The Embargo is over and I can now tell you about the redesigned for 2017 Nissan Aramada in Platinum trim. The machine is a beast in the very best meaning of the word. Aimed at the Yukon, Denali, Sequoia and Explorers of the world it beats them handily. In fact, in my not so humble opinion its knocking at the doors of the Navigator/Escalade and will be cross shopped with them in the Platinum Trim. Its. That. Good.
The Armada may seem like a new model but its history dates back to the 1952 Patrol sold in other markets and in fact the Patrol is rolled into Armada this model year as part of a giant remake of the mode. ITs about going anywhere in confidence and style. With this redesign to combine the two Nissan focused on several areas to ensure they could beat their target competition:
- Premium Style
- New Powertrain
- Superior Comfort, Convenience and roominess
- Enahanced Ride and Handling
- Safety Suite of features
The interior got the complete redo as well. It now boasts the roomiest 2nd row seats in its class with 40" of head room and 41" of leg room. Everything you touch is premium quality soft touch. Real wood, real brushed aluminum. REAL stuff not a bit of faux anywhere. Add in the use of acoustic glass and you now have a library quiet cabin at cruise where you don't hear a thing and can carry on a quiet conversation.
The standard and only available engine is new for this year. ITs a 5.6l V8 with variable valve lift and timing with direct injection. What it comes down to is the most powerful standard motor in the class with 390 horsepower and 394 ft lbs of torque. Add in the new 7 speed automatic and you get authoritative get up and go coupled with library quiet when cruising without even a hit of rumble from the powerful V8. As a side bar to this power and refinement...it now boasts best in class towing with 8,500 tow capacity, easily 1,100 pounds better than its nearest competitor.
Creature comforts like heated and cooled seats are available if not standard on the Platinum edition. Across the board in all trims a 13 speaker BOSE stereo system is standard. Also standard is a Navigation system with traffic and weather (the latter two require a subscription to Sirius XM to function. There is also available a second row, 2 screen LCD entertainment system that allows your rear passengers to play games, watch video or listen to their own music privately through wireless headphones.
The ride and handling was completely reinvented for the new Armada; Nothing was left untouched in the effort to make it the best in class:
- full box steel exterior frame
- double wishbone front suspension with 36mm sway bar
- double wishbone rear suspension with 36.5mm sway bar
- auto-level rear suspension
- twin tube shock absorbers
- engine speed variable rack and pinion steering
- 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist
The standard Safety Shield is an entire suite of features that make driving in town and crowded parking lots even safer in the all new Armada. They are:
- Around View with Motion Detector and intervention
- Intelligent Cruise Control with distance monitor
- Forward emergency braking with collision detection
- Lane departure warning and intervention
- Blind spot intervention and warning
- Back up collision warning and intervention
The Armada will come in 3 trims, SV, SL and Platinum. It will go on sale mid-August 2016 at a base price of $44,440 and a destination charge of $995. Nissan expects that 65% of the Armadas sold will be in the premium priced Platinum trim.
So what does all that gobbledy gook mean? It comes together as the most complete, luxurious, roomy SUV in its class. Ride and handling benefit from the attention given.
Driving this SUV was so much easier than I expected. It was actually fun, FUN to drive on the twisty bits of Laureles Grade. It had ample power to take on the 7 mile 10% grade of the Laureles grade down into Carmel Valley. All the while it was in hushed quiet and uber comfy ride.
There was a wild fire in the area so the original course intended to test the Armada's 4X4 mode had to be changed up a bit. I wasn't heartbroken in the least to learn our Off Road course was going to be at a specially designed for the Armada at Maxda Race Way Laguna Seca, yes....that Laguna Seca. I was living the dream.
On the track the Armada displayed the same quiet confidence up the hills, down the hills, through steep banked curves and supremely uneven ground as it did on the freeways and country roads of Monterey County. Even when transitioning from 4 to 3 to 2 wheels on the ground you felt confident this truck would get it done with style and comfort.
This adventure was a gift from Nissan, they provided my transportation and hotel while in Carmel Valley. It however doesn't affect my opinion and impressions of the vehicle...as if anyone could program my words!