With the introduction of the all-new second-generation Armada full-size SUV, arriving at Nissan dealers nationwide in mid-2016, the last piece of Nissan's transformation of its SUV and crossover lineup falls into place. As the largest and most powerful vehicle in the portfolio, Armada earns its flagship status by every measure – whether performance, refinement, advanced technology and even heritage. Unlike the original Armada, which was based on the Nissan Titan full-size pickup, the new-generation design traces back to one of Nissan's most beloved global vehicles, the Patrol.
"The Nissan Patrol nameplate goes back to 1951 and its reputation as a global workhorse is unparalleled – whether as a frequent support vehicle to the United Nations' peace keeping efforts or as a three-time class winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "While the new Armada is intended primarily for family adventures here in North America, Armada owners will benefit from its underpinnings as a strong, durable and authentic full-size SUV with ruggedness to spare."
The new Armada also continues the nameplate's reputation for value and choice, offering a range of three high-content grade levels – SV, SL and Platinum – in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive configurations. In addition, the 2017 Armada offers an exceptional array of standard features, including Nissan Navigation with NavTraffic and NavWeather information (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) and 8.0-inch color display, heated front seats and 13-speaker Bose® audio system.
Fresh New Style, Traditional Body-on-Frame Construction
Like the first-generation Armada, the 2017 model features rugged body-on-frame construction, providing a balance of strength, durability and utility – including the ability to tow up to 8,500 pounds with confidence (when properly equipped).
"While most SUVs and crossovers have moved to a sedan-like unibody construction, when you want to tackle big adventures with big groups of family and friends, there's no substitute for a sturdy steel frame," explained Bunce. "We've found that families enter the full-size SUV segment before they fully need one. As their needs grow, Armada has more than enough room and strength to meet both current and future family demands."
The new-generation Armada offers a number of enhancements over the previous design. For example, the side rails of the fully boxed ladder frame have been expanded from 60-millimeter width to 100-millimeter in key areas. The all-new body design offers a 20 percent increase in twisted body stiffness, helping enhance handling and ride comfort.
Maintaining its full 8-passenger utility, overall length is now 1.2 inches longer on a slightly shorter (2.1-inch) wheelbase, remaining 4.9 inches longer than Armada's major competitor. The new Armada is also 0.6-inch wider and 2.2-inches lower in height.
Armada's new exterior appearance is both powerful and refined. The redesigned body features an aggressive stance with bold V-motion front grille and standard LED low-beam headlights with halogen high beams and LED Daytime Running Lights – maintaining the previous generation's rugged, athletic image but with added contemporary style. The headlights offer a standard auto on/off feature. Fog lights are standard on SL and Platinum grades (optional on SV). In the rear, bold combination lights include LED taillights.
The front fenders include functional air intake vents. The outside rearview mirrors feature a hospitality lighting system, which turns on the puddle lights as the driver approaches the Armada, then turns the cabin lights on when the lock is released. Chrome-plated, electr0-chromic anti-dazzle side mirrors with memory, heat and puddle lamps are standard on SL and Platinum grades. The liftgate includes an auto-closure feature and available power function (standard on SL and Platinum, optional on SV).
Other exterior features include body color front and rear bumpers, black color grille with chrome trim accent, chrome trim accent side window moldings, chrome door handles, privacy glass, dark-painted overfenders and side step rails, dark-painted roof rails and front and rear parking sensors. Also available are rain-sensing front windshield wipers and front wiper de-icer.
"The look of the new Armada is instantly recognizable as a Nissan, with its wide V-motion grille and distinctive boomerang-style LED Daytime Running lights," said Bunce. "In addition, the dark painted overfenders give it an added upscale, two-tone appearance."
Seven exterior colors are available: Hermosa Blue, Mocha Almond, Forged Copper, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Brilliant Silver and premium, three-coat Pearl White.
Reservation for Eight
Inside, the new 2017 Armada combines style, roominess and premium interior comfort – including special emphasis on quietness and quick interior cooling and heating.
