First Look

Before The Drive: Nissan Armada

The Patrol finally comes to American Shores as a Nissan.

Introduced in 2003, the Titan based Nissan Armada is finally getting a second generation. The 12-year-old SUV has long been Nissan’s stagnant entry into the full-size SUV category. The Nissan Titan, the Armada's sibling, just underwent a full redesign, so logic suggests the updated for 2017 Armada would share the same underpinnings and powertrain. Logic is wrong, and this is good. The updated Armada is now based on the Nissan Patrol – the Toyota Land Cruiser rival seen most frequently under UN banners and flying up Saudi sand dunes.

The US gets the Patrol already, though under the Infiniti flag as the QX80 – meaning that the updated Armada is the first state side incarnation of the Patrol wearing a Nissan badge. Basing the updated Armada on the Patrol means the Armada has gained a few pounds – around 125 to 300-lbs over the previous generation according to Nissan. Equating to a portly 5600 to 6000-pound curb weight. Luckily the Armada will share some powertrain options from the Titan. The 5.6-liter direct-injection V8 touts up 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a seven speed automatic transmission.

No word as of yet if the Titan’s 5.0-liter twin-turbo Cummins Diesel V8 will make an appearance but we are keeping our fingers crossed. Length has gone up by 1.2 inches for a total of 208.9 and width increases by just 0.6 inches. Being based on the Patrol wheelbase has shrunk 2.1 inches and the Armada now sits 2.2 inches lower. Being based on the Patrol chassis, the frame-rail width has dramatically increased from 2.4 to 3.9 inches resulting in a 20% increase in torsional rigidity. The new Armada could not be more timely, as low gas prices in the US means SUV sales have surged.

The previous Armada only etched out a 1.5% share of the full-size SUV market. 2015 saw Nissan sell only 13,000 Armadas, down 15% over 2014. No word on pricing as of yet though we expect it to be more competitive with Chevrolet’s Suburban and Tahoe and less so with the $83,825 Toyota Land Cruiser. The Patrol based Armada should easily outclass the GM Suburban family off-road. With a 3.35:1 crawl ratio, off-road capability is more inclined toward the aforementioned Land Cruiser.The 2017 Armada will be offered in three variants starting with the base trim SV model. Navigation, heated seats, and a rearview camera all come standard. The SL and Platinum variants feature a further list of amenities including a tech-packed safety arsenal.

Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, predictive collision assist, and emergency automated braking are just a few of the new features. The Armada features three rows of seats, housing up to eight people and has a towing capacity of 8500 lbs. Seeing a variant of the Patrol on American shores is certainly something to be excited about, though we seriously hope Nissan considers putting in the Cummins V8 for proper trail-adventuring goodness. Expect to see the all new Armada in super market parking lots this summer.

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Nissan Armada
Starting MSRP
$45,600
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