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2017 Nissan Armada: Benched

Toting toddlers around town in a full-size SUV like the 2017 Nissan Armada is more fun than I ever expected. With its high ride height, you feel like king (or queen) of the road, cargo space is more than enough for things like strollers, scooters and extra snacks, and the powerful V8 engine just sounds super cool (file that under "things I never thought I’d hear myself say").

Our long-term Armada Platinum came standard with a second-row bench seat, though we could have opted for captain’s chairs with a removable center console. While it’s nice to be able to seat 8 passengers with the bench, when you have two kids in convertible car seats, the bench becomes a LOT less convenient. With two child safety seats installed, you cannot access the third row unless you climb in via the cargo area. This is okay if you have an older child who can climb in and strap him/herself into a booster seat, but if you have a younger child who needs to sit back there, it really won’t work. Likewise, if you have another family member (like Grandma, for instance) riding with you, they’d have to get in through the trunk. Thankfully, for $450 extra, you can opt for captain’s chairs and a removable console, allowing easy, minivan-like access to the third row. I’m a huge fan of this feature for parents with small kids.

I also have to say, the fact that the Armada even offers this option should make it a winner with families. There are so few vehicles on the market right now with second-row captain’s chairs and a clear path to the third row. If you don’t want a minivan, your choices are pretty limited. And many SUVs offer captain’s chairs, but they come with a center console that isn’t removable, basically defeating the purpose of captain’s chairs for parents with kids in car seats.

The 2017 Nissan Armada has proven to be a great daily driver for a mom like me with little ones, and we’ve made do with the bench seat. But the more I drive this brawny SUV, the more I think about getting one for my family … and I would order it with captain’s chairs and remove the center console in a heartbeat. Find a 2017 Nissan Armada for sale

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