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New Nissan Armada brings an exotic look to big SUV

With is new Patrol-based platform, the Nissan Armada gets a shorter wheelbase, real off-road capability and a unique look among large SUVs.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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Nissan introduced the second generation of its Armada large SUV at the Chicago auto show this year, promising a capable vehicle for large families.

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The new Armada is based on the Nissan Patrol, a body-on-frame SUV with a long history in markets outside the US.

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Nissan gave the new Armada a styling update with its V-motion grille, although the design is not quite as pronounced as on its other vehicles.

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LED headlights come standard on the Armada. LED running lights and tail lights are also standard.

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The Armada carries eight passengers, with two in front and three in the second and third rows.

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The body-on-frame design means it has an impressive towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.

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The Armada can be had in rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

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Nissan fits it with a direct injection 5.6-liter V-8 engine, good for 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, putting its power to the wheels through a seven speed automatic transmission.

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The new Armada has a shorter wheelbase than the outgoing model, although it is longer overall.

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Nissan offers the Armada in three trim levels: SV, SL and Platinum. Each trim can be had with four-wheel drive.

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The new Armada loses some interior capacity compared to the previous generation due to the platform change.

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In Platinum trim, power-adjustable leather-covered seats give the Armada an upscale feel.

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Nissan has not released cargo capacity figures yet for the new Armada.

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In Platinum trim, the third row seats go up or down at the push of a button.

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Steering, which uses a hydraulic system and electric pump, feels tuned for a comfortable, easy driving character.

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The four-wheel-drive system includes automatic, four high and four low.

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This navigation infotainment system is dated, very similar to what Nissan has offered over the last five years.

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The surround view monitor is a very useful feature in the Armada, making parking safer and working as a spotter for off-roading.

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On an obstacle course, the Armada lifts its front wheel.

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