Armada Docks in Chicago
The annual Chicago Auto Show is one of the biggest auto salons in the world, so it’s appropriate that Nissan chose this venue to debut the latest version of its largest SUV, the aptly-named Armada. Over the last three years Nissan has been updating its entire lineup of sport-utility vehicles, including the Pathfinder, Murano, Rogue and Juke — with Armada the final entrant in the redo rodeo.
Familiar New Look
The last of the Nissan SUVs to receive the brand’s new design styling, Armada features the now-familiar V-motion grille and signature LED running lights. Rear lights are much larger than the outgoing version, and are now LEDs as well. The entire body has a more sculpted look with a more streamlined feel than its predecessor — if that’s possible in a vehicle this big. The high-reach rear door handles have been relocated to the more traditional spots. Functional air-intake vents adorn the front fenders.
Body On Frame
Even though many redesigned SUVs have moved to more passenger-car-like unibody construction, the Armada remains a body-on-frame design capable of handling considerable cargo and towing duties. The new frame is 20 percent stiffer, which should improve handling as well as comfort.
The overall length of the Armada is 1.2 inches longer than the outgoing version; however, the wheelbase is 2.1-inches shorter. Width is practically the same — a 0.6-inch increase — and Armada is 2.2 inches shorter in height. Armada still accommodates up to eight occupants; although legroom diminishes slightly, it is still plentiful in a vehicle this size.
The Armada’s 5.6-liter V8 engine has been completely reengineered for a major boost in power. Output is now rated at 390 horsepower — that’s 73 more ponies than the previous version. Torque has increased as well, up to 401 lb-ft. All Armadas will be equipped with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings have not been announced, but we’d expect them to be competitive with other vehicles of this size. With this much power on tap, the Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Nissan equips the new Armada with a full suite of high-tech safety features. Most notable is the Predictive Forward Collision Warning system that can alert the driver to an impending obstacle based on the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, as well as of a vehicle travelling in front of the preceding one. This front radar system also powers Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking. Also available are Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning and Blind Spot Intervention.
Armada passengers will enjoy an updated interior that can be equipped with heated front- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, leather trim, power-folding rear seats, a large power moonroof and a high-end Bose audio system. A DVD entertainment system with dual 7-inch monitors and wireless headphones is also available. Armada retains plenty of functionality with nine cupholders, four bottle holders, two USB ports and multiple 12-volt power outlets.
Nissan boasts “library level” quiet at idle, thanks to acoustic glass and expanded use of sound-absorption materials. The new windshield is designed to reduce wind noise.
The 2017 Nissan Armada will be available with 2WD or 4WD in SV, SL or Platinum trims when it arrives in showrooms this summer. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date.