2017 Nissan Armada Review - Room For Eight +VIDEO By Larry Nutson
2017 Nissan Armada
Room for eight
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
It’s Nissan’s Year of the Truck. What does that mean? In short, by the end of 2016, nearly 85% of Nissan’s truck and SUV offerings will be new. That amounts to more than 500,000 sold vehicles annually.
Nissan has already introduced a new full-size crew-cab 2016 Titan XD pickup. Now Nissan is rolling out an all-new 2017 Armada, a refreshed 2017 Pathfinder, and a 2017 Titan single-cab pickup. In September they’ll introduce a new SUV and in January a new crossover will come along.
We recently were hosted by Nissan at a west coast briefing on these three new 2017s that gave us a chance to experience them in both on-road and off-road driving.
The Armada is among the largest SUVs offered in the U.S. It’s well suited for folks with a large family who need a 3-row SUV, or need lots of space for various types of cargo and, more often than not, need to tow a good size trailer. The full-size SUV market is fairly consistent every year at about a quarter of a million units and it might just grow a bit on 2017. Nissan with its Armada hopes to capture some of that growth.
The body-on-frame Armada now employs a full-boxed frame that comes from the global Nissan Patrol SUV. There’s double-wishbone front and rear suspension with auto-leveling rear shocks. Powering the Armada is a new 5.6-L 390HP V8 driving through a seven-speed automatic. Max torque is up over the previous Armada with more torque at lower RPM and it stays flat over a wide range. There’s a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The 4WD system has a low-range and can send 50 percent of the torque to the front wheels when slip is detected.
The bottom line is, the ruggedness of the new Armada combined with the new powertrain give both better acceleration and fuel economy while it can tow up to 8,500 lbs. With just two on board acceleration is quite good, indicating plenty of reserve power for moving heavy loads or towing.
EPA test-cycle ratings for the rear drive Armada are 14 city mpg and 19 highway mpg. For the 4WD models the ratings are 1 mpg less.
The refined exterior now boasts Nissan’s signature V-motion front grille, LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights and fender-mounted front air intakes, the left side being for the engine intake.
On the inside the second row got more comfortable with increased headroom and legroom. The inside is quiet due to acoustic glass in the windshield and front doors. Nissan says the sound level, at idle, is lower than that of a library. Shhh!
Overall, the Armada’s exterior and interior are a big leap ahead of the outgoing model and really bring it into the realm of competing with the other big SUVs in the market. The 2017 Armada is down right good looking.
Safety has been ramped-up with many driver-assistance safety features that really help especially for safe, tight-space maneuvering. The around view monitor with moving object detection provides a 360-degree view while backing or moving forward at slow speeds. Lane departure and blind spot warning and intervention, backup collision intervention, forward emergency braking and intelligent cruise control are offered. All these new-technology safety features will help prevent accidental collisions and avoid possible injury and costly repair
All 2017 Armadas offer Navigation with NavTraffic and NavWeather information through Sirius XM subscription, 8.0-inch color display, heated front seats and 13-speaker Bose audio system. Depending on trim levels, luxury and comfort features abound.
Cargo space can grow from 16.5 cuft behind the third row to 95.4 cuft with both seat rows folded. By the way, the third row has a power fold feature that makes things nice and easy. And, second row seat backs recline.
The 2017 Nissan Armada is offered in SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels, each in either rear or all-wheel drive. Prices start at $44,400.
I spent about two hours driving in the Armada, half of that as the driver. We climbed hills, cruised some freeways, twisted around some mountain curves and meandered through farm country. Overall the Armada is really big and can be bit much to handle in tight spaces. It’s certainly not a crossover and is best suited for the wide open spaces.
Handling is good with an overall feeling of being in control. There’s some body lean in turns. However, the suspension does a good job to provide decent ride quality. Steering feel and effort was OK and probably well suited for both genders of drivers.
We drove the Armada on a man-made off-road course with steep inclines and alternating undulations. The stiff structure keeps everything in place and the available low-range gearing and hill descent control makes up and down inclines easy to tackle.
Nissan has lots of information and specs on the 2017 Armanda at www.nissnusa.com. Check out every other 2016 an 2017 SUVs here on www.theautochanel.com.
The Armada is big and perfectly easy to handle in the wide-open spaces. Drive it in an urban or big-city environment and you’ve got your hands full. But, it does have room for eight and can haul an awful lot of stuff.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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