After replacing the Titan pickup truck, Nissan is turning its attention to the other ancient model in its lineup: the Armada full-size SUV. The new second-generation model made its world debut before the start of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show at a private media event.
For 2017, the Armada follows in the footsteps of its Infiniti QX80 cousin, and moves onto the Nissan Patrol platform. Length grows by 1.2 inches, width is up by 0.6 inches, but overall height decreases by 2.2 inches. The body-on-frame construction remains with thicker side rails providing the strength to let the Armada tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped. Nissan says the new body design is good for a 20 percent increase in stiffness.
A new 5.6-liter direct-injection V-8 churns out 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque for a healthy jump over the outgoing V-8's 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. Instead of a five-speed automatic, the new truck packs a seven-speed unit with two- and four-wheel-drive versions available. We'll also be seeing the Armada's engine show up under the hood of the Titan this spring.
Looking at the exterior reminds me an awful lot of the QX80. The front and rear fascias, hood, V-motion grille and boomerang LED running lights are exclusive to the Armada, but everything from the A-pillars back are shared with the Infiniti, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, the Armada looking like its more luxury-oriented cousin probably plays in its favor. Depending on trim level, the new SUV rides on either 18-inch or 20-inch aluminum wheels.
Head inside and more Infiniti design cues are apparent with the overall layout of the dash and various controls for climate and infotainment functions looking familiar. A Bose audio system, navigation, Bluetooth phone, heated front seats and a push button starter system are standard. Optional features include predictive forward-collision warning, which uses radar to sense the velocity and distance of a vehicle directly in front of you and the one in front of that; a remote starter system; adaptive cruise control; and a rear seat entertainment system. Unfortunately, customers looking for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities will have to wait until the 2018 model year before they arrive in the Armada.
An eight-passenger seating configuration is standard on SV and SL models with a second-row bench seat, but on Platinum versions second-row captain's chairs are available that drops seating to seven. Leather seats, a DVD entertainment system and moonroof are also standard features on the Platinum.
The 2017 Armada will hit showrooms mid this year with official pricing information coming closer to the on-sale date. The previous Armada started at about $39,000, and if the new model sticks in that ballpark, you're almost certainly looking at the bargain QX80 because that starts at $63,000. It is odd thinking there's finally a new Armada, though. Yes, it's familiar with the Infiniti being on sale for few years, but it's a solid foundation for a vehicle that hasn't had a major overhaul in 13 years.