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An armada usually refers to a large group of things, primarily a number of large ships. It's a fitting name for Nissan's first entry in the popular large SUV segment, and pretty much every aspect of it is size L or XL. If you like your SUVs heavy on power, then that large group of ponies under the hood will be just your thing. The Armada's robust V8 translates into lots of muscle and an impressive tow rating. And then there's the large group of cubic feet in the Armada's cabin -- this is a very spacious SUV that's also loaded with storage areas.
The downsides are unsurprising. Fuel mileage is atrocious, and the vehicle's size means that parking can easily become a white-knuckle ordeal. But if these drawbacks really bothered you, you wouldn't consider buying a full-size SUV in the first place. Yet the Armada hauls like a gorilla on steroids, and comes out on top in terms of sheer brute force. If brawn is not of paramount importance for you, though, we'd recommend looking at some seven-passenger crossover SUVs, which offer better comfort, refinement and fuel efficiency.
Current Nissan Armada
The Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV that seats up to eight passengers and wears a look best described as aggressive. With its menacing front fascia, and its bumpers and fenders bulging with the kind of mass associated with power lifters and gridiron gods, the Armada wears its brawn on its sleeve.
Buyers can choose from three trim levels. The base SV won't leave you wanting, offering side-step rails, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and rear-seat air conditioning. The SL trim adds 20-inch wheels, an auto-leveling rear suspension, a tow package, heated front seats and leather upholstery, while the Platinum level includes front parking sensors, a sunroof, power-folding mirrors, heated rear seats and steering wheel, driver memory functions, a DVD entertainment system and a navigation system with music storage.
The Armada gets its juice from a 5.6-liter V8 that cranks out 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The mighty engine facilitates a tow rating of 9,100 pounds and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. All Armadas have the option of two- and four-wheel drive.
The cabin's aesthetic is quite classy, with similarly intuitive controls as those found throughout the Nissan and Infiniti line. The truck's huge cabin makes for impressive head- and legroom. The third row offers high, stadium-style seating; legroom is adequate but short seat bottoms make this row one for the kids. Storage space is plentiful, with no shortage of overhead storage bins.
In our editorial reviews, we noted that the Nissan Armada's V8 allows for brisk acceleration. But the truck's heft quickly reveals itself in cornering maneuvers and braking. Still, the Armada offers a smooth ride and a pleasant driving experience, both on the highway and around town.
Used Nissan Armada Models
The current-generation Armada was introduced as an all-new model for 2004. It was initially named the Pathfinder Armada, but Nissan dropped the honorary prefix for the Armada's second year of production. There were two primary trim levels -- SE and LE -- until 2010 when the latter was split into the Titanium and Platinum trims. Available feature content did not change, but was merely reorganized. Prior to '10, front side airbags were not standard on the SE.
Other notable changes to Nissan's biggest SUV occurred in '08 with a minor exterior restyling and a major interior overhaul. Prior to that, the Armada's dash resembled a silver plastic boom box. New technology features like keyless ignition, Bluetooth and a hard-drive-based navigation system also debuted that year. Until '07 there was an SE Off-Road trim level that toughened things up for off-pavement adventures, with features like skid plates, a lower final-drive ratio and all-terrain tires.
Read the most recent 2013 Nissan Armada review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Nissan Armada page.