Nissan’s Armada SUV continues in 2005 to be a full-size SUV for full-size lives. Featuring a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine, three-row, eight-passenger seating and up to 9,100-pound maximum towing capacity, the Armada is primed for adventures of all sizes.
Introduced in 2004, the Armada receives minor enhancements for 2005 including a rear power liftgate added to the SE Sunroof Package, RearView Monitor added to the Technology Package, standard front driver and passenger active head restraints, added seat belt buckle pretensioners to the first row and both the SE and LE models feature the previous Upgrade Package as standard equipment.
The Nissan lineup of SUVs now includes vehicles for practically every use or desire – from the "everything you need, nothing you don't" simplicity of the popular Xterra, to the versatile Pathfinder, to the "on-road adventurer" Murano, and the powerful, roomy, eight-passenger Armada.
"Armada gives its owners the flexibility that they’re looking for. A vehicle that can provide all of the functionality they require and still provide a high level of style," said Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. "Not simply a grocery getter, Armada inspires its owners to imagine what was once unimaginable."
Distinguishing Exterior Character
The Armada offers a distinctive image, led by its advanced design concept. The combination of a long wheelbase and manageable overall length gives the Armada enhanced stability and handling, and a longer interior with plenty of cargo room - yet short front and rear overhangs for good maneuverability.
In researching the full-size SUV market, Nissan designers and product planners found that many SUV buyers are looking for fresh styling appearance beyond the current offerings in class.
"Besides wanting a functionally flexible, do-it-all-and-then-some type vehicle buyers are looking for something extraordinary looking," said McNabb. "Armada fills that void. It’s much more than the same old bland SUV."
The Armada design starts with its wide stance, with the body gesture following from the tire sidewalls up. The headlights are straightforward but powerful, the hood massive yet refined. The sheer A-pillar design calls attention to the tight, tailored precision of the upper body with the B-, C- and D-pillars adding to the highly polished feel of the body structure. The tailgate has a substantial look without feeling heavy and the massive bumpers project the Armada's strength and power.
Other exterior features include a standard body-color grille (SE model, chrome grille on LE model) and chrome front door handles, dual power-adjustable heated chrome side mirrors (with puddle lamps on LE models), standard running boards, privacy glass for the 2nd and 3rd rows and available power rear lift gate, manual flip-out rear quarter windows (power-operated on LE models) and halogen headlights. All models are also offered with a standard rear proximity sensor system (back-up obstacle warning) in the rear bumper.
A new exterior color is offered on Armada for 2005 – Red Brawn.
"From the muscular fenders to the two-piece roof rack to the standard 18-inch wheels and tires, you get a strong sense of quality, style and individuality. There's a familiar Nissan link without being a virtual copy of our other SUVs – a freshness that we think consumers enjoy," said McNabb.
An Interior for Active Lifestyles
Though the Armada is Nissan’s first full-size SUV, it follows in the tradition of other authentic Nissan SUVs in providing an interior environment designed for active families. Its advanced, ergonomic interior styling combines a modern appearance with traditional ruggedness.
Key to the Armada design concept is exceptional versatility, roominess and flexibility - including standard fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, the most 2nd row leg room in the full-size, light duty SUV class, choice of 8-passenger seating or 7-passenger, ample cargo space behind the 3rd row seat, and a full-length overhead console with map lights, vents and available DVD Family Entertainment System.
In front, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and available 6-way adjustable front passenger’s seat provide a sense of comfort and luxury, while the fold-down front passenger seat features cup holders and a recessed “work area.” The large front console offers excellent storage capacity. Three 12-volt power outlets are located on the console and instrument panel for use with cellular phones and portable electronic devices.
The standard floor-mounted shifter (first in the full-size, light duty SUV class) adds a sporty appearance and enhanced shift control when towing. Also standard are adjustable brake and accelerator pedals with transmission interlock.
Seton leather-appointed seats (leather appointments standard on LE and SE Off-Road, optional on SE) and a satellite-based navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD screen are also available. The standard full-length overhead console includes individual map lamps and ventilation outlets.
The 2nd row features a choice of a fold-flat 2nd row bench seat or available fold-flat 2nd row captain’s chairs with an innovative, removable 2nd row center console. The 2nd row leg room of 41.9 inches (best in the full-size, light duty SUV class) provides passengers room to ride in comfort, while an available DVD Family Entertainment System with two wireless headphones and remote control and 10-speaker Bose® audio system offers a variety of entertainment options. The Bose system's dual media capability allows use of radio and CD at the same time (headphones must be used to listen to second audio source).
The fold-flat 3rd row seats are designed for easy operation and easy access. "In addition, a thoughtful design feature raises the 3rd row seats higher than the 2nd row to facilitate easier conversation and better visibility for the occupants," said McNabb.
There is also a large amount of storage space behind the 3rd row seat. With the 2nd and 3rd row seats folded down, the Armada offers a nearly flat floor. And, with the front passenger seat in the fold-down position, it is possible to carry items up to 10-feet in length with the rear liftgate closed. In addition to ample headroom, the 3rd row includes side storage bins and cupholders. The rear cargo area also includes ceiling and floor-mounted cargo hooks, while available accessories include a cargo net and cargo tray.
Up to 14 cupholders are available throughout the Armada, with some capable of holding 64-ounce size cups. Other storage areas include instrument panel side pockets, the center console main storage bin with side pockets, bottle holders in the front and side doors, and a driver’s seat rear pocket.
