Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada Overview

Body
Mega Mover

The Pathfinder lends its name to a new, larger Nissan SUV aimed squarely at the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia. The Pathfinder Armada is based on the equally-new Titan pickup truck, though it receives a fully-independent rear suspension and a number of upgrades aimed at quieting the interior and smoothing out the ride. We're told that the Pathfinder itself will continue to be produced and that a new model is in the works as you read this. Though technically named the Pathfinder Armada, we found most people, including ourselves, simply referring to the vehicle as "the Armada." No matter what you call it, Nissan's newest SUV is a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to power, towing and onboard conveniences.

The Armada is a formidable looking vehicle that has a way of standing out in a crowd. From the front you'll notice the oversized headlights, chiseled hood and bright chrome bumper and grille surrounds. The side view reveals more unