An old-school SUV.
The Armada is something of a rarity in new-car lots: a truck-based, eight-passenger SUV. Large SUVs aren’t as popular as they were a decade ago, but the Armada does some things that other vehicles can’t. It easily takes on unpaved terrain, thanks to a tough truck chassis and beefy low-range four-wheel drive, and it can tow up to 9000 pounds. The three-row cabin isn’t quite as cavernous as the exterior dimensions suggest, but space is plentiful. The quality of some interior materials is wanting, but the space can be dressed up with optional wood trim and leather. The Armada comes with such standard items as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic headlights, a power driver’s seat, an eight-speaker sound system, and power-adjustable pedals. The lengthy options list includes push-button start, a power liftgate, Bluetooth, touch-screen navigation, and a rear-seat DVD player. The sole powertrain is a stout 5.6-liter V-8 and a five-speed automatic transmission, with rear- or four-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive models have a low-range mode with crawl ratios for extreme towing or off-roading. Compared with its rivals, the big Nissan drives more like a truck and less like a luxury machine. It is, however, still a worthy choice if you need to haul a big family, travel through the woods, and tow a boat — all at the same time.
new for 2013
The new Platinum Package includes twenty-inch wheels, chocolate/almond leather upholstery, and dark satin chrome accents. A USB port is standard on all models, Bluetooth is standard on SLs, and a power passenger seat is standard on SVs. There are five new paint colors: midnight garnet, graphite blue, gun metallic, pearl white, and Java metallic.
Front, front side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Excellent V-8 engine
Impressive towing capacity
Low-range four-wheel drive
Trucklike driving experience
Dismal fuel economy
Base Price Range: $39,300–$54,760
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: SV, SL, Platinum
BODY STYLE: SUV, 7- or 8-passenger
ENGINE: 5.6L V-8, 317 hp, 385 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 127.4 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 6500–9000 lb; cargo (behind rear/middle/front seats) 20.0/56.7/97.1 cu ft