Rumors of the old-school, full-size SUV's demise have been greatly exaggerated — especially as gas prices have remained low. Even as crossovers become the go-to choice for families across the country, a bigger, more capable SUV such as the 2017 Nissan Armada still holds a lot of appeal. If you need to tow something sizable (or with greater ease) while also hauling about people and their stuff, an old-school SUV is still the best way to go. Plus, the Armada's substantial ground clearance is bound to come in handy as well if wherever you're going requires bouncing over a few rocks.
The previous-generation Armada was related to Nissan's Titan pickup, but this year's Armada now shares its bones with the Infiniti QX80, which is actually called the Nissan Patrol in other global markets. Nissan says the new Armada's body-on-frame architecture is stiffer and more rugged, and it comes with a new 390-horsepower V8 engine. However, it's really inside where the completely redesigned 2017 Armada displays its greatest advantage over the competition. Essentially, here's your chance to get an Infiniti at Nissan prices. Inside, a high-quality cabin is standard, and you don't have to load it up with equipment to make it seem more luxurious than the competition.
The Armada specifically stacks up well to the segment's best-sellers, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon twins. It has more refined road manners, greater off-road capability, and a more usable third-row seat and cargo area. The latter two items still aren't great, though, so if people-hauling is a key priority, a Ford Expedition or several big crossovers might be a better bet. Then there's the matter of fuel economy. Although the Armada's V8 provides surprisingly quiet and sufficiently gutsy power, you'll shell out a lot more to Shell in the course of a year than you would with the Tahoe or Expedition. Overall, though, the Nissan Armada is a far more compelling SUV in 2017 than it was previously. If you're shopping for a big and capable SUV, it's not to be missed.
Standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera. A blind-spot monitoring system, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking for both frontal and rear collisions are optional on the SL and standard on the Platinum. The Platinum also comes standard with blind-spot intervention and lane departure warning and intervention systems that can steer you out of harm's way should you fail to heed their warnings.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV built on a trucklike, body-on-frame chassis. It seats eight people standard, while second-row captain's chairs that lower capacity to seven are optional on the range-topping Platinum.
The standard SV trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare, automatic LED headlights (low-beam only), roof rails, side steps, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated six-way power front seats (with two-way power driver lumbar), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a reclining second-row bench split seat and a 60/40-split third-row seat. Standard technology features include Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB media player interface.
The optional Driver package adds to the SV a power liftgate, foglights, a power third-row seat, an auto-dimming mirror and a trailering package.
The SL trim level includes the Driver package items plus 20-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming heated mirrors, remote engine start, automatic wipers, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel and an enhanced 360-degree top-down parking camera with moving object detection/warning.
The SL can be equipped with an optional sunroof and the Technology package, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward and rearward emergency automatic braking, and a blind-spot monitoring system.
The range-topping Platinum comes standard with the SL's optional equipment and adds different 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, leather door trim, a blind-spot intervention system, and a rear-seat entertainment system that include two 7-inch headrest-mounted displays, a DVD player and two USB ports. The Platnium's optional second-row captain's chairs include a center console.
Every 2017 Nissan Armada is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is paired to either rear-wheel drive or an optional four-wheel-drive system with low range. A limited-slip differential, hill start assist and a tow mode function are also standard.
Nissan estimates that the Armada will return 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway) with all-wheel drive. By comparison, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition return 18 mpg with rear-wheel drive.
Properly equipped, the 2017 Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Big SUVs have a reputation for being a bit loud and uncouth, with roaring V8 engines and blunt, bricklike bodies noisily moving through the air. The 2017 Nissan Armada avoids this reputation. Yes, it has a V8 engine, but it's smooth and impressively quiet, moving the heavy Armada forward without much fuss.
When cruising down the road, the Armada is also pleasingly free of the sort bouncing and shimmying over bumps typically associated with this class of vehicle. It is decidedly less trucklike in that regard. However, the Armada is still very trucklike compared to a large crossover such as the Dodge Durango or Ford Explorer. Its heavy steering and heavier curb weight make it comparatively cumbersome to drive.
The differences between the 2017 Nissan Armada's interior and that of the costlier Infiniti QX80 are negligible. Frankly, this says more about the Nissan, which boasts virtually the same design, materials quality and overall ambiance as the luxurious QX. Indeed, there is a much smaller gap present between these two mechanically related siblings than what you'd find between the Chevy Tahoe/Cadillac Escalade or the Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator.
Of the few differences that exist, though, the standard six -way driver seat stands in contrast to the greater adjustability offered by the eight-way seats found in the Infiniti, as well as in most competitors. Drivers might have a difficult time finding an ideal seating position. The seats aren't necessarily a deal-breaker, but it's certainly something to look for during your test drive.
Comfort is also limited in the third row. Although there is plenty of space between it and the second-row seatback, the seat cushion is mounted too low to the floor. It's still better than the Chevy Tahoe's rather woeful third row, but the Ford Expedition's is much better. The same can essentially be said in terms of overall cargo volume (95.4 cubic feet total, 49.9 behind the second row, 16.5 behind the third). The Ford offers more space (regardless of how many rows are raised) as does the Toyota Sequoia, but the Armada has a bit more overall space than the Tahoe and a lower liftover height as well.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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