Thirteen years after it was initially released, an all-new Nissan Armada has arrived. Everything about the 2017 Armada has been upgraded, although its overall dimensions are nearly the same as the outgoing model. It benefits from a new engine, a new transmission and an expanded array of safety features.
The Nissan Armada is a traditional full-size SUV that’s been fully redesigned for 2017. It provides room for seven or eight and is available in SV, SL and Platinum trims.
While the first-generation model was based on the architecture underpinning the Nissan Titan pickup truck, the new Armada is now closely related to the Infiniti QX80. A new V8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission are standard in all models, and paired with rear- or four-wheel drive.
The redesigned Armada retains the massiveness of the previous generation, while bringing in contemporary design elements found in other Nissan models, including the Titan pickup truck and the Pathfinder crossover.
Up front, you’ll find the latest interpretation of Nissan’s recognizable V-Motion grille. Oversized headlights with LED daytime running lights and available fog lights enhance its face. Along the profile, Nissan embellishes the Armada with chrome ornamentation, including vent ports and window trim. All models come with dark roof rails and side steps, as well as aluminum-alloy wheels set within all-season tires.
At the rear, all trims feature an automatic closing liftgate except with the base Armada SV. A spoiler, oversized combination lamps and additional chrome touches add flash and pizazz.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights and power-folding outside mirrors with turn signal indicators. Available features include fog lights, auto-dimming outside mirrors, heated side mirrors with puddle lights, 20-inch alloy wheels and a power-sliding sunroof.
Cavernous interiors go hand-in-hand with big SUVs, and in this area the 2017 Armada does not disappoint. The base Armada features three rows of seating, with split-folding bench seats located in the second and third rows.
All seating positions are plush and supportive, but leg- and hip room is limited in the third row, and this space is best suited for two individuals. Upgrading to middle-row captain’s chairs (available in the Platinum trim only) provides a roomier interior, but at a loss of one seating position. Access to the third row with the second-row bench seat is easy as the seats tip and flip forward.
The Armada’s cabin is clean and quiet, and it features upscale materials such as leather, wood and chrome. The forward sight lines are excellent with ample glass present. A well-ordered interior means all driver controls are within easy reach. For example, the four-wheel drive knob is located between the seats adjacent to the transmission stick, along with two cup holders and storage compartments.
The center stack is marked by the color infotainment system display on top. Beneath that are several rows of switches for the climate control system and for seat temperature management.
A long list of standard features gives the Armada a premium feel. All models come with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity key with push-button start, power accessories, four 12-volt power outlets, dual-zone climate control, rear air conditioning with rear controls and heated front seats. There’s no shortage of cubbies for your beverages, since the Armada provides 13 drink holders.
Options include leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats.
Cargo capacity behind the third row isn’t too outstanding, measuring in at just 16.5 cubic feet. This swells to nearly 50 cubic feet with the third row folded, and you’ll have just over 95 cubic feet of storage capacity with the second and third rows folded flat.
The 2017 Armada comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that creates 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard, and buyers have their choice of rear- and four-wheel drive.
The base Armada gets an EPA-estimated 14/19 mpg city/highway. Choose the four-wheel drive model and those estimates are 13/18 mpg city/highway.
Off-the-line acceleration is excellent and copious amounts of power are at the ready when passing. The ride is very comfortable and carlike, but you’ll need ample room to make turns since body roll is evident on twisting roads.
Off-road, this SUV is at home navigating gravel paths and mud pits. Even while crossing clay-laced bogs with more than a foot of sticky water present, not once did we need to switch the transfer case into low range to free the SUV from the mire. Still, the 2017 Armada has nowhere near the approach, departure and break over angles of a Jeep Wrangler. It also isn’t available with features you’ll find on the Toyota Land Cruiser, such as locking front and rear differentials or disconnecting anti-roll bars.
Fuel economy is this model’s weakest link. You’ll struggle to maintain 15 mpg, even on the highway (the previous model delivered similar results). You’ll struggle to go 400 miles on a single tank, despite this tank holding 26 gallons of regular gasoline.
The base 2017 Armada is equipped with a 13-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio. The audio system includes a subwoofer and an amplifier, delivering a pleasant and balanced listening experience throughout the cabin. All models come with a USB port and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
A navigation system with real-time traffic information is standard, and displayed on an 8-inch screen. The system is one of the better ones available, although it isn’t yet compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Platinum editions bring in a rear-seat entertainment system composed of dual 7-inch headrest displays, two pairs of wireless headphones, a video port and a remote controller. Consider this upgrade a must if you have youngsters and take long trips.
The 2017 Nissan Armada comes standard with a full complement of air bags, a rearview camera, a tire pressure monitoring system and traction control.
Optional safety features include an around-view monitor with moving object detection, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, forward emergency braking and lane departure warning and prevention.
The Armada SV starts at $44,400, while SL and Platinum models start at $49,150 and $57,090, respectively. Expect to pay roughly $3,000 extra for four-wheel drive versions, and add $995 for destination and handling.
Our Armada SL was the midrange model with four-wheel drive. It featured a Moonroof package ($800) and a Technology package ($1,770), bringing the final price to $55,615, including destination and handling.
The only significant upgrade on the Armada Platinum is the Captain’s Chair package ($450), bringing in second-row chairs and the attendant console. As a result, a vehicle like our test Armada would likely be the one we’d pick. It came with machined-alloy 20-inch wheels, heated front seats, leather and an around-view monitor. The Technology package also adds safety features such as blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning with emergency braking.
The all-new Nissan Armada is a solid alternative to the Toyota Sequoia and GMC Yukon, offering the latest technologies, all-new driver assistance features and the hauling and towing capabilities some consumers demand. Its girth matches that of its competitors, although without an extended wheelbase offering, third-row space is more limited than that of the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL.
If you don’t need a V8 or require 8,500 pounds of towing capacity, the Nissan Quest minivan or the Nissan Pathfinder SUV are suitable alternatives for families. Shoppers might also consider the Ford Expedition XL if they need additional storage space.