by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
If you’re in the market for some full-size family fun in the sports utility class, you might want to take a gander at the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD.
It’s had a complete makeover, following in the footsteps of Nissan’s Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue. Armada, as the name suggests, is the largest and most powerful vehicle in the Nissan fleet (or portfolio).
Whether it’s performance, technology, safety, comfort, utility or simply size and girth, the Armada is in every measure Nissan’s flagship model. But unlike its predecessor, which was based on the Titan full-size pickup, the new Armada design traces back to the Patrol, one of Nissan’s most beloved global vehicles.
What, you say?
“The Nissan Patrol nameplate goes back to 1951, and its reputation as a global workhorse is unparalleled – whether as a frequent support vehicle to the United Nations’ peace-keeping efforts or as a three-time class winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “While the new Armada is intended primarily for family adventures here in North America, Armada owners will benefit from its underpinnings as a strong, durable and authentic full-size SUV with ruggedness to spare.”
All models are powered by a 390-horsepower, 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that delivers up to eight passengers, lots of cargo – or some combination of both – to its destination. The third-row seats fold flat with the push of a button. The second-row captains’ chairs fold flat in a couple of quick, manual steps.
At one point during the week I moved a long gazebo box from Home Depot and two additional passengers at the same time. Use your imagination. Be creative.
A suite of available safety and security features includes class-exclusive predictive forward-collision warning, backup-collision intervention and an around-view monitor with moving-object detection system.
Armada will be offered in three high-content grade levels – SV, SL and Platinum – in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations. In addition, the new Armada offers an exceptional array of standard features, including Nissan Navigation with NavTraffic and NavWeather information via an eight-inch color display, heated front seats and 13-speaker Bose audio system.
Inside, the new 2017 Armada combines style, roominess and premium interior comfort – including special emphasis on quietness and quick interior cooling and heating. The roomy Armada interior offers both best-in-class, second-row headroom of 40 inches and best-in-class, second-row legroom of 41 inches.
My tester included a DVD family entertainment system with dual 7-inch, head-restraint DVD monitors, USB port, VTR jacks, two wireless headphones and remote controller. The wireless headphones offer three types of virtual surround modes (cinema, music and game) to match optimal sound for each media.
My full-grown son and ever-young sister kept themselves entertained with a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” DVD during a recent trip to Camano Island. Your children are in for a treat.
The available all-mode four-wheel-drive system features Auto/4H/4Lo modes, electronically controlled part-time transfer case and 2.70:1 4Lo gear ratio. Under normal driving conditions, the system operates in two-wheel drive mode, but it can distribute torque to all four wheels when road conditions warrant.
I felt in complete control during our October monsoons, even when I saw other vehicles experiencing hydroplaning along I-5.
There’s plenty more to brag about, but you’ll have to experience them for yourself on your very own test drive.
2017 NISSAN ARMADA PLATINUM
BASE PRICE: $59,990
AS TESTED: $61,435
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.