By Cars.com EditorsAugust 1, 2016
About the video
Traditional full-size SUVs are not dead. In fact, cheap gas prices mean they're enjoying strong sales, so it makes sense that Nissan would choose now to update its entry in the class.
(vehicle engine turns over and starts) We've already had the chance to show you what the new 2017 Nissan Armada looks like when we first saw it at the Chicago Auto Show.
So we won't go into all the details about how much better looking it is inside and out. But now we've had our first opportunity to drive this vehicle so we can tell you exactly how it does on pavement and off road. No, that we've had the chance to drive this new 2017 Nissan Armada on paved roads, both the highway, and even did some canyon carving with it, we're very impressed. This is a heavy vehicle, but still great throttle response. And doesn't mind being thrown into and out of corners. We're very impressed with the suspension. The rear suspension has a dedicated compressor. Now they're not, they're not air springs. They have coil springs in the back, but they do have air shocks that essentially are meant to be used for trailer towing to keep that load level, but also work very well to keep things soft, but confident when you're going, like we say, into and out of a corner with a little more, shall we say enthusiasm than you should. During the off-road portion of our test drive and yes, Nissan, let us take this off road, we had a lot of fun. I mean, this is a vehicle like we've said is essentially Nissan patrol, which is a global four wheel drive platform that's used all over the world from military use to personal use in the Australian outback. So we knew that was going to do pretty well here. It's a huge improvement from the previous generation Armada in that that it's an all wheel drive permanent four wheel drive system that you can manually shift into for high or for low, that low range gear gives you some tremendous crawling ability over rocks or very uneven and nasty terrain. And that's exactly what we found. Nice compliance, soft suspension, big wheels that grab a lot of dirt when you're in low range. And then the vehicle just has enough power and enough ability through a very sensitive throttle control to climb over every obstacle that we could throw at it. Now, this isn't going to be something that you're going to want to do with a vehicle that's this expensive or this big with your family in the back, but just in case you get stuck somewhere in the snow or in the mud or during a really bad rainstorm, you know, you have the ability to get yourself out. So where does that leave us with the new Armada? Well we know that this V8 engine gives it a completely new personality. It does incredibly well carving through the canyons and off-road all these patrol suspension parts and chassis parts do an excellent job of keeping things very smooth. when you're in low range. Now it's going to be offered in three trim levels. The SV, the SL and the platinum and base prices are going to start just over $45,000. So this is not going to be an inexpensive vehicle. But we think in this highly competitive segment, this full-size SUV segment, this is going to do pretty well. So for right now, we're cautiously optimistic.
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