For years, Nissan seemed content playing a supporting role in the full-size SUV market with the first-gen Armada, but the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada proves that Nissan is finally ready to step up to a lead role in this resurgent segment.
Going up against full-size heavyweights like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition was going to be a hard battle, so Nissan looked to one of its biggest and toughest vehicles it currently offers to use as the basis for the 2017 Nissan Armada – the global Nissan Patrol. While many American drivers might not recognize the Patrol name, this full-size SUV is a key offering in many of Nissan’s global markets, and, of course, it has been the basis for the INFINITI QX56/QX80 since the 2011 model year. And speaking of this plush sister SUV, the 2017 Nissan Armada I drove was decked out in the fully loaded Platinum trim level bringing all the luxury of an INFINITI with the identifiable styling of a Nissan.
2017 Nissan Armada Exterior:
The overall size and shape of the 2017 Nissan Armada is identical to the INFINITI, but Nissan has managed to keep a distinct styling between the two related SUVs by giving the Armada the same design as the foreign-market Patrol. This includes a more squared-off nose with larger, more rectangular headlights and a bold, oversized chrome grille similar to the Nissan Titan. There are still plenty of similarities between the Armada and QX80, though, like the identical sheet metal, tacky-looking fender vents and the angled rear quarter windows. There’s lots of chrome on the outside of this SUV, but oddly enough, the only exclusive styling feature that sets the Platinum trim level apart from all other 2017 Nissan Armada models is the 20-inch wheels with a dark finish, which paired well with the Forged Copper paint job.
2017 Nissan Armada Interior:
Step inside the 2017 Nissan Armada, and you’ll see that while some sacrifices have been made, this is one of the most comfortable and well-appointed interiors in its segment. Overall interior size is down slightly compared to the previous Armada, but the accommodations are far nicer. In this Armada Platinum particularly, the materials are extremely high-end and there are only a handful of differences that separate this trim level from the QX80. The tan leather seats add a touch of style to the eight-passenger cabin, and other standard features on the Armada Platinum include heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding third row, heated steering wheel and the Family Entertainment System, which features dual seven-inch displays built into the front seat headrests and wireless headphones. The only option available on the Armada Platinum, which this model didn’t have, is the Captain’s Chairs Package ($450) that adds second-row bucket seats with a sizeable, fixed center console.
Perhaps the one downfall of the 2017 Nissan Armada is the smaller dimensions that result in a tighter third-row accommodations and less cargo volume than its predecessor (16.5 cubic feet behind the third row and 95.4 with the second and third rows folded flat), but overall, this interior is far superior to the old Armada and even outdoes the Armada’s current-yet-aging competition.
2017 Nissan Armada Performance:
Like the previous Armada, the 2017 Nissan Armada has just one powertrain option, but like the rest of this SUV, the engine and transmission are more up to date. Under the hood is a 5.6-liter direct-injected V8 rated at 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, which is a huge improvement over the 317-hp and 385 lb-ft of torque delivered from the previous V8. On top of that, the five-speed automatic has been ditched in favor of a more modern seven-speed automatic improving acceleration as well as efficiency with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway**. Combine this fuel economy with the 26-gallon fuel tank, and the 2017 Nissan Armada is capable of driving 468 miles on a single tank of gas.
On the road, the 2017 Nissan Armada has an exceptionally smooth ride with an impressively quiet cabin, and the steering feel makes this big SUV easy to maneuver in tight quarters. With a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds, the 2017 Nissan Armada is down slightly compared to its predecessor, but being based on the Nissan Patrol now means that the new Armada is now better suited for off-road driving with a beefed-up four-wheel drive system to go with an approach angle of 20.9 degrees and departure angle of 22.3 degrees.
2017 Nissan Armada Safety:
The 2017 Nissan Armada (or the closely related QX80) has yet to be crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but there’s no denying the level of safety built into this family-sized SUV. For starters, there is standard airbag protection for all three rows, but the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum steps things up with standard high-tech safety features like Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), Backup Collision Intervention (BCI), Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Lane Departure Prevention/Lane Departure Warning (LDP/LDW).
2017 Nissan Armada Overall:
Despite essentially being six years old (more than half of the age of the first-gen Armada), the 2017 Nissan Armada is a vast improvement in every aspect over its predecessor and makes this big Nissan a worthy rival alongside its Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota rivals. This is exactly the SUV that Nissan needed to become a true player in the full-size SUV market with a mix of ruggedness and luxury – this is, after all, the same vehicle as the plush INFINITI QX80 as well as the affordable, go-anywhere Nissan Patrol.
With a starting price of $44,900*, the 2017 Nissan Armada costs thousands of dollars less than the Chevrolet Tahoe, while the $57,590* Armada Platinum is a value proposition in the full-size luxury SUV set. As tested, this particular 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4×4 came in at $58,685 costing about $7,000 less than a GMC Yukon Denali.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Nissan dealership and test drive the 2017 Nissan Armada today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.