The big news with the second-generation Nissan Armada is this:
We finally got a Nissan Patrol in America!
Perhaps bigger news still is that the 2017 Nissan Armada, Nissan’s largest SUV, doesn’t drive nearly so large as it is.
Nissan does the SUV — bigly
Riding on a 121.1-inch wheelbase, the 6,000-lb. Armada measures 208.9 inches from bumper-to-bumper and straddles a piece of ground 79.9 inches wide. It stands 75.8 inches tall. It’s a large beast — not quite as large as the also new-for-2017 Nissan Titan, but close. Maneuvering in tight quarters may require your full, undivided attention.
Thankfully, Nissan has included its Around View Monitor, which does a good job giving the driver a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle while parking or backing. It can be engaged at slow speeds in forward gears by pushing a camera button in the center stack.
There’s yuuuuge room for passengers and their cargo, with 169.5 cubic feet of total interior volume. My moonroof-equipped tester had 39.8 inches of headroom in the front row, 40 inches in the second row, and 36.4 inches in the third row. Legroom worked out to 41.9 inches up front, 41 inches in the second row, and 28.4 inches in the third row. Hip room for front row occupants was a massive 59.2 inches. Middle row hip room was 58.4 inches, while third-row passengers got 48.8 inches of hip room wall-to-wall. Every row had more than five feet of shoulder room.
Fitting two carseat-occupying children in the middle row was no challenge. Our Armada tester was equipped with the Platinum trim and optional Captain’s Chair package, so the second row had a pair of bucket seats with a large center console. Fitting a rear-facing Baby Trend Flex-Loc car seat was super-easy. Meanwhile, the five-year old long-legged boy we carted around had plenty of legroom sitting on his booster.
Even with the third row of seats in their upright position, the 2017 Nissan Armada had plenty of cargo space out back for common tasks. We were able to haul the weekly grocery run back there, no sweat. Nissan says there’s 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. If you lay down those third-row seats, you can stow just shy of 50 cubic feet of cargo in the Armada Platinum and still haul four people in supreme, leather-and-wood-trimmed comfort. Fold down the second row seats, and you’ve got a whopping 95.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the 2017 Nissan Armada.
While the first-generation Armada sold in the States was a U.S.-specific model, the new Armada is the same as the global Nissan Patrol. With that name comes a wealth of history.
The Nissan Patrol is legendary for its toughness. The first Patrol was built in 1951, and the model became a favorite of rugged individualists and even armies worldwide over the years. In later generations, it has morphed from its rough-and-tumble roots into a supremely luxurious — yet still very capable — SUV.
To that end, Nissan says the 2017 Nissan Armada we tested has a four-wheel drive system with two forward crawl ratios and a two-speed transfer case. Also, it features 9.1 inches of ground clearance, which taken in concert with its relatively short overhangs (for a full-size body-on-frame SUV, anyway), gives it respectable approach and departure angles of 20.9 and 22.3 degrees, respectively. The Armada’s breakover angle is 20.7 degrees.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee beats those angles, but it’s not nearly so large or, in most cases, as luxurious as the Armada Platinum we tested. If you want to bomb through the desert with up to eight passengers, the Armada would make a heck of a companion.
We weren’t so keen on the idea of taking this enormous luxury SUV off-road. Denting the Armada’s sheet metal, painted in tasty Forged Copper brown, was not on our “to-do” list. We suspect most Armadas won’t see off-road duty, but if snow or gravel roads are part of their routine, they’ll handle those conditions with aplomb.