Nov 21, 2019

Nissan Armada JBy Glen Konorowski

It is not that often I drive as big a vehicle as the Nissan Armada but I love the nautical name and figured we should look at it. I have to admit it took a few hours to get reoriented to a vehicle of this size and height. Now, if you are not that familiar with the Armada it is Nissans largest SUV in their lineup. You could compare it to the Chevy Suburban or the Ford Expedition.

The test vehicle I was given was the Platinum Captain’s Chairs (another nautical name if there ever was one) model, which means this vehicle has seating for seven instead of eight by having bucket seats in the second row. As the name implies, this model is fully loaded with just about everything one could desire in a luxury vehicle. The rear Captain’s Chairs, better described Bucket Seats were a very nice feature. The back seat passengers get basically the same luxury seats as the driver and passenger including heated seats, which is nice on leather in the winter. As you can see, we were at Whitby YC after haulout when the temp dropped big time.

As a mentioned earlier, the back seats are comfortable and recline which I loved. The Platinum is also equipped with a third row bench seat that has a 60/40 split configuration and these seats also recline. With these seats up cargo space is hampered, so if you are heading to the boat your space for really big gear will be limited.

Speaking of those seats, the front buckets also have cooling built into them for summer driving, again another nice feature with leather faced seats.

The dash was easy to read and all the controls no hard to reach. For the most part the touch screen was easy enough to use, but for any more complex controls I highly recommend looking at the manual as it will save a lot of time and it is much safer that learning while one is on the move. Overall the fit and finish of the Armada received top marks from me.

Under the hood is where the Armada steps away from many other SUVs as it is equipped with a stump pulling 5.6L double overhead cam V8 with 390hp. Trust me, the Armada had no problems pulling away quickly and exceeding the speed limit in micro-seconds. As we learned last week, his can be a little exciting in snow but the traction control is quick to react. In rough road conditions the Armada is equipped with a low range so overpowering the road/dirt is not an issue. The transmission is a 7-speed automatic with a 2-speed transfer case.

All this under hood power is best put to use towing and the Armada doesn’t disappoint. With a towing capacity of 3856kg (8500lb.) and has a vehicle tongue capacity/weight of 386kg (800lb.) which is pretty good for a SUV that rides this well due in part to its independent rear suspension. If you do have a good sized load and a trailer weighing the Amada down, it also has a self leveling suspension.

MarinaStopping power consists of 13.8-inch rotors on all corners which I found great pulling the vehicle down from highway speeds effortlessly. Like all modern vehicles the Armada is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Tires on tis Nissan are 275/60R20s on all four corners plus it also has a full-sized spare so your traveling won’t be disrupted looking to fix your spare.

Upon first glance I thought I would be a little overwhelmed with the size of the Armada as I don’t drive big vehicles that often. But as I mentioned it became easy to maneuver about on the road and move about parking lots in hours. The commanding height gives you a great view of the road. Even though it is a tall vehicle, with its running boards getting in and out was not a problem.

With a starting prices of $65,900 and our test vehicle in and about $73,000 one gets a vehicle that is more than capable of towing with a nice ride, something vehicles in this class can’t always give.

Price: $65,900 base $73,000 as tested

Engine: 5.6L double overhead can V6

Hp: 390@5800

Torque: 394@4000

Transmission: 7-speed automatic/2-speed transfer case

Fuel Consumption: 17.7L/100km city & 12.9L/100km. highway


Glen KonorowskiGlen Konorowski is a life long automotive enthusiast and automotive journalist for 35-years. He also claims to be former Commodore of the Monty Carlo Yacht Club!