2005 Armada New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Armada is truly the workhorse of the full-size sport utility class. With its powerful V8 and substantial body-on-frame design, it can easily handle rugged off-road family camping, pull a big boat or horse trailer, or just haul the gymnastics team and gear in comfort.
The Armada is big. It's as big as a Ford Expedition, and it's longer than the Toyota Sequoia and Chevy Tahoe. Armada can easily accommodate seven or eight occupants on any adventure trip. The cabin is comfortable, convenient and nicely appointed. Three rows of seats are provided, with limo-like roominess in the second row. Nissan claims best-in-class rear legroom, and the back seat looks and feels roomier than the Expedition's, which isn't exactly cramped. Both rear rows fold flat giving the Armada enormous cargo capacity.
Armada is based on the Nissan Titan full-size pickup and comes equipped with a powerful V8 that betters its competition in horsepower and torque. Stand on the gas and Nissan's 5.6-liter engine delivers immediate throttle response and quick acceleration. Rated to tow up to 9,100 pounds, Armada boasts the best towing capability in its class. 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 recently built $1.4 billion factory in Canton, Mississippi.
Introduced as a 2004 model, the Armada receives minor enhancements for 2005. Among them: availability of a power rear liftgate and an optional RearView Monitor that displays what's behind the vehicle on the navigation screen. New standard equipment includes driver and front-passenger active head restraints, seat belt pretensioners added to the first row; SE and LE models come with a higher level of standard equipment. Introduced as the Pathfinder Armada, it's now known simply as the Armada.
Nissan 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. It can be equipped with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
SE ($33,600) and SE 4WD ($36,400) come with air conditioning, 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 remote keyless entry, 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 premium audio system with steering wheel controls ($750); a Leather Package ($2,350) including Bose options; a Sunroof package ($3,750) that includes Leather Package options; a Journey Package ($4,350) that includes second-row bucket seats with a removable center console and Sunroof package options; and a Tow package ($650).
LE ($38,700) and LE 4WD ($41,500) add 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, six-spoke, 18-inch wheels, and full tow package. Options for LE include an Upgrade Package ($600) with power rear lift gate and power front passenger?s seat; a Sunroof Package ($1000) including Upgrade Package options; and a Technology package ($3,600) with a navigation system, rearview video monitor, and dual-zone climate controls plus Sunroof Package options. Two second-row bucket seats are standard, but can be replaced with a three-passenger second-row split bench seat at no charge which increases the seating capacity from seven to eight passengers.
The SE Off-Road 4WD ($39,550) features Rancho shock absorbers, a lower final drive ratio, heavy-duty cooling system, transmission temperature gauge, skid plates to protect the underside of the vehicle from damage while venturing off road, and seven-spoke 17-inch wheels to allow greater up-and-down movement in off-pavement travel, shod with brawny 285/70R17 all-terrain tires. Off-Road versions also add Seton leather seating surfaces, side-impact airbags for the front seats for head protection in roll-overs, six-way power adjustment for the front-seat passenger, Bose audio, and fog lamps. Also available is a sunroof ($1,400) which is also included with second-row bucket seats in the SE Off-Road Journey Package ($2,000).
A DVD-based mid-cabin overhead entertainment system ($1,600) is available for any Bose-equipped Armada. Also available is a choice of XM or Sirius satellite radio ($400). Available dealer accessories include a grille guard ($630), floor and cargo mats ($200) and cargo tray ($70).
Safety equipment includes curtain airbags for head protection for outboard passengers in all three rows, seat belt pretensioners for driver and front passenger, shoulder harnesses for all seating positions, Vehicle Dynamic Control (an electronic stability control system), and a tire-pressure monitor, all standard. All models have power adjustable pedals and sonar-based rear proximity (park-assist) sensors. Anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist are standard. Side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger are optional and we recommend getting them for the torso protection they can provide. Using a tiny video camera, the optional RearView Monitor displays an image of what's behind the vehicle onto the navigation screen.