Vehicle Overview
Nissan launched a full-size sport utility vehicle for 2004. Named the Pathfinder Armada, the new SUV was related to Nissan's recently introduced Titan pickup truck.

Jed Connelly, Nissan senior vice president of sales and marketing, promised the Pathfinder Armada would deliver "class-leading room, power, safety features and utility." During 2004, the name was changed to, simply, Armada.

Enhancements are minor for 2005. A power rear liftgate has been added to the SE Sunroof Package, and a Rearview Monitor is included in the Technology group. Front active head restraints and seat belt pretensioners are now standard. SE and LE models gain equipment that was previously part of the Upgrade Package.

Manufactured in Mississippi, the Armada is offered with rear- or four-wheel drive in SE, SE Off-Road and upscale LE versions. Towing capacity is 9,100 pounds.


Exterior
Despite its large dimensions, the Armada displays a kinship to other Nissan SUVs. Built on a long 123.2-inch wheelbase, the SUV is 206.9 inches long overall.

Running boards and heated power mirrors are standard. A body-colored grille appears on SE models and a chromed version leads the LE. Puddle lamps appear on the LE model. Armadas have an independent rear suspension.


Interior
Depending on the seating arrangement, either seven or eight occupants can fit inside the Armada. Flat-folding second- and third-row seats are standard, and second-row captain's chairs are standard or optional depending on the model. Folding down the front passenger seat yields space for items up to 10 feet long.

Seton leather seating surfaces are standard in the LE. Privacy glass is used for the rear liftgate and the second- and third-row side windows. Flip-out rear quarter windows are powered on the LE.

A DVD-based entertainment system and Nissan's navigation system are optional. Adjustable brake and gas pedals are standard. Standard rear sonar sensors warn of nearby objects while the vehicle is backing up.


Under the Hood
Nissan's Endurance 5.6-liter V-8 develops 305 horsepower and 385 pounds-feet of torque. It works with a five-speed-automatic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models have a two-speed transfer case with 4-Low and Auto 4x4 technology.

Safety
Side curtain-type airbags help protect occupants in all three rows. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard in the LE and SE Off-Road. Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control electronic stability system includes traction control. A tire-pressure monitor is standard.

Driving Impressions
Because it's built on the same platform as the Titan pickup, the Armada's trucklike ride quality isn't too surprising. On the whole, this SUV doesn't feel quite as solid as the Titan. The Armada is pleasantly quiet and emits only minimal truck sounds.

Steering is relatively light, and the Armada handles a tad loosely for a truck-based model. But it steers capably enough and maneuvers with reasonable confidence in turns. Performance is strong but not exceptional.

Second-row legroom is abundant. Getting in and out requires a bit of a climb, but the running boards help. The driver enjoys a comfortably cushioned seat.