CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, California — Nissan expects the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum full-size SUV, its most expensive version, to continue as its most popular Armada model.
Shipments to Nissan dealers located in the Western portion of the United States began earlier this week. All U.S. dealers are expected to have the 2017 Armada by the first week of September.
The top-of-the-line Platinum comes standard with such features as leather seating surfaces, power sliding moonroof and a DVD entertainment system with two 7-inch screens. That model is expected to account for an estimated 65 percent of sales, followed by the SL, at 23 percent, and the base model, the SV, at 12 percent.
"We have a very strong price and value position in the marketplace with many class-leading features and fresh styling for the segment," Nissan's Phil O'Connor told Edmunds when asked why the Platinum model will be top seller.
O'Connor is chief marketing manager for trucks and SUVs for Nissan North America. The Platinum trim was the most popular trim on the previous-generation Armada.
O'Connor expects Armada buyers will split evenly between men and women, with both groups in their early 40s, married and having at least two children. Buyers are expected to be college-educated and have a household income over $135,000, according to the automaker.
The two-wheel-drive SV model is the lowest-priced Armada, carrying a $45,395 sticker price including a $995 destination charge. All models are available with four-wheel drive. The Platinum model with two-wheel drive is $58,085, and the four-wheel-drive Platinum is $60,985 including destination charge for each model. Eight-passenger seating is standard on all models.
O'Connor said full-sized SUVs such as the Armada appeal to buyers needing a big SUV for their lifestyle, such as towing a boat or a horse trailer or carrying a large family.
"Buyers simply want a large vehicle, they want a presence, they want the safety that comes with that size," O'Connor said. "The fact is they are not willing to necessarily compromise on their vehicle regardless of the cost of operation."
For example, the price of gasoline is not an issue with these buyers, unlike other vehicle segments.
Nissan expects about 250,000 full-sized SUVs to be sold annually in the United States with the Armada accounting for about 4 percent to 5 percent of that market, or 10,000-12,500 units.
The redesigned Armada's roots come from the Nissan Patrol SUV, as does the Infiniti QX80's. They share a body-on-frame platform, most components and some sheet metal. The Patrol is sold in the Middle East, South America and other global markets; all three SUVs are assembled in Japan. The previous-generation Armada was assembled in Mississippi and shared a platform and components with the previous-generation Titan pickup.
All Armada models are equipped with Nissan's new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 394 pound-feet of torque. Towing is rated at 8,500 pounds. The 2016 Armada's V8 has 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard.
Rich Miller, director of Nissan's truck and SUV product planning, said there are no plans to offer the Cummins diesel V8 that is available in the Titan XD pickup.
"The Cummins engine is a very large, heavy engine" and too tall to fit in the Armada's engine compartment, Miller said.
Standard equipment on the lowest-priced model, the Armada SV, includes front bucket seats with power lumbar support, six-way power adjustable driver and passenger seats, heated front seats, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, navigation system and other equipment.
Seven exterior colors are available with the three-coat Pearl White expected to be the most popular, followed by black.
Edmunds says: If the past is any guide to the future, most Nissan Armada buyers will continue to select the model with the longest list of standard equipment.