The Nissan Armada has three rows of seats accommodating up to eight people. A new feature called Intelligent Rear View Mirror gives the driver a view that would otherwise be obscured by headrests, passengers or cargo. (manufacturer photo)

The Nissan Armada has three rows of seats accommodating up to eight people. A new feature called Intelligent Rear View Mirror gives the driver a view that would otherwise be obscured by headrests, passengers or cargo. (manufacturer photo)

Nissan Armada lives up to its name in power, presence, size

The full-size, eight-passenger SUV has a new Platinum Reserve model for 2018.

Technically, an armada is a fleet of warships, not an individual vessel. But Nissan’s name for its full-size sport utility vehicle, Armada, accurately suggests a commanding presence.

With an overall length of 208.9 inches, a width of 79.9 inches, height of 75.8 inches and ground clearance a bit above 9 inches, Armada is gigantic. Given these dimensions it could have looked like a freight container except for the creative talents of Nissan’s designers, who have magically made it look elegant.

After the introduction of a new, second-generation version for 2017, Armada is basically unchanged for 2018. However, there are some good additions. All Armada trim levels now have, as standard features, NissanConnect Services, an 8-inch touchscreen display, HD radio, SiriusXM Travel Link with a three-year trial period (a satellite radio subscription, sold separately, is required), enhanced voice recognition, hands-free text messaging, and additional USB ports.

There’s more: a new Platinum Reserve model is available, adding visual interest to the Platinum model with Dark Chrome exterior trim (grille, door handles, mirrors), 20-inch Dark Chrome wheels, two-tone leather seats with unique stitching, unique Black Quartz and premium wood tone interior trim, and a Platinum Reserve emblem embossed on the center console lid. By the way, “unique” in this context isn’t a synonym for “special.” It means different from the other Armada models. Not that the unique features aren’t special or anything.

Lastly, for the first time on any Nissan vehicle, the Armada Platinum and Platinum Reserve models have a feature called Intelligent Rear View Mirror. A high-resolution exterior camera on the rear liftgate projects an image onto an LCD monitor built into the rearview mirror. The driver can change to the intelligent mirror with the flip of a switch at the bottom of the regular rearview mirror. The backup camera display still shows in the touchscreen, but as you know, safety rules dictate that drivers must look around when backing up, camera or no camera. Headrests, passengers or cargo can obscure a driver’s view out the back window, but Armada’s handy intelligent mirror can be summoned to override the sketchy situation.

My tester was the Platinum Reserve model with four-wheel drive. Equipped with a powerful V8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission, and lavishly enhanced with all manner of comfort, convenience, connectivity, safety and infotainment technology, my Armada advanced on its destinations while I luxuriated at the helm.

The infotainment system could use a little more intuitiveness, and to fully appreciate the Armada I had to drive in a state of denial about its fuel economy ratings, which are 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined.

The Armada handles like a vessel on winding roads. Highways are definitely its bailiwick.

2018 NISSAN ARMADA PLATINUM RESERVE 4WD

Base price, including destination charge: $63,385

Price as driven: $66,695

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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