New Car Review

2017 Nissan Armada: First Drive Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$27,490
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$25,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$26,425
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$26,490
RELATED READING
See all Nissan Armada articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Russ Heaps August 2016

When considering the heft of the 2017 Nissan Armada, remember that Americans love honkin'-big SUVs. In the world of big-brute utility vehicles, size does matter -- and the bigger, the better. Having said that, the redesigned Armada, although measurably larger on the outside, is actually a bit smaller inside than the outgoing version. You probably won't really notice the downsizing until you reach the third-row seat, which isn't nearly as functional in the new Armada as it was in the previous edition. Cargo space is down some, as well.

The major takeaway is that the reborn Armada, while still uber-accomplished, is refined to the point that it flirts with some big luxury SUVs.

Pedigree

When the first generation debuted in 2004, the Nissan Armada was closely aligned with the Titan full-size pickup truck. With the majority of its underpinnings borrowed from the Titan, it was always more Clydesdale than thoroughbred. Likewise, Infiniti's big QX56 SUV, although gussied up to reflect its luxury mandate, also traces its DNA back through the Armada to the Titan. All three vehicles were assembled in Mississippi.

When it came time to create the second-generation QX56, which is now the QX80, Nissan decided to divorce it from the Titan, instead basing it on Japan's rugged and well-regarded Nissan Patrol. Marking the second generation of the Armada, it's not totally surprising that the 2017 Armada is also based on the Patrol, not the Titan. Moving Armada assembly to Japan, where both these SUVs are now built, was a contributing factor for its 2016 hiatus.

Roster

Following the family script, Nissan offers the Armada in three grades: SV, SL and Platinum. All three can be fitted with all-wheel drive for a $2,900 premium, and prices are up across all three trim levels. Find a new 2-wheel-drive 2015 Armada SV on a dealer's lot, and you can buy it for less than $39,000 -- you'll need $44,400 to get into the 2017 version. Topping out the lineup is the Platinum grade at $57,090, with the SL settling into the middle slot at $49,150.

Accommodations

A fine pickup truck, the Titan is still, well, a pickup truck. The first-generation Armada never strayed very far from its Titan roots in either its manners or its passenger experience. This isn't so with the 2017. Following the upmarket QX80 in adopting the Patrol's infrastructure, the Armada's cabin is head and shoulders above the previous version. Let's call it the "QX80 lite."

From behind the wheel, we were hard-pressed to tell the difference between the QX80 and the Armada. Only the badging gave it away. And that's not because the QX80 doesn't drip with luxury; it's because the Armada is just that upscale. There's virtually no plastic -- it's all soft-touch surfaces and quality materials no matter where you feel or look. Even the entry-level SV comes standard with goodies such as a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and a 13-speaker Bose-infused audio system.

On the road, the Armada is remarkably quiet thanks to extra sound-deadening insulation, as well as acoustic glass in the windshield and front side windows.

Taller than its predecessor, the refurbished Armada provides gobs of headroom. In fact, Nissan claims best-in-class second-row headroom and legroom. Front-seat occupants enjoy about as much elbow room in the new SUV as in the last one. In terms of passenger space, however, that's where the good news hits a wall: Other than headroom that's increased by about half an inch, the latest Armada's third row suffers from significantly less legroom, by about 4 inches, and shoulder room is down by roughly 3 inches. Only on a dare would three average-size adults attempt to shoehorn themselves into that stingy space to fulfill the Armada's 8-passenger promise.

Capability

Although it's still 5.6 liters in displacement, the 390-horsepower V8 is new to the Armada. That pony count is 73 better than the old V8, giving it the best hp in its class. Peak torque is up marginally to 394 lb-ft -- this is plenty of grunt, particularly with the eager 7-speed automatic transmission. Nissan recently provided an opportunity to pilot the Armada on- and off-road near Carmel, California. Acceleration was enthusiastic, and downshifts came quickly when passing slower traffic. Although it's big, the Armada is a bit more agile than expected.

Capable of pulling 8,500 pounds when properly equipped, the Armada isn't just a pretty face. Although no longer based on the Titan, its construction is still body on boxed frame. Its new godfather, the Patrol, is revered around the world as a serious off-pavement trekker. Not afraid to get a little mud on its boots, the Armada performs quite impressively in the wild when equipped with all-wheel drive.

Autonomy

Most of today's buzz in the automotive world revolves around self-driving vehicles and autonomous driver-aid features. The Armada isn't without its fair share of technology, inspired by the ongoing race to autonomous vehicles.

The Platinum and SL trims come standard with front and rear sonar parking assist and 360-degree around-view cameras.

Although you must opt for the Platinum grade to get all the other driver-aid systems available, a few of them can be added as options to the SL trim. Included in the full suite of advanced features that comes standard on the Platinum are a blind spot monitoring system, blind spot intervention, backup collision intervention, predictive forward-collision warning, forward emergency braking and lane-departure warning with lane-departure prevention.

Optional for SL versions are a blind spot monitoring system, backup collision intervention, predictive forward-collision warning and forward emergency braking.

Finale

Historically, this big SUV hasn't been a huge seller for Nissan -- it certainly hasn't posed a threat to the domestic big boys. The 2017 Armada, however, is a giant leap forward in refinement, capability and technology. It just may steal some sales from the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Ford Expedition.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

Find a Nissan Armada for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$27,490
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$25,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$26,425
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Nissan Armada SV
Used 2017 Nissan Armada
$26,490
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Nissan Armada: First Drive Review - Autotrader