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2008 Nissan Armada

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SUV Review: At the large end of the SUV market is the Nissan Armada, a competitor to the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition. I tested an Armada a couple of years ago and was impressed with it then. So how has it held up over the years? Relatively well I would say.

The looks have not changed, which is good from my perspective. The Armada has a presence to it, especially in midnight black. It looks substantial, which it is, with a length of 206.9", a width of 78.8", and the height of 78.7" in 4WD. The 2WD SE has a base weight of 5,302 lbs., which goes up to 5,674 lbs. for the LE 4WD.  

The Nissan Armada is powered by a great 5.6-litre, DOHC V8 motor that makes 317-hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. The power is transmitted through a 5-speed automatic transmission to the rear axle, and with 4WD it goes through a 2-speed transfer case. There are two optional rear axle ratios, the standard 2.937:1 ratio or the optional "Off-Road" 3.357:1 axle ratio.

The Armada I drove was a 2WD, which is also available with the 3.357 ratio. I was a little concerned because I had to drive to Reno over the Donner Pass and there was a little snow but not enough to worry about. And if you tow something like a midsize boat or camper the Armada will not let you down, it will tow up to 9,100 lbs. in 2WD or 9,000 lbs. in 4WD.

The Armada has three rows of seating standard, providing for seating up to 8 people depending on the seat configuration. Up front there are two huge bucket seats. The second row can be ordered with either two bucket seats or a bench seat, and the third row is a bench. Both the middle and rear seats easily fold flat to provide up to 97.1 cubic inches of cargo space, going down to 56.7 with the just the rear seat folded, and 20 cubic feet if all seats are up.

The front and middle seats are relatively easy to get in or out of, the rear seat, like most, is best left to the more agile amongst us. The "step up" to get into the Armada is just over 20". And the Armada is truly a "hat" vehicle.  There is so much headroom that you could just about wear Abe Lincoln's stovepipe hat, and still not hit the roof.

Driving to Reno is about 235 miles from my house, so I got to give the Armada a pretty good work out. I was truly impressed with the ride, handling, and comfort of the Armada. And like most tall SUVs, you have a commanding view of the road from the driver's seat.

Even in its base trim the Armada is a very well equipped vehicle. The list of optional equipment is comprised of items that truly should be optional.   There are a few optional packages that combine the more common items.

I'd probably opt for the Technology Package, which includes a Bose audio system, sunroof, leather, and navigational system. Then I'd most likely add on the Tow package just in case I wanted to tow something. The full-blown Technology Package adds $4,250 to the bottom line and the tow package is standard on the LE, but adds $650 to the SE.

Like many SUVs this size the Armada does not come cheap. A base 2WD SE is $35,330. And the price goes up to $44,630 for the LE Flexible Fuel Vehicle gasoline / ethanol package.

No one should expect great fuel economy from a vehicle of this size. The Armada is rated at a best of 12-city and 18-highway. I got all excited when on the downhill run towards Sacramento on Interstate 80 the digital display crept up to an average of almost 22-mpg but that was soon vanquished once we hit the flat land and I ended up with an average of just under 18-mpg.

I, like many readers, enjoy the comfort of long distance travel in a vehicle like the Armada. With the price of gasoline moving ever upward no one is sure what will happen to the large SUV market, A large segment of the population likes driving a big vehicle, whether they really need one or not.   With fuel edging towards $4.00 per gallon, or higher, many can no long afford to fill a 28-gallon fuel tank.

It is a safe bet that all the automakers are burning the midnight oil to increase the fuel mileage of these vehicles. Let's hope they are successful.

Bruce Hotchkiss AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline: SUV Review provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The Armada is a very well equipped SUV
Topic: The 2008 Nissan Armada
Word Count:  839
Photo Caption: The 2008 Nissan Armada
Photo Credits: Nissan Armada Internet Media
Series #:  2008 - 12

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