I recently heard about a woman who had three children when she became pregnant with triplets. Her youngest was under 2 when the triplets were born. How does she take her family of three infants, three children and a husband anywhere? The Nissan Pathfinder Armada could be her answer.
I'm very pleased to announce that this vehicle will easily accommodate five car seats, with room for a small sixth passenger in the third row. If you have reams of children and can't quite make yourself buy a church van to transport them, buy an Armada.
Of course, for every upside there's a downside. The downside to the 2004 Armada is that I can't find the Latch connectors. The seats are clearly marked as having Latch, and the owner's manual states they should be there, but after many minutes of poking and prodding the seat crack, I come up with nothing.
My 4-year-old climbs precariously into the car herself, but heaving my 2-year-old into the very high seat makes for a workout. After lifting her in and out of the car for a day, I talk myself out of going to the gym. I feel sorry for the women who have to load infant carriers in this car.
I'm thoroughly impressed and amazed by the amount of storage in the Armada. My test vehicle arrived with six overhead storage bins, although I'm still not sure what to put in all of them. My sunglasses and garage door opener only take up so much space.
The center console is large enough to stash my purse or even a small diaper bag. There's also an open area in front of the console perfect for holding a lunch bag upright. All of the front storage compartments (including the cupholders) are lined in rubber pads that pop out for easy cleaning in the dishwasher. This is a fabulous innovation, ridding my car and life of icky, sticky spills.
Here's an interesting fact: Each Armada comes standard with 14 cupholders. Can you believe that? I especially like the bottle holders in the front and rear door panel trim. They fit a large canister of wet wipes perfectly. As much as I enjoy cute little compartments just the right size for my new Clinique Black Honey Sheer lipstick, I am a mom after all, and I've come to peace with the fact that wet wipes take precedence over lipstick.
There's just enough room behind the third row for a week's worth of groceries. Storing larger items means folding the third row (which doesn't split, so I have to fold the whole thing). This requires climbing into the cargo area so I can reach the release lever. After climbing back out, I have a very long reach to close the tailgate.
After driving the 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada, I've decided that this car is great for passengers but a bit tricky for the driver. Its supersized stance makes keeping it in one lane a chore. Parking is made a bit easier with the assistance of the standard rear proximity sensor, but I discover that what I really need is a front proximity sensor. Seeing over the hood is nearly impossible.
The 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada SE 4X4 lives up to its claim of being a "full-size SUV for full-size lives." Nissan should modify that tagline to say a "full-size SUV for busy parents with full-size families."
*For more information on the Nissan Pathfinder Armada and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.