2017 Armada New Car Test Drive
The 2017 Nissan Armada is all-new.
Thanks to King Phillip II of Spain, Armada is a word that's had massive nautical connotations ever since 1588.
However, at Nissan the word is strictly land-based, though the term massive still applies. Armada is a big sport-utility vehicle, with three rows of seats and plenty of V8 power. It dates to 2003, not quite as far back as the Spanish Armada, but a long time in the world of motor vehicles. And this is its first major makeover.
For 2017, the Armada name persists, but it surrounds an all-new vehicle. The engine seems familiar, but the foundations are new, new, that is, to the Armada. The original Nissan Armada rode the same chassis as the Titan full-size pickup. But the 2017 Nissan Armada redesign is based on the Nissan Patrol, a rugged SUV that's been trekking the wilds in other markets since 1951.
We should also add that the transition to Patrol foundations is not without precedent for the greater Nissan North America family. The Infiniti QX80 made the switch five years earlier.
The grille is the most obvious difference between the 2017 Armada and previous models, but the sheet-metal is all-new. The 2017 Armada is slightly longer and wider than before, though it's wheelbase is shorter. The all-new chassis is more rigid than previously.
The new cabin is attractive and soft-touch surfaces abound, and the Armada is quiet underway.
It has nice road manners, striking an appropriate balance between ride quality and handling, by large SUV standards. And it's capable over rugged terrain and primitive roads.
The 2017 Armada accelerates briskly and sounds good. It has quick throttle response and impressive passing power. Its 5.6-liter V8 has been re-engineered for 2017 with Nissan's latest variable-valve technology and delivers dramatically increased horsepower: 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This while continuing to run on Regular gasoline. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 13/18 mpg City/Highway. Towing capacity is increased to 8500 pounds.
The all-new 2017 Nissan Armada comes in three trim levels: Armada SV ($44,400); Armada SL ($49,150); Armada Platinum ($57,090). Rear-wheel drive is standard, four-wheel drive is optional ($2900).
Standard features include navigation with 8-inch touch screen, 13-speaker Bose audio, dual zone auto climate control, cruise control, roof rails (220-pound capacity), side steps, LED daytime running lamps, 8-passenger seating. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge of $995.)
Nissan's latest driver assist safety features, blind spot warning and intervention, back up collision intervention, lane departure warning and intervention, and adaptive cruise control with forward emergency braking, are standard on the top trim level, optional on the middle trim, unavailable on the base model.