2017 Nissan Armada: Nissan’s flagship SUV has ruggedness wrapped in luxury


Nissan’s full-sized SUV Armada continues to be the rugged and fully appointed flagship of Nissan’s SUV fleet. With the introduction of the all new 2017 model the Armada is taken to a new era. Previous Armada models were based on the Titan pickup, the new version takes it base from the formidable Patrol. Known around the globe as a rugged and reliable vehicle with a glorious history the Patrol platform is a perfect foundation for Armada. The Patrol may not have the same recognition here in the States as it does globally; it lends its legacy to making the new Armada a rugged yet refined SUV.

According to Nissan, families who move into a full-sized SUV are looking for a vehicle meets their present needs as well as their future possibilities. As more and more SUVs seem to be moving toward a sedan like uni-body base the 2017 Armada remains with the body on frame construction that is 20 percent stiffer than previous version. The magic is Nissan engineers have given the new Armada the personality of excellent ride comfort and handling of a refined vehicle you would find on a uni-body, yet at the same time given this Nissan the ruggedness and abilities adventurous families desire.

2017-nissan-armada-frt-1Continuing to offer a wide range of possibilities for active families the 2017 Armada is available in three models. Beginning with the SV that offers a feature laden value in a full sized SUV there is a mid-level SL version with the Platinum Armada slotted into the highest offering. A number of packages offer additional value with many features that buyers have asked for.

All models receive a more refined 5.6-liter V-8 gasoline engine that is coupled to a seven-speed automatic transmission. This new engine produces 390 horsepower, up considerably over the previous iteration. Torque is also increased to 394 lb-ft. The 2017 Armada has a tow rating of up to 8,500 pounds.

Nissan takes hits for it’s less than thrilling fuel economy numbers, yet most2017-nissan-armada-rr owners say if you own a full sized SUV you’re not worried about fuel economy, it’s the room and capabilities they deem most important and what they look for.

All models are available in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and while there remain many buyers who opt for two-wheel drive it is expected that more than 50 percent of Armadas will be outfitted with Nissan’s four-wheel drive system.

We experienced the 4×4 version on the highway, city streets and off-road trails and feel 4X4 would be our choice. No surprise there! We have been accused of being more adventurous than the average bear, so wanting four-wheel drive is not something we will negotiate.  All four-wheel drive Armada’s are equipped with an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case. The system is controlled from the driver’s seat via a switch with AUTO/2WD/4H/4LO settings. In the Auto setting the vehicle remains in rear wheel drive until it senses conditions that warrant four-wheel drive distributing power to the wheels with traction. The others are pretty self-explanatory.

Fold the 2nd and 3rd row seats down and the Armada offers cavernous storage.

Fold the 2nd and 3rd row seats down and the Armada offers cavernous storage.

Stretching the body making the new Armada just a little longer and wider offers passengers more room. Three row seating provides seating for eight and still plenty of storage space for cargo. Optional captain chairs are available for the second row reducing occupancy to seven but offering the convenience of a walk through. Beyond the roomy accommodations the interior is quieter thanks to the efforts of engineers to make the drive train less noise and the use of acoustic glass in windshield and front door side windows, all to keep noise outside not encroaching into the passenger compartment.

We want to give Nissan a big pat on the back for continuing to keep power2017-nissan-armada-pwr outlets forward of the gear shift. As marketing folks continue to be influenced by the misconception that millennials buy new vehicles, power outlets are being pushed further into hide outs like the center console. But wait, there remains a large number of folks who prefer to have outlets easily accessible and near the front dash area for such things as radar detectors. Yes, Virginia, there are many drivers who rely on such devises.

The exceedingly good off-road personality is achieved without a penalty to comfort and luxury. To be competitive in the full-sized SUV market you have to offer more luxury with each model, and the new Armada handles that task handily.

The exterior design receives styling that is meant to make an elegant aggressive impression. The  Nissan  V-motion grille dominates the front end which includes standard combination LED/halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights. It makes its presence known on the highway and in town.  New front fenders include functional side air vents. Even though this is a large SUV it is fairly nimble in getting in and out of tight spots if you keep your head about you and watch those mirrors or in Armada’s case the display screen.