The 2017 Nissan Armada launches the second generation of Nissan's flagship SUV and is based on the Nissan Patrol, which has it's own brand of fame overseas. Here are our six takeaways from a week behind the wheel of this Japanese-made full-sized SUV.
IT’S GOT PLENTY OF POWER
Beneath the hood of Nissan’s full-sized SUV is a massive Endurance 5.6L V8 engine churning out 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft. of torque, all through a seven-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive system.
Fuel economy for the Armada rings in at 12.9 highway and 17.5 city for L/100 km, although those figures will move depending on your driving style and what’s in/behind the truck.
Towing is maxed out at a class leading 8,500 pounds, which is plenty for your trailers and boats, and when you fill the tank to its 98.4 L capacity, you’ll do so on regular gasoline.
Acceleration is strong and the engine will respectably roar as you climb up to highway speeds.
The curb weight hovers close to 6,000 pounds and the powerful engine does strong work in moving the Armada through both urban and rural landscapes.
IT (THANKFULLY) ONLY COMES IN TWO TRIMS
Where some vehicles come in with close to a dozen trim options (base, base-mid, mid, mid with technology, high, etc.) creating confusion with too many choices, Nissan has made it simple by offering only two trims for the Armada: SL and Platinum, starting at $64,248 and $69,998 respectively.
I was given the Platinum as the tester and the only added charge was $135 for metallic paint on the Forged Copper colour. While the SL comes nicely decked out with plenty of features (we’ll get into that later), the highlights of what you get in the Platinum trim are climate controlled front seats, blind spot intervention, lane departure prevention and second row rear headrest with a 7" monitor DVD system.
There’s the option to get either captain’s chairs in the second row or a bench seat, depending on whether you want eight or seven seats (go with the seven and give folks in the second row, most likely your children, some space.)
IT LOOKS BETTER THAN ITS UPSCALE SIBLING
Let me start by saying I’m a fan of nearly the entire current Infiniti lineup. When it comes to the Armada’s luxury sibling, Nissan’s offering has more of a modern attractiveness opposed to a futuristic odd-looking and odd-shaped vehicle. The Armada’s front end is nicely shaped with its V-shaped LED lights, smooth design lines, 18 or 20 inch wheels (bigger isn’t always better compared to the 22 inch wheels on the QX80) and while there’s no mistaking it for anything else on the road, it’s doesn’t scream “look at how big I am!”
Starting with cargo space, because you’re probably not shopping an Armada for bragging rights, this Nissan serves up 470 litres of space behind the third row, 1,404 behind the second row with the third row folded and a whopping 2,692 litres of space with the second and third rows folded. Whatever it is you need to haul, chances are the Armada will happily accommodate you.
Fit and finish throughout are well done, especially up front. Nissan’s second generation flagship SUV has a subtle elegance to its appearance. The centre console starts with an eight-inch colour screen and flows down with essential buttons for audio and HVAC controls before flattening out where the gearshift and drive-type controls go. Personally, there’s a bit too much wood-finish for my taste, but I can see how some would enjoy the appeal.
The seats are quite comfortable and everything is well within reach for the driver and smartly laid out, which make for easier long-haul road trips (or a regularly scheduled one hour drive north on the 400 that turns into a four hour ordeal with traffic).
For a massive vehicle, the Armada’s drive quality is exceptionally good. There’s no rough and tumble shifting of gears. In fact, I was surprised at how quiet urban driving was and at how smoothly the gear shifts were.
Nissan says: ""Library level" interior noise levels (at idle) are achieved through the use of acoustic glass on the windshield and the front side windows, as well as through expanded use (versus the previous generation) of sound absorption materials. A new windshield design also helps reduce wind noise.”
Most of my 600 km of driving was done solo but I did have to make a stop at the printers to pick up a few dozen boxes of the magazine, all of which easily fit in the Armada. With the added weight, there was still minimal body roll and the V8 engine still accelerated and stopped quite well through both the city streets and highway routes with Mississauga’s best magazine covering the interior.
AN ARMADA OF SAFETY FEATURES
The available safety features for the 2017 Armada include class-exclusive Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and Forward Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, and class-exclusive Blind Spot Intervention. Also, RearView Monitor and the class-exclusive Around View® Monitor help when parking in tighter spots, allowing you to see what’s immediately surrounding the vehicle.
Enjoy the full gallery below: