No longer sharing its platform with the Titan full-size pickup truck, the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada full-size SUV is now attached to one of the automaker's most iconic nameplates that originated in 1951.
The second-generation Armada shares its platform with the Nissan Patrol, a vehicle that has earned its reputation in extreme use the world over, and has won its class in the grueling Dakar Rally off-road endurance race three times.
“The global Patrol is set up for a very harsh environment, so it’s a high durability, high severity vehicle," said Peter Luttenbacher, Nissan North America’s Manager of Truck and SUV Product Planning. "We wanted to find this balance between the capability of the global Patrol—used off-road for jumping sand dunes in the Middle East and long-distance, heavy towing in Russia, China, and other regions—and the pure on-road [driving associated] with sedans."
Luttenbacher and other Nissan product technical experts spoke with Automotive Engineering at the 2017 Armada’s world reveal on the eve of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
Armada and its upscale sibling, the Infiniti QX80, retain their body-on-frame architecture. Both ride on the same fully boxed all-steel frame, its longitudinal rails increased in width from a maximum 2.36 in (60 mm) to 3.93-in (100 mm) in select areas. This helped increase structural stiffness by 20%, according to company engineers. While both the Nissan and Infiniti trucks have recognizably similar sheet metal in profile, Armada’s exterior styling differs with a unique rear hatch, hood, front and rear fascia bumpers.
Assembled in Kyushu, Japan, the new Armada carries over its 5.6-L "Endurance" V8, which for 2017 adds direct injection and variable valve timing and lift on the intake and exhaust. The V8 is sourced from Nissan's Decherd, TN, powertrain plant.
Compared to the prior engine’s power and torque ratings (317 hp/236 kW at 5200 rpm and 385 lb·ft/522 N·m at 3400 rpm), the 2017 unit is bumped up to 390 hp/290 kW at 5800 rpm and 401 lb·ft/543 N·m at 4000 rpm. A new piston design provides an 11.2:1 compression ratio versus the 2015 engine’s 9.8:1. The upgraded V8 powers a 7-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control and downshift rev matching. The new 7-speed replaces the previous Armada's 5-speed automatic.
Armada’s dimensions slightly differ from the prior generation vehicle. The new SUV’s overall length gains 1.2-in (30.4 mm) to reach 208.9 in (5306 mm), while the 121.1 in (3075.9 mm) wheelbase represents a 2.1 in (53.3 mm) decrease from the 2015 version, which was the final production year for the first generation truck.
Several safety technologies are new Armada offerings, including forward collision warning, backup collision intervention, blind-spot intervention, and what Nissan calls Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, according to Robin Moreo, Armada’s regional product manager. “The new Armada will be the only vehicle in its segment with those technologies,” Moreo claimed.
The so-called Around View Monitor, which provides a 360º bird's eye view of the vehicle within its surroundings, debuted on the 2007 Infiniti EX37. It is currently used on nearly a dozen Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles. The system is configured with a camera mounted in the center of the front grille, two more ultra-wide-angle cameras mounted in the exterior side view mirrors, and a fourth camera located above the license plate.
Vehicle pricing and fuel economy for the 2WD and 4WD models will be announced later. The new, three-seating row SUV arrives in North American dealerships this summer.