The standard seating configuration includes front 4-way power-adjustable buckets seats with large center console, 2nd row fold flat 60/40 split bench seat and 3rd row 60/40-split folding bench seat, which folds flat into floor for extra cargo carrying flexibility. A 3rd row seat power-folding feature is standard on SL and Platinum grades. Armada Platinum models are also available with optional 2nd row Captain's Chairs with removable 2nd row console (resulting in 7-passenger seating capacity).
Among the long list of standard Armada features are heated front seats. Climate-controlled (heating and cooling), heated steering wheel and heated 2nd row seats are standard on Platinum models. Armada SV offers premium cloth seating surfaces, while leather-appointed seating is standard on SL and Platinum grades. The Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control system (with microfilter) uses direct/indirect airflow, including a 2nd row "curtain" vent to effectively distribute cool air to every seat.
"Library level" interior noise levels (at idle) are achieved through the use of acoustic glass on the windshield and the front side windows, as well as through expanded use (versus the previous generation) of sound absorption materials. A new windshield design also helps reduce wind noise.
"By their nature, large SUVs are notoriously difficult to cool and heat due to their large window expanses. With the new Armada, we've taken extra steps to mitigate that issue, providing a comfortable environment for all passengers in both winter and summer," said Bunce. "We've also addressed the intrusion of outside noise into the cabin, enhancing the ability to both have conversations with family and friends and to enjoy the premium audio experience provided by the standard 13-speaker Bose® audio system."
The Bose® audio system features AM/FM/SXM/MP3/CD with 13 speakers and subwoofer and digital amplifier to provide rich and realistic sound reproduction. Every 2017 Armada also includes SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) and standard Nissan Navigation System with NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).
Armada Platinum models add a standard DVD Family Entertainment System with dual 7.0-inch head restraint DVD monitors, USB ports (two), VTR jacks (two), two wireless headphones and remote controller. The wireless headphones offer three types of virtual surround modes (cinema, music and game) to match optimal sound for each media.
Utility is another area where the new Armada delivers, with a highly functional front center console with 12-volt power outlet at rear of console, nine cupholders, four bottle holders, power door locks with illuminated switches and anti-lockout system with auto door lock speed-sensing function, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and RearView Monitor.
The long list of comfort and convenience features continues with available power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory, front footwell lamp and step lamp, rear step lamp, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Remote Engine Start System**. A large sliding moonroof with front tilt and rear slide is standard on Platinum and optionally available on SL.
Three interior colors are offered – Charcoal and Almond (cloth and leather) and Tan (leather only).
A Powerful New 5.6-liter V8 Engine
For 2017, the previous-generation Armada's powertrain has been completely reengineered. The new Endurance V8, while maintaining the same 5.6-liter displacement as its predecessor, offers an increase in horsepower to 390 (at 5,200 rpm) from the previous 317 horsepower, thanks in part to the addition of several advanced technologies aimed at achieving both improved engine performance and greater fuel economy. Acceleration is expected to be among the best in the full-size SUV segment. Torque has increased to 401 lb-ft (at 4,000 rpm) from 385 lb-ft.
The new Direct Injection Gas (DIG™) system provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non-direct-injection system) by reducing engine knock, improving combustion stability and offering precise injection control. An 11.2:1 compression ratio (previously 9.8:1) is provided by a new piston design, aiding overall engine efficiency and performance and a Multi Control Valve (MCV) assists in managing the engine's thermal efficiency better than a traditional thermostat.
The engine also incorporated Nissan's advanced VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) technology, which combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake and exhaust sides to provide high performance and crisp response. Throttle response is enhanced by directly controlling the intake valve (rather than using the traditional method of controlling intake with a throttle valve) and valve timing and opening with non-variable camshafts. The new Endurance V8 will also be available in the TITAN truck lineup beginning in spring 2016.
Also new is the advanced 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching, which replaces the previous 5-speed automatic. The new transmission design helps enhance fuel efficiency through use of its wider gear ratios, ATF (automatic transmission fluid) warmer and adoption of idle neutral control. A 26-gallon fuel tank provides an ample driving range. Fuel economy will be announced at a later date.
As part of its adventure-ready spirit, the new Armada offers towing capacity of 8,500 pounds for both 4WD and 2WD models (when properly equipped). Armada meets the current J2807 towing certification standard.
