The refreshed SUV breaks cover before its Chicago debut.
Okay, so we were half right on this one. We said you should care about the 2016 Chicago Auto Show in part because a new Nissan Armada was bound to be shown there. We were right about that, but what we were wrong about was that it would be based on the new Titan pickup. Nissan's new Armada is actually based on the Patrol, the SUV's awesome twin brother sold globally. Fortunately this switch is for the better as the 2017 Aramda looks miles more modern and rugged than the boxy and boring SUV its replacing.
The biggest change is in the looks department. The body-on-frame SUV looks menacing, part of which might be due to the fact that the wheelbase lost 2.1 inches. It's also shorter, sitting 2.2 inches closer to the ground. However, it has grown wider by 0.6 inches and the overall length is up 1.2 inches. Think of the 2017 Armada as the automotive equivalent of a short body builder. Under the hood is a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 good for 390 horsepower. All that action is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the outgoing five-speed auto, with rear-wheel drive standard and four-wheel drive optional. An interesting thing about the engine is that while it's the same size as the outgoing Armada's, new technology makes it mightier.
Said technology includes Direct Injection Gas (DIG) and Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) systems. Three trim levels are on offer: The SV, SL and Platinum. That's unchanged from the current setup, which means you'll pay a pretty penny just hop into the base model SV. However, this bad boy seats eight and has standard features that include heated front seats, an 8.0-inch color infotainment center and a 13-speaker Bose sound system. Nissan is also promising "Library Level" quiet in the cabin. Trademark it! If you plan on using the 2017 Armada for more than grocery runs rest assured that it's more than capable of hauling ass with a towing capacity rated at 8,500 pounds.
We have been decrying the rise of SUVs for what feels like an eternity, but models like the new Armada give us hope. It has retained its rugged body-on-frame design, has 4WD on offer and a tough look. Sure it'll probably be crap on gas, but it'll also live up to the "sport utility" part of its designation. At least we hope. Pricing was not announced but Nissan said the 2017 Armada would arrive in dealerships this summer.