2017 Nissan Armada

300-nissanabsolutely! AUTO REVIEW | By Steve Kursar –

The 2017 Nissan Armada is a truly all-new, large-size SUV. The only thing carried over from the previous model is the name. It’s pretty amazing that Nissan rolled the dice and completely abandoned the past. But, they may be onto something pretty special here.

The old Armada debuted in 2003 and was Nissan’s first foray into the large SUV market. Built on the same platform as the Titan, their first entry into the full-size truck market, the Armada seemed massive but drove a lot smaller than the competition. It handled well, and the 5.6 liter V8 made it move fast, but initial quality was downright lousy. Nissan never invested in upgrading it to keep up with what the other automakers were doing. By the 2015 model year, the Armada felt hopelessly dated, and a 2016 edition never appeared.

It’s all different now, because the 2017 Armada is awfully attractive. It’s no coincidence then that it shares a lot of DNA with a vehicle that is popular in many upscale suburban garages, its luxury cousin the Infiniti QX80. That’s good news for Armada buyers, because the new, top-of-the-line Platinum edition is very much a near-luxury model that should steal customers from the more expensive Infiniti.

This new Armada no longer rides on a Titan platform. It is still body-on-frame, but it is now based on the Nissan Patrol, a global truck that is not sold in North America. For such a big SUV, it handles great, feels smaller than its actual size and doesn’t drive boaty. There is a third row capable of hauling two small kids, and second row seating can be ordered with captain’s chairs or a bench seat.

With a base MSRP of $44,400, there is only one engine choice, a 5.6 liter engine that shares the same displacement as the previous model, although Nissan assures us that this engine is completely new. They did seriously bump up the horsepower from 317 to 390, and tow capability is rated at 8,500 pounds. Mated to a new 7 speed transmission, fuel economy is hardly stellar at 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

Nissan is clearly looking to capture a bigger share of the highly profitable, full-size SUV segment with this new Armada. By giving it more than just an obvious physical resemblance to its popular luxury counterpart, Nissan could have a winner in the 2017 Armada.

Follow Steve Kursar at KursarOnCars.blogspot.com.