular new Ford Bronco.
Nissan has confirmed it is working on the new generation Patrol and told us that it’s considering a design that includes throwbacks to the original Patrol’s round headlights and boxy looks.
Speaking today about the new Z Proto (400Z), Nissan senior vice president of global product planning, Ivan Espinosa said work that had started on the new model and a retro-inspired theme is one of the options when Practical Motoring asked about the new Patrol potentially using its heritage in the way new the Z has for design.
“I cannot share any detail,” said Espinosa. “But I can tell you we are starting to work on the next one, and there is an interesting – again same as with Z – there is a very interesting array of options and avenues we are exploring, and there’s always you know, the debate whether we push it hard into the future, or we do a balance.
“There is always this tension between our planners and designers, and it is a very interesting dynamic we have and now everything is out there and we might do something either very futuristic but you could think of doing something futuristic but at the same time you keep some of the iconic elements of the very original Patrol, for example the round eyes, the very straight lines at the front, so it is what we are now massaging around those things,” Espinosa said to us.
The fact that Espinosa directly went to describe specific elements of the original model suggests to us that this is certainly one avenue being explored. Round headlights point to the original Datsun Patrol of the 1980s, and also to the very popular GQ Patrol which continues to service duties in the bush around Australia. The original was available as both a three and five-door 4×4.
We ponder if Nissan plans for the new model to appeal to both old and new customers, in the way the new Ford Bronco does with its heritage styling with new technology. Earlier in the conference, Espinosa told media that designing a car so that it would pull on the heartstrings of older customers who remember the original (in the instance of the Z), yet having a contemporary edge that appeals to new young buyers is the key. This is the plan with the new 400Z, obviously, but potentially with also the upcoming GT-R flagship and the Patrol – three cars which Espinosa says are the most iconic to Nissan.
“I cannot tell you too much on the GT-R, yes we are thinking about what we should do with the GT-R, yes we are always thinking.
“As I said before, this car the GT-R, together with the Patrol are the most iconic and representative of the company and these are nameplates we are constantly looking at in terms of what, how and when should we do them.”
We certainly love the idea of the new Patrol having some hero flashbacks to the boxy original. In fact, we allude to as much in our spiel about how Ford should reconsider bringing the Bronco to Australia. The new Patrol is a 4×4 battleship, and there’s room for something more adept to off-roading and bush tracks.
In our opinion, we think the current Patrol could continue in a similar fashion, but a new model named Safari would be the retro throwback in addition. Like when Toyota offered both the Landcruiser and the FJ Cruiser. Earlier this week during an interview with Z Proto product specialist, Hiroshi Tamura-san, the legend behind the GT-R mentioned the Safari name coincidentally when talking about current Nissan designs.
“The GT-R or Z looks different to [future Nissan styling],” he said when asked about why the new Z isn’t consistent with new-look design language from Nissan. “But some Nissan global products do, like how we make Safari or Patrol of course,” he said before talking about Z Proto again.
However we look at it, the new Patrol is a long way off, but we can’t help but feel there’s just as much support for a retro Nissan Patrol as there is for the retro 400Z.