2017 Nissan Armada Review

While previous versions of the Nissan Armada were based on the Nissan Titan full-size pickup, for 2017, the Armada shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Patrol—one of the world’s most highly respected sport utility vehicles. Previously offered here in the States between 1962 and 1969, the venerable 4x4 returned as the model formerly known as the Infiniti QX56 (today’s QX80) in 2011. 

External similarities between the 2017 Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80 include the doors, rear fenders and roof. Differentiating factors include the front fenders, primary grille and the hood. The rear liftgate and bumper are also unique to the Nissan. A fender grille on the driver’s side serves as an air intake, while the matching one on the passenger side one is there for symmetry. In a throwback to the classic days of heavy-duty 4x4s, the Armada employs body on frame construction, which should bode well for its durability.

While we’re discussing the exterior elements, one thing you’ll really appreciate is a pair of running boards, as one literally climbs into the Nissan. At 75.8 inches, the Armada is right up there with the Chevy Suburban (74.4 inches) and the Ford Expedition (77.2 inches) in overall height. The Nissan also boasts a 121.1-inch wheelbase, which translates to an exceptionally spacious interior.

The dash arrangement is logical, if a bit busy, so familiarization comes readily with a bit of study. In typical Nissan fashion, buttons on the center stack, a dial and pointer system, or the touchscreen can be used to access the features of the infotainment system. The controls, upholstery and trim are of nice quality, which lends a pleasant ambiance to the interior. Further enhancing the environment, a 13-speaker Bose audio system is standard equipment.

Seating is comfortable and power adjustable for both the driver and front passenger. Captain’s chairs are an option for the second row. With them, you’ll get a removable center console—though you’ll also reduce seating capacity from eight to seven. The third row folds flat into the floor, while the second row is designed to fold with a child seat in place for added convenience. Cargo capacity is 16.5 cubic feet with the third row deployed, 49.9 with it folded and 95.4 with both the second and third rows folded.

Power comes from Nissan’s aluminum 5.6-liter V8, configured to produce 390 horsepower and 394 ft-lbs of torque. This is up from 317 horsepower and 385 ft-lbs for the previous iteration of the engine. The transmission is a seven-speed automatic (up from five) with both high and lo ranges for four-wheel drive equipped Armadas. Rear drive is standard. Towing capacity is 8,500 pounds. Rear-drive fuel economy is quoted at 14 mpg in the city, 19 on the highway and 16 overall. The 4WD system sacrifices one mpg across the board. Given the 26-gallon fuel tank, it’s reasonable to expect 360 miles of range with rear-wheel drive.

On the road, the power increase is welcome, as we’re talking nearly three tons of SUV here. Base models come in at 5,576 pounds, while a fully loaded 4x4 Armada registers 5,963 pounds. Still though, acceleration is more than adequate and the V8 emits a contented burble as opposed to a strained grumble.

In offroad situations, the 2017 Nissan Armada is highly competent, maneuvering over reasonably sized obstacles with ease. Nissan has equipped the Armada with hill descent control to help you keep the big fella on a tight leash when dealing with steep terrain. While it will likely seldom be called upon, the 2017 Nissan Armada has considerable offroad potential—in addition to exceptional comfort, size and towing capability.

On the street, ride quality is smooth, both on the highway and secondary roads—regardless of the abuse to which the surface has been previously subjected. Harshness is minimal on uneven pavement. Handling, as you’d expect for such a large vehicle, involves a few degrees of body roll in turns. But here too, manageability is the watchword. You’ll always feel in control. In town, Nissan’s around view camera system makes docking the Armada anxiety-free. Pricing starts at $45,395.