The available All-Mode 4-wheel drive system features Auto/2WD/4H/4LO modes, electronically controlled part-time transfer case and 2.70:1 4LO gear ratio. Under normal driving conditions, the system operates in two-wheel drive mode, but it can distribute torque to all four wheels when road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent of torque can go to the front wheels on demand).
Responsive braking is provided by a 4-wheel disc brake system with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Also standard are 2-wheel or 4-wheel limited-slip (ABLS) and a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system (which includes a deactivation switch). Steering is provided by an engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system.
Armada's durable independent double-wishbone front and rear suspension provides smooth ride comfort and responsive handling for both on-road and off-road driving. The front stabilizer bar is 36 mm in diameter, while the rear measures 26.5 mm. Twin-tube shock absorbers are featured on each corner.
"The new Armada's refined suspension combines with the enhanced body rigidity to provide an excellent balance between ride comfort and responsive handling," added Bunce. "Matched with the powerful new 5.6-liter V8 and wide-ratio 7-speed automatic, Armada offers an unexpected athleticism for a vehicle its size."
Three wheel and tire combinations are offered, depending on model: Armada SV features 18-inch aluminum-alloy painted finish wheels with 265/70R18 all-season tires; standard on SL are 20-inch painted finish aluminum-alloy wheels with 275/60R20 all-season tires and Platinum models feature machine-faced 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 275/60R20 all-season tires.
A Flagship Level of Safety, Security Features and Driving Aids
Another way the new Armada stands out from other full-size SUVs in its segment is its extensive suite of available advanced safety and security systems.
"For this next-generation Armada, we've raised the bar, offering technology usually reserved for much higher priced luxury sedans or premium SUVs," said Bunce. "It's an 'all-around the vehicle' – front, rear and sides – approach to enhancing driver confidence, from highways to back roads to parking lots."
In front, the new available, class-exclusive* Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) helps warn the driver of risks that lie beyond the driver's forward field of vision. The advanced radar system not only can sense the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, but also of a vehicle travelling in front of the preceding one. Also in front, the available Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Distance Control Assist (DCA) and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) help assist the driver in potential accident avoidance.
On the sides, Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and class-exclusive* Blind Spot Intervention (BSI) are available to alert the driver of potential lane drift and detected vehicles approaching in the blind spot area. In the rear, RearView Monitor and class-exclusive* Around View® Monitor (AVM) help provide extra sets of "eyes" when backing out or parking. The innovative Around View® Monitor can also come in handy when negotiating tight off-road trails.
Other Armada safety features include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and front occupant classification sensor; roof-mounted curtain supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for side-impact and rollover head protection for outboard positions in all three rows; front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; and front seat Active Head Restraints.
Also standard are 3-point front seat belts with dual pretensioners and load limiters, 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants, including center position; LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchor system; child safety rear door locks; Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones; engine immobilizer; and Vehicle Security System.
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is also included, with a warning lamp in the gauge cluster or a warning display in the navigation system.
A Choice of Three Well-Equipped Models
The 2017 Nissan Armada is available in SV, SL and Platinum models in 2WD and 4WD drive configurations. In addition to the standard features on the Armada SV, the Armada SL adds Nissan Intelligent Key®, remote engine start system**, power 60/40 3rd row seat, Around View® Monitor (AVM), power liftgate, 20-inch wheels and tires and more.
The top-of-the-line Armada Platinum includes power-sliding moonroof, front climate controlled seats, Family Entertainment System and Nissan Safety Shield technologies. Just four option packages are offered: Driver's Package, Moonroof Package, Technology Package and 2nd row Captain's Chairs Package.
Just four option packages are available. The Driver Package (SV only) features fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink®, power 60/40 3rd row seat, power liftgate and trailer towing harness and pre-wire and connector for brake controller.
The Moonroof Package (SL) adds power tilt and glide moonroof, while the Captain's Chairs Seat Package (Platinum only) replaces the 2nd row bench seat with 2nd row Captain's Chairs and 2nd row center console with padded armrest. Finally, the Technology Package (SL) includes Intelligent Cruise Control (Full Speed Range) (ICC), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) and Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention (BSI) and Backup Collision Intervention (BCI).