The big idea behind the Armada -- Nissan's long-stretched and luxuriously appointed full-size SUV restructured for 2017 in dazzling second-generation rendition -- is big-ness.
Armada of 2017 rises from the sturdy body-on-frame structure of Nissan's global go-anywhere Nissan Patrol SUV with a 121.1-inch wheelbase and a tip-to-tail measure of 208.9 inches -- it's more than 17 feet long and well over six feet wide and six more to reach the roof.
Open one of four cabin doors, and you'll find a cavernous space with room for as many as eight passengers on three rows of seats. There are twin buckets in front, a second row with fold-flat 60/40-split 3-place bench (or optional captain's chairs) and a standard third-row 60/40-split 3-place bench that folds into the floor to expand the generous rear cargo bay.
Despite the big dimensions of this package and the big firepower of Nissan's Endurance V8 engine lurking below a taut strafed hood, Armada stocks user-friendly equipment and rather cushy cabin appointments. It's surprisingly easy to steer, acting agile on pavement as well as dirt or snow when equipped with optional 4-wheel drive (4WD) equipment.
To motivate such a behemoth requires massive muscle and the Endurance V8 -- assembled at Nissan's Tennessee engine plant -- does just that.
The longitudinally-mounted engine, constructed with an aluminum block and heads, displaces 5.6 liters and comes with DOHC (dual overhead cams), four valves in each cylinder, direct injection of fuel and the VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) advanced valve control system. It delivers 390 hp at 5800 rpm and big torque rising to 401 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.
Tied to the engine is an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with MSM (manual shift mode) and SRC (synchronized rev control).
When outfitted with a tow rig, the 2017 Armada earns a trailer tow rating of 8500 pounds.
The optional 4WD equipment with Auto/2WD/4H/4LO modes normally runs in rear-wheel 2-wheel-drive (2WD) mode but can instantly distribute the engine's torque between front or rear wheels, depending on pavement conditions and the potential of tires to slip, with as much as half the torque available at front wheels when the rear wheels slip.
A 2-speed electronic part-time transfer case and 2.70:1 4LO gear ratio enables the Armada driver to switch between automatic all-wheel-drive, full-time 4WD in high range or 4WD in low range for crawling over rough terrain.
All 2017 Armada editions carry an independent double-wishbone suspension front and rear and 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist, plus a VDC (vehicle dynamic control) device with a traction control system which automatically checks lateral skidding on slippery pavement.
For 2017 issues, the Armada presents a bold and aggressive exterior design, the revised 8-place passenger compartment with added standard features and extensive optional driver-aided technology equipment.
Nissan offers the Armada SUV with either 2WD or 4WD mode for all three trim variations -- entry-issue SV, up-level SL, and luxurious Platinum.
All versions provide such standard gear as LED low-beam headlights and signature LED daytime running lights, fully power-adjustable and heated front bucket seats, front center console with a 12-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate system. There are power controls for windows and door locks, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start, Nissan Navigation System with 8.0-inch color display, a RearView Monitor, Bluetooth hands-free phone system and a 13-speaker Bose audio kit with AM/FM/SXM/MP3/CD.
Options include the Captain's Chairs Package (second-row captain's chairs and console solely for Platinum edition), a Driver Package (foglamps, power liftgate, and trailer towing equipment), Moonroof Package. There is a Technology Package (Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist and Forward Emergency Braking, Around View Monitor, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Prevention/Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Blind Spot Intervention and Backup Collision Intervention).
We estimate that Nissan's price structure for 2017 Armada models begins around $44,000.