Power To Spare
The Armada is the most powerful Nissan SUV ever built. The Armada features a rugged, F-Alpha fully boxed high-strength steel frame for enhanced crash performance and long-term durability; an independent double-wishbone rear suspension designed for improved roominess, comfort and responsive handling; and a much heralded 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine offering one of the highest standard horsepower/torque ratings in the full-size, light duty SUV class and the highest maximum towing capacity in class (when properly equipped) of up to 9,100 pounds. The Endurance V8 engine is tuned for use in the Armada to produce 305 horsepower and 385 lb-ft torque.
The Nissan Endurance V8, which is assembled at Nissan's advanced engine facility in Decherd, Tenn., is shared with the Nissan Titan full-size pickup. Nearly 90 percent of the engine's impressive torque is available below 2,500 rpm – where it's needed for hauling, towing or slow-speed off-road driving.
The engine's advanced design includes features such as an aluminum engine block with cast iron cylinder liners, chain-driven dual overhead camshafts with silent single-stage timing chain, microfinished forged steel crankshaft and microfinished camshafts, graphite-coated pistons and electronic drive-by-wire throttle for precise control.
An electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode is standard on every Armada. The transmission utilizes a unique gear set chosen specifically for use in high torque situations, along with an advanced torque converter design for improved fuel economy and an advanced powertrain management program for improved shift quality. The tow/haul mode revises the shift pattern when towing and hauling.
Armada models equipped with the towing package also receive a higher axle ratio and a transmission temperature gauge. Other tow package equipment includes a receiver hitch, heavy-duty radiator, additional 7-pin wiring harness plug, trailer brake pre-wiring, heavy-duty battery and rear suspension air levelizer.
The Armada's off-road credentials are equally impressive, with 4-wheel drive models featuring an advanced full-time automatic control system. Utilizing all-wheel drive technology derived from Nissan’s world-class Skyline GT-R sports coupe (rather than less sophisticated truck-based systems), the Armada 4WD system is designed to instantly distribute torque to all four wheels whenever road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), resulting in optimal traction with improved fuel economy and enhanced cornering capability.
The two-speed electronic transfer case allows the driver to select between auto, full-time 4-wheel drive and 4LO. The crawl ratio in 4LO is among the best among competitors, providing enhanced low speed driving force and hill descending ability. Under normal driving conditions, 4WD Armadas operate in two-wheel drive mode.
The Armada’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) includes standard off-road tuning for improved braking on loose gravel. There is also a high ground clearance (9.9 inches for 2WD models, 10.6 for 4WD models). Heavy-duty skid plates (oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case) are available as part of the Off-Road Grade. The Off-Road grade also includes Rancho® off-road performance shocks.
While the Armada is well equipped for rugged activities, it is equally capable of tackling everyday driving tasks with comfort and style. The standard all-steel front double-wishbone suspension with coil-over shock absorbers and stabilizer bar is matched with a responsive independent double-wishbone rear suspension.
Along with compliant handling, the rear suspension design also provides a high ride quality for 2nd and 3rd row passengers and maximizes rear interior space by minimizing the intrusion of suspension components into the interior compartment.
A rear air leveling system (available with towing package) provides improved handling stability and ride comfort when towing or carrying heavy cargo. The system, which automatically adjusts the air pressure in the suspension bladders, helps maintain a uniform ground clearance and departure angle when towing or when carrying heavy cargo.
Other key platform components found on every Armada include engine speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with Bosch Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system with Traction Control and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).
Large 265/70R18 tires are offered with standard aluminum-alloy wheels (5-spoke on SE, 6-spoke on LE models), while Off-Road Grade equipped models feature P285/70R17 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail All-Terrain tires on 17x7.5J 7-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels. A standard 28-gallon fuel tank provides an excellent driving range.
Advanced Safety and Technology Focus
The Armada offers an extensive list of standard and available safety features, including standard supplemental curtain air bags for side-impact and rollover to all three rows and available side-impact supplemental air bags (front seat-mounted). New for 2005, standard active head restraints for the driver and front passenger are standard as well as front seat belt buckle dual pretensioners.
Every Armada also features Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and a front passenger occupant classification sensor, active front seat head restraints, 3-point front seat belts with dual pretensioners and load limiters, 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants (including center position), LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchor system and Zone Body construction with front and rear crushable zones.
An Array of Available Equipment
The Armada is offered in Armada SE and Armada LE models in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive. A number of optional packages are available to allow buyers to tune their vehicles to their exact needs and desires.
The SE model, like all Armadas, starts with the 5.6-liter Nissan Endurance V8, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel independent suspension and fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats. Key SE features include a body color grille, P265/70R18 tires on 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, 8-passenger seating and full-length overhead console, step rails, 6CD in-dash autochanger and proximity sensors.
The Armada LE adds a higher level of luxury appointments, including a chrome grille with black mesh insert, 2nd row bucket seats with removable center console and leather-appointed seats with side-impact air bags.
Available equipment packages for SE models include a Bose Package, Leather Package, Sunroof Package, Journey Package and Off-Road Adventure Package.
Armada LE packages include the 2nd Row Split Bench Seat Package, Sunroof Package and Technology Package with rear power lift gate and navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD screen.
A pair of function packages are also offered: the DVD Family Entertainment System with rear display, center console video port, two wireless headphones and DVD changer, and the Tow Package (SE only) with rear suspension levelizer and other special towing equipment.
Eight exterior colors are offered: Blizzard (white), Galaxy (black), Silver Lightening (silver), Smoke (dark silver), Sahara Gold, Deep Water (blue), Red Brawn and Canteen (green). Interior color combinations include Sand, Graphite and Steel.