The 2017 Nissan Armada joins its SUV colleagues the Nissan Rogue, Nissan Pathfinder, and the Nissan Murano in the ‘recently redesigned’ club as the all-new model has been unveiled just ahead of the Chicago Auto Show. The Armada, which had become a largely-forgotten full-size member of the Nissan people mover family, graduates to a fresh platform that significantly modernizes many aspects of the three-row sport-utility vehicle.
Specifically, the Nissan Armada now shares its underpinnings with the Patrol, an SUV that has long been denied to North American audiences but which enjoys a strong following on the global market. The move is no surprise, as it follows the decision to do the same with the Infiniti QX80 in 2011, giving Nissan’s luxury division a longer lead-in on the more modern chassis. It is, however, a departure from what Nissan had initially announced it would do with the Armada back in 2013, which was move it over to a new Titan pickup platform once that appeared in showrooms.
Outwardly, the new Armada is longer than before, both in terms of overall length and in wheelbase, which spells an improvement in passenger room for those sitting in the second row. The styling of the Nissan is also much closer to that of the QX80 than the Titan truck with which is previously shared its mechanical details. Under the hood there’s a revised 5.6-liter V8 that offers a 72 horse improvement over the previous unit’s 317 ponies (for a total of 390 horsepower). Four-wheel drive remains an option, of course, and a seven-speed automatic transmission takes over the gear-shifting duties.
Moving to the Patrol platform doesn’t just mean new style and more power for the 2017 Nissan Armada – it also brings with it a host of modernizations to the SUV’s equipment list. This is especially noticeable with regards to safety, as the Armada can now be had with a forward collision warning system, a blind spot monitoring system, automatic braking, an around-view camera system. Nissan has also stepped up the luxury game, providing the option of the Platinum trim level with its climate controlled first and second row seats, reams of leather, and available adaptive cruise control.
The biggest question concerning the Nissan Armada has to do with it finding a place in a market that has largely turned away from body-on-frame SUVs in favor of lither crossovers. While luxury models like the Cadillac Escalade and the previously-mentioned QX80 offer generous profit margins, the Armada has been out of the conversation so long that the traditional choices like the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Ford Expedition have absorbed most non-premium demand. Rebuilding recognition for the Nissan Armada, which sailed through the first decade of its life largely unchanged, could be an uphill battle for the automaker.