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All-new Armada excels in comfort, size, capability

Previous versions of the Nissan Armada were based on the Nissan Titan full-size pickup, but for 2017, the Armada shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Patrol, which is one of the world’s most highly respected sport utility vehicles.

In a throwback to the classic days of heavy-duty 4x4s, the Armada employs body-on-frame construction, which should bode well for its durability.

One thing you’ll really appreciate is a pair of running boards, as one must literally climb into the tall Nissan. At 75.8 inches, the Armada is right up there with the Chevy Suburban (74.4 inches) and the Ford Expedition (77.2 inches) in overall height. The Nissan also boasts a 121.1-inch wheelbase, which translates to an exceptionally spacious interior.

The dash arrangement is logical, if a bit busy, so familiarization may require a bit of study. In typical Nissan fashion, buttons on the center stack, a dial-and-pointer system or the touch screen can be used to access the infotainment features. The controls, upholstery, and trim are of nice quality, which lends a pleasant ambiance to the interior. A 13-speaker Bose audio system is standard equipment.

Power adjustable seating is comfortable for both the driver and front passenger. Optional second-row captain’s chairs also include a removable center console, though choosing this over the standard bench reduces seating capacity from eight to seven. The third row folds flat into the floor, while the standard second-row bench is designed to fold with a child seat in place for added convenience. Cargo capacity is 16.5 cubic feet with the third row deployed, 49.9 cubic feet with it folded and 95.4 cubic feet with both rows folded.

Power comes from Nissan’s aluminum 5.6-liter V-8, configured to produce 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. The seven-speed automatic offers both high and low ranges for four-wheel-drive-equipped Armadas (rear drive is standard). Towing capacity is 8,500 pounds. Rear-drive fuel economy is quoted at 14 mpg in the city, 19 on the highway and 16 overall. The 4WD system sacrifices 1 mpg across the board. Given the 26-gallon fuel tank, it’s reasonable to expect 360 miles of range with rear-wheel drive.

On the road, the power increase is welcome, as we’re talking nearly 3 tons of SUV here. Base models come in at 5,576 pounds, while a fully loaded 4×4 Armada registers 5,963 pounds. However hefty, acceleration is more than adequate, and the V-8 emits a contented burble as opposed to a strained grumble.

Ride quality is smooth, both on the highway and secondary roads. Harshness is minimal on uneven pavement. Handling, as you’d expect for such a large vehicle, involves a few degrees of body roll in turns. But here, too, manageability is the watchword; you’ll always feel in control. In town, Nissan’s Around View camera system makes docking the Armada anxiety-free.

In off-road situations, the 2017 Nissan Armada is highly competent, maneuvering over reasonably sized obstacles with ease. The 2017 Nissan Armada has considerable off-road potential, in addition to exceptional comfort, size and towing capability. Pricing starts at $44,400.