Look, the only way I’ve ever been able to wrap my head around the Nissan Armada is by chalking it up to me-too-ism. Everyone or most everyone who makes SUVs also has some range-topping, road-behemoth just this side of a Canyonero, so I guess Nissan had to respond. I was willing to accept that, and then I read the upcoming 2018 Armada sells for in excess of 60-thousand and it just sent me reeling again.
North of Fargo
Okay, that 60 grand plus was for the top-of-the-range Armada. The entire range runs from $45,600 for the base level SV in two-wheel drive, all the way up to a mind-boggling $61,590 for the top o’the line, full-zoot Armada Platinum with four-wheel drive. But that’s just the list price, so by the time it’s in your driveway and you’ve accounted for tax and title and dealer prep and the Jerry Lundegaard TruCoat, let’s just ball park it from around $50K to $65K.
So what does the 2018 Nissan Armada actually offer? The list includes such goodies as: smells like a steak, seats thirty-five, 12 yards long, 2 lanes wide, weighs 65 tons, squashes and/or smacks squirrels and/or deer . . . oh wait, that’s the Canyonero again. In all fairness, the Armada is soaking in tech, safety, comfort, and convenience features.
Equipment & Engine
The 2018 Armada comes standard with NissanConnect Services, powered by SiriusXM. You get an 8-inch, multi-touch control display, HD Radio, SiriusXM Travel Link, Enhanced Voice Recognition, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, and additional USB ports across all three of the Armada’s grade levels: SV, SL, and Platinum. The Platinum has a standard Intelligent Rear View Mirror that uses a high-resolution, rear mounted camera to project an image onto the LCD monitor built into the rearview mirror. Which, honestly, sounds pretty trick.
As one would expect, when you’re trying to haul around enough mass, weight, and size to equal an ocean-going tug, you better have a big lump of an engine. In the Armada’s case, that would be a 390 horsepower, 5.6-liter Endurance V8 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. That combo is what you get in every model and in whatever driveline you choose, 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive.
Of course the Armada has seating for eight but other details are slim. Nissan says the Armada SV has many “standard features” but doesn’t bother to tell you what those are. The Armada SL adds a remote start, power 60/40 3rd row seat, Intelligent Around View Monitor, power liftgate, and 20-inch wheels and tires. Yes, you read that right (I had to read it three times to make sure) the 3rd row seat has power folding ability because you are lazy, lazy Americans.
The Armada Platinum, the top-of-the-line, the creme de la creme, gets all that SV and SL stuff but throws even more glop onto the cake frosting: power-sliding moonroof, front climate controlled seats (I guess so your butt can be at a different temperature, if you so choose), a Family Entertainment System, Nissan Safety Shield, and that new Intelligent Rear View Mirror. On top of that, the Armada has four other options on offer: the Driver’s Package, Premium Package, Pearl White Paint, and 2nd row Captain’s Chairs Package. However, much like the SV’s “standard features” Nissan doesn’t bother to mention what is in the Driver’s or Premium Package.
So yeah, it’s big, it’s comfy, it’s got enough features to count as nine ton iPhone on wheels, but still . . . 65 large?
I checked in a major metropolitan area (because I don’t think they’re going to be selling many of these in Tupelo) and for that amount of money, you could buy stuff like an Audi Q7, BMW X5, a Mercedes GLE (and that’s the AMG model!) or Porsche Cayenne. Yeah, it’s cheaper than a Range Rover, but so’s an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. And I didn’t even look at what Caddy SUVs and such you could buy for $65K. So answer me this: You want a big, fat SUV (for reasons that are beyond my comprehension at this point in time) and you’ve got the budget of a new sports car to blow, and you’re going to seriously say to yourself, “nah, what would I want with a heap like a Porsche? I want a Nissan that’s named after a third-rate metal band that plays down at the local casino?”
The new Armada is on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. Below is a quick reference chart.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.