2005 Nissan Armada Review
Powerful full-size SUV for rugged adventure.
One of the first things you notice about the Nissan Armada is its gargantuan proportions. Nearly 207 inches long, Armada is a foot longer than the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. It's 3 inches longer than the Toyota Sequoia and an inch longer than the Ford Expedition.
Armada presents a bold and unmistakable appearance. It is big, but the design and styling features further emphasize its bulk and capabilities. Its wide stance and long wheelbase with short front and rear overhangs give Armada visual strength. Pushing the wheels out toward the corners of the truck makes for easier maneuverability in tight quarters as well as rock-solid stability on the highway.
Adding to the Armada's strong presence are its big chrome bumpers and big grille. The grille is body-colored on the SE, and chromed for even more visual strength on the LE. We think it looks best in chrome and makes for an imposing image in rearview mirrors.
From some angles, the Armada almost looks like a cartoon drawing. Large flared front and rear fenders accentuate the substantial wheels and high-profile tires. The rear door edge, extending in a bold rearward diagonal from the running board to the roof rack, makes a strong design statement, emphasizing the high roof line over the main passenger section. The rear-door handles are mounted on the C-pillar above the fenders instead of down on the door panel. The overall design gives the Armada a distinctively strong side view, like a football tackle poised at the line. The standard running boards are a good feature because step-in height is 21 to 22.5 inches, depending on drivetrain and wheel size.
Viewed from the rear, the Armada has a wide rear window, which can be opened separately. The hatch is large, providing a big opening for loading or unloading cargo. Though large, the rear door feels light when it is opened or closed. A power option allows the door to be opened or closed at the touch of a button on the key fob, useful when approaching with an armload of groceries on a rainy day. Enhancing Armada's wide stance are narrow shoulders that frame the vertically stacked tail lamps and a tall chromed center section of the rear bumper.
Armada's cabin is attractive, comfortable and convenient. A nice mix of interior materials gives it a nice look without fake wood-grain trim or excessive use of chrome. The Seton leather available on the Off-Road model is rich and luxurious with texture that's visually appealing.
The eight-way adjustable driver's seat is comfortable and supportive. Adjustable pedals and a tilting steering column help ensure the proper driving position. We found the seats comfortable and liked the commanding view of the road. A two-piece sun visor keeps the sun off the eyes. The gauge package includes speedometer and tachometer, oil pressure, temperature, voltage and fuel gauges. Ordering the towing package adds a transmission temperature gauge.
Places to stash stuff are provided. Opening the lid to the center console reveals a deep storage compartment. In front of that is a large open binnacle, perfect for tossing odds and ends, and an arm swings out to secure a big water bottle. There are narrow storage channels along the sides of the center tunnel and more storage is found in the interior door panels and on top of the dashboard above the outer vents. The center console's well-designed cup holders are easy to access. Armada offers 14 cup holders and four of them are designed to hold 64-ouce beverage containers. A long, overhead console provides more storage and a pair of map lights. Three 12-volt outlets are provided, including one in the rear, and two of them provide power even when the engine is not running.
The back seats offer acres of space. Passengers in the second row enjoy a limo-like 42 inches of leg room. Families told Nissan they need more room in the second row than what's available in other full-size SUVs, so the Armada was designed with best-in-class rear legroom. The second-row seats recline so you can really stretch out. A choice of rear seats is available: a bench seat with a flip down armrest or captain's chairs with a large center console. Either way, the second-row seat feels significantly roomier than in the Ford Expedition and much roomier than in Tahoe, Yukon, or Sequoia.
Third-row seats are raised, stadium style, for better forward visibility by those sitting back there. The second-row seats easily flip down and tumble out of the way when getting in and out of the third row; the release is a little easier to operate than the Expedition's. Once seated, we found them reasonably comfortable for third-row seats, but are more suitable for children or short distances.
The Nissan Armada can carry almost as much cargo as an old Spanish armada. With all seats in their full upright positions, the Armada provides 20 cubic feet of space behind the third row, which is similar to that of the Expedition. It's deep enough to fit a 30-gallon cooler. There's also a nice storage area hidden beneath the rear section of the cargo floor. The second- and third-row seats fold flat to the cargo floor. Folding down the third row reveals 57 cubic feet of cargo space, considerably more than what's found in the Expedition. Folding down both rows provides 97 cubic feet of space, a little less than the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition. Fold down the front passenger seat and you can fit a 10-foot ladder inside. Like the Expedition, there are gaps in the floor between the second- and third-row seats when all are folded flat.
Getting in and out is easy in spite of the high step up. The inside door handles are well designed for easy exit. The rear doors open wide. And the running boards help when climbing in or out.
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