2006 Armada New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Armada is big and powerful, capable of towing heavy trailers, hauling eight passengers, and traversing rugged terrain or deep snow.
Based on the Titan full-size pickup, the Armada is as big as a Ford Expedition, and it's longer than the Toyota Sequoia or Chevy Tahoe. Armada easily accommodates seven or eight passengers in a roomy cabin that's comfortable, convenient and nicely appointed. The often-used second row offers limo-like roominess. Both rear rows fold flat giving the Armada enormous cargo capacity. The Armada is in many ways an American truck. Designed in California, the Armada is built at Nissan's recently built $1.4 billion factory in Canton, Mississippi.
Armada 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 for a full-size SUV. 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.
For 2006, the Armada benefits from several enhancements, but is largely unchanged.
The Nissan Armada comes in SE and LE trim, and both are well-equipped. All Armada models come with the V8 engine and a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Armada comes standard with three rows of seats and, for 2006, the third-row seat folds in a 60/40 split.
SE ($34,500) and SE 4WD ($37,300) come with dual-zone 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 ($39,800) and LE 4WD ($42,600) 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. New for 2006 are heated power folding mirrors with auto dim and integrated turn signals. Also, the factory audio system can now play MP3-formatted CDs. 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 ($3,400) with a navigation system, rearview video monitor, and 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 ($40,800) 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. The tow package comes standard on 2006 Armada SE Off Road models. Off-Road versions also feature Seton leather seating surfaces, six-way power adjustment for the front-seat passenger, Bose audio, fog lamps and the tow package. 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). 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 whenever Reverse is selected; we strongly recommend it as it can help alert the driver to children be.