Review of: 2017 Nissan Armada 4WD 4dr Platinum Edition
2017 Nissan Armada Platinum: Nissan’s most luxurious car is a truck
By G. R. Whale
Oct. 11, 2016
Designed for the rigours of no-asphalt travel world-wide and concealing a posh three-row interior, Nissan’s Armada is their best trail SUV (a Frontier Pro-4X is best off road) and most luxurious ride. No surprise it costs as much as Maxima SL and Frontier King Cab Pro-4X combined.
Pros & Cons
- + Comfortable, spacious interior
- + Towing capacity
- + Styling
- - Fuel economy
- - No "utility" trim
- - Slow electric-folding third row
Be it Hermosa blue paint, dark wheels or an abundance of chrome, the Armada drew raves. I find the rear bumper too big—it will get scratched and you’ll get dirty leaning in to retrieve things, but truck styling on the front of a truck is far superior to Infiniti’s sports-sedan adaptation.
It’s big from mirrors and lug nuts to badges and airdams. An upright profile and ample glass area are SUV-honest, as are the integrated hitch, matching spare and steel underpinnings.
Armada arrives only loaded or fully loaded. They’re very nicely finished but I wouldn’t mind a middle grade for frequenting outdoors and real life more than malls and car washes. The only downsides to this chrome and polished-plank cabin are potential juvenile destruction and sunny days feel as if you’re tanning atop a mirror.
All forward five seats are comfortable—skip the captain’s chairs because the eight-seater’s more versatile for people and cargo—and elevated for a good view. Abundant audio/climate controls save touchscreening, drive controls abut the shifter, instrumentation is complete and clear, and there’s generous storage of various shapes.
Middle-row seats flip-up simply yielding fully finished access aft. The third row handles average adults for short trips, with plentiful overhead ventilation; powering down to a flat (not horizontal) floor is a 14.8-second trip holding the switch.
Cargo area is about 475, 1,400 or 2,700 litres as seats are folded—like Nissan, I’d rather squish luggage than people. A shallow bin hides tools under the floor; the spare is (outside) underneath.
Armada’s monochrome trip computer and non-BluRay DVD seem a generation or half behind but active safety systems are here. Proximity sensors both ends that display the appropriate camera ease size worries, just watch for trees or low roofs overhead.
SL and Platinum Armada come with intelligent cruise control, predictive forward collision warning and mitigation braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning; Platinum adds lane-departure warning and intervention. And they worked very well as I had just one false alarm so I never switched any of them off.
Of course if you can’t signal the lane-departure nanny is going to tell on you.
Although Armada lacks hydraulic body motion control of QX80 Limited and worldwide Patrols, it rides well—only leaving a sharp speed bump or step too fast brings a thud from behind. It doesn’t so much handle as go resolutely where you point it, with some body roll and tire squeal pushed to its limits. It’s also quite quiet—at 110 km/h you can hear the difference between flow-through and recirculation A/C even at the lowest fan speed.
A smidge of body-on-frame shudder seeps through on some surfaces, that being the price for an indestructible feel if you’re aware of tire sidewalls and fuel tank. Without foreign-market goodies like locking differential, body control, hill descent and multi-surface selection the Armada will struggle a bit on steep loose terrain and you’ll need some brake on descents, but you’d need something pricier and/or not so bump-absorbent to do much better.
The smooth powertrain accelerates the juggernaut with verve, even fully loaded, and the drive system seamlessly doles up to half the output forward. The faster you’re moving the faster downshifts arrive, and brakes didn’t seem to care what I threw at them. Steering is a strong suit with good feel, appropriate weighting and a decent U-turn for its girth.
Tow rating is north of 3,700 kg, which will slow it down, but it has the cooling and self-leveling to do it..
Alas, trucks are heavy, this Platinum weighing 2,615 kg empty; only the thirstier Sequoia is heavier. So consumption ratings are 17.5/12.9 l/100km, my edges were 19.3/12 and I averaged 15.1. At least it doesn’t want premium.
A $70,000 Armada is expensive, but everything is relative. A Sequoia Platinum lacking many active safety features is $71,000 and similar competitors more: Expedition $73,000, Tahoe and smaller Lexus GX $78,000, Yukon Denali $82,000. If you want another year of warranty, 2 extra speakers and 10 hp, active body control, analog clock and more expensive Hermosa blue paint, QX80 is $82,000. If you can stay in a lane and use iPads in back, I’d save $6,500 and get Armada SL.
Armada will carry a family, some gear and a 3,500-kg boat/trailer to your lake or vacation house in a fine degree of comfort and durabilty. But at this price and consumption if you’re not regularly towing or using four-wheel drive a Pathfinder or QX60 makes more sense.