The back seat passengers get basically the same luxury seats as the driver and passenger including heated seats, which is nice on leather in the winter.
It is not that often I drive as big a car as the Nissan Armada as a test vehicle. I have to admit that it took a few hours to get reoriented to a vehicle of this size and height. Now, if you are not that familiar with the Armada, it is Nissan’s largest SUV in their line-up. You could compare it to the Chevy Suburban or the Ford Expedition.
The test vehicle I was given was the Platinum Captain’s Chairs model, which means this vehicle has seating for seven instead of eight by having bucket seats in the second row. As the name implies, this model is fully loaded with just about everything one could desire in a luxury vehicle.
The rear “Captain’s Chairs” or better described “Bucket Seats” were a very nice feature. The back seat passengers get basically the same luxury seats as the driver and passenger including heated seats, which is nice on leather in the winter. Speaking of seats, the front buckets also have cooling built into them for summer driving – again another nice feature with leather-faced seats.
The dash was easy to read and all the controls not hard to reach. For the most part the touch screen was easy enough to use, but for any more complex controls I highly recommend looking at the manual as it will save a lot of time and it is much safer than learning while one is on the move. As mentioned earlier, the back seats are comfortable and recline, which I loved. The Platinum is also equipped with a third row bench seat that has a 60/40 split configuration and these seats also recline. With these seats up, cargo space is hampered, so if you are carrying about a hockey team, your space for big hockey bags will be limited. Overall, the fit and finish of the Armada received top marks from me.
Under the hood is where the Armada steps away from many other SUVs as it is equipped with a stump pulling 5.6-litre double overhead cam V8 with 390 horsepower. Trust me, the Armada had no problems pulling away quickly and exceeding the speed limit in micro-seconds. This can be a little exciting in snow but the traction control is quick to react. In rough road conditions, the Armada is equipped with a low range so overpowering the road/dirt is not an issue. The transmission is a seven-speed automatic with a two-speed transfer case.
All this under hood power the Armada doesn’t disappoint. The towing capacity is 3,856 kg (8,500 lb) and the vehicle tongue capacity/weight is 386 kg (800 lb), which is pretty good for a SUV that rides this well due in part to its independent rear suspension. If you do have a good-sized load and a trailer weighing the Amada down, it also has a self-levelling suspension.
Stopping power consists of 13.8-inch rotors on all corners which I found great pulling the vehicle down from highway speeds effortlessly. Like all modern vehicles the Armada is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Tires on this Nissan are 275/60R20s on all four corners plus it also has a full-sized spare, so your travelling won’t be disrupted looking to fix your spare.
Upon first glance I thought I would be a little overwhelmed with the size of the Armada as I don’t drive big vehicles that often but it became easy to manoeuvre about on the road and move about parking lots in hours. The commanding height gives you a great view of the road. Even though it is a tall vehicle, with its running boards, getting in and out was not a problem.
With a starting price of $65,900 and our test vehicle about $73,000, one gets a vehicle that is more than capable of towing with a nice ride, something vehicles in this class can’t always give.
MSRP: $65,900 base $73,000 as tested
Motor: 5.6-litre double overhead cam V6
Horsepower: 390 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft): 394 @ 4,000
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic/ two-speed transfer case
Fuel economy: 17.7 L/100 km city and 12.9 L/100 km highway
PHOTOS: NISSANUSA, NISSAN NORTH AMERICA - CARS.USNEWS.COM, PINTERES