2004 Armada New Car Test Drive
The 2004 Nissan Armada is an all-new full-size sport-utility vehicle that's every bit as big as a Ford Expedition. Based on the new Nissan Titan full-size pickup, the Armada is actually a little larger than the Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon.
Armada seats seven or eight people. The interior is comfortable, convenient and luxurious. Three rows of seats are provided, with limo-like roominess in the second row. Nissan claims best-in-class rear legroom and we believe it. The back seat looks and feels much roomier than the Expedition, which isn't exactly cramped. Both rear rows fold flat giving the Armada enormous cargo capacity.
Equipped with a powerful V8, the Armada is impressive underway. Nissan's new 5.6-liter engine delivers strong torque for quick acceleration and the ability to pull trailers of up to 9,100 pounds. A smooth five-speed automatic transmission adds to the responsiveness of the 32-valve double overhead-cam V8.
Handling is impressive as well. The four-wheel independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering give the Armada a direct and steady feel, whether cruising down the highway, hustling through the hills or parking in a crowded lot. Armada was designed in California and is built at Nissan's brand-new $1.43 billion factory in Canton, Mississippi.
About that name: Initially called the Pathfinder Armada, it's now simply called simply Armada. That's good, but this full-size SUV has absolutely nothing to do with the Nissan Pathfinder, a mid-size SUV. (Nissan will be introducing an all-new Pathfinder for 2005.) Whatever you call it, Nissan's new full-size SUV is superb.
Nissan Pathfinder Armada comes in one size, extra-large. It's available in SE and LE trim, both of which are well-equipped models. Armada comes standard with three rows of seats and all models come with the V8 engine. Each can be equipped with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
SE ($33,300 or $36,100 with 4WD) comes with adjustable lumbar support for the front seats and eight-way power adjustment for the driver, second- and third-row bench seats, an in-dash six CD changer, cruise control, power windows, power mirrors, power locks with keyless entry, air conditioning, auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio control buttons, running boards, privacy glass, flip-out rear quarter windows, a roof rack, and five-spoke wheels with 18-inch tires. The SE can be equipped with the Bose package ($750); a leather package ($2,350); a Sunroof package ($3,350) that includes leather seats; a Journey Package ($3,950) that includes a sunroof and second-row bucket seats with a removable center console; and a Tow package ($650).
LE ($36,100 or $40,600 with 4WD) comes with leather upholstery, a heated driver's seat, a memory system for the seat, mirrors, and adjustable pedals, second-row captain's seats, Bose audio, puddle lamps, power rear quarter windows, and 18-inch tires on six-spoke wheels. Options for the LE include an Upgrade package ($600) with power rear lift gate and power front passenger’s seat; a sunroof ($1600); a second-row bench seat (no charge); and a Technology package ($3,900) with a navigation system and dual-zone climate controls.
A DVD-based overhead entertainment system ($1,500) is available for any Bose-equipped Armada. Also available is a choice of XM or Sirius satellite radio ($400). Available accessories include a grille guard ($590) and cargo tray ($70).
The SE Off-Road model ($36,450 for 2WD, $39,250 for 4WD) features Rancho shock absorbers, a lower final drive ratio, heavy-duty cooling system, skid plates to protect the underside of the vehicle from damage while venturing off road, and seven-spoke wheels with 17-inch off-road tires designed to help absorb the travails of off-pavement travel. Off-Road versions also add Seton leather seating surfaces, side-impact airbags for the front seats, six-way power adjustment for the front-seat passenger, Bose audio, and fog lamps. A sunroof and second-row captain's chairs are also available.
Standard safety equipment includes roof-mounted side-impact curtain airbags for all three rows, shoulder harnesses for all seating positions, Vehicle Dynamic Control (an electronic stability control system), and tire-pressure monitors. All models have power adjustable pedals and sonar-based rear proximity (park-assist) sensors. Armada comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake Assist.