Jon Rosner, Fri, 5 May 2006 08:00:00 PDT
Do you supersize when you order at McDonalds? Were you a linebacker on the football team? Would you like to have been? Do you ever need to tow something big? This puppy has over 9,000 pounds of towing capacity. If you answered yes to any of these questions then do I have an SUV for you!
Delicate is a word that will never be used to describe the 2006 Nissan Armada. Massive even feels a bit understated. From the hefty slab of stainless that works as a front bumper to the 265-70 R18 mud-slinger tires on thick five-spoke alloy wheels bigger equals better is the motto. This SUV needs the running boards set into each side, otherwise did you really want to step up over 21 inches to get in? This is one big five-door box.
The interior offers plenty of room for four linebackers and three well-sized adults or two adults and six largish teenagers, but only if you leave their luggage or sports gear behind
Or put it up on the roof. Or you can flip the second seat forward, pull the surprisingly accommodating third row seat down and voila, room for five and one weeks worth of luggage. The plastics that make up the interior are nice, but not decorative. They are slanted more toward an industrial utility way of thinking.
The leather-wrapped wheel has a nice heft to it and leaves plenty of room to see the easily-read gauges. To the left of the wheel is the really useful electric rear liftgate button. To the right, below very simple controls for the radio, heat and air lay two electric outlets and buttons for Tow Mode.
You could stuff a football into the armrest except that out test model had a DVD player tucked into one corner. Boy did that come in handy too. Just flip down the ceiling-mounted screen, pop in a DVD and turn it on. Ahh, the grace of silent peaceful children. They have their DVD and you have your favorite radio station or CD to listen too, what a pleasure to not hear the whining. How much is this feature? Let me ask you this. If you have kids then what is the value of what sanity you have left?
First impressions in coming out of a small car and getting into the 2006 Nissan Armada feels like you are climbing into the cab of a locomotive, and at 5,600 pounds, driving it felt that way too. But it felt a lot smaller and more maneuverable after about a half-hour on the road.
The five-speed automatic has a stump-pulling first gear, smooth change-ups and huge amounts of torque for good acceleration. But that is to be expected from a 5.6 liter 32 -valve V-8 that produces 305 horses and 385 foot pounds of torque with 90% of that available from 2,500 rpms. The 123 inch wheelbase gave it a ride that was surprisingly good, and when a full-sized Ford truck drifted into my lane forcing me to make a quick-flick move to avoid impacting.
The 2006 Nissan Armada moved left and right without showing any desire to roll over and play dead. Yes, I pushed left and right pretty fast in order to not upset the chassis too much, on the other hand the 2006 Nissan Armada really responded very well. Parking was about the same as with a full-size van, tall, wide and long and you can't get into every space and expect to be able to open the doors. The EPA rates the 2006 Nissan Armada at 13/19 and we saw about 12 mpg in mixed dry weather driving, but at least that's on regular unleaded fuel.
The 2006 Nissan Armada is a workhorse plain and simple. Comfortable, utilitarian and very pleasant to drive. A great choice if you need a truly substantial body to cover all of your requirements.