There is no doubt that the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD offers families a safe and luxurious way to conquer off-road adventures, but it is just as big of a power player in the city. In fact, on this test drive, I experienced the perfect storm of obstacles to challenge the many features of the newest generation of Nissan’s full-size flagship SUV. In the end I became addicted to one feature in particular.
But first…I drove confidently on the highway through a high-wind advisory day when, in theory, high profile SUVs might want to stay in the garage and lay low. The next day it was daylight savings time, and I easily navigated the eight-inch color display touch screen to change the time on the clock. Then a quick winter storm blew in, bringing below-freezing temperatures overnight. The 20-inch premium machine finished allow wheels with P275/60R20 all-season tires handled the roads well, but the running board that I placed my feet on to step into the SUV was slippery like black ice. I had become accustomed to using the grab handles to lift myself up, so it didn’t become an issue. Just a note to self to be careful.
This year’s Armada, which offers SV, SL and Platinum models, features a new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 and 7-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control and downshift rev, 394 lb-ft of torque and the ability to tow up to 8,500 pounds for properly equipped 4WD and 2WD models. Nissan says this new-generation design pulls from the strengths of its Patrol model dating back to the1950s.
The cabin is quiet and full of amenities such as the eight-way power driver and front passenger seat with memory including two-way power lumbar support. The heated front and back seats and leather wrapped steering wheel were more than welcome during the cold weather. The power sliding moonroof with front tilt and rear slide is always nice. For the rear-seat family and friends, the entertainment system features dual seven-inch headrest display screens, two sets of wireless headphones, video port on DVD unit in console, two USB ports and remote controller. The Platinum also features dual-zone automatic temperature control.
The cargo space was extremely flexible for anything you might want to move. Conveniently-located levers and buttons helped me to maneuver the second-row split bench and the 60/40 split third-row bench seat as necessary. The overhead light in the cargo area was definitely a special treat in addition to the power lift gate, which you hope comes with every SUV. But you just never know.
On this test drive, I also ran a lot of little errands that took me downtown Denver. Yes. It was parallel parking time. And I was never so happy to do it. Even when I was boxed in to a space, I was able to use the driving aids – namely the yellow, green and red alerts on the rearview camera, rearview monitor and around view® monitor that allowed me to zip this full-size Hermosa Blue-colored SUV in and out of some tricky spaces unscathed. This is impressive considering the measurements: 209” L x 79.9” W x 75.8” H. In addition, the lane assist alerts, which are inside the car as opposed to outside on the side mirrors, proved to be invaluable. The yellow alert was more in my line of sight, making it easier to stay focused on the road ahead.
When driving an SUV of this size, being aware of your surroundings is vitally important. Thankfully, the Armada Platinum had me covered with its army of safety and security features. I actually started to like the art of parallel parking.
2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD MSRP: $460,490; Combined City/Highway: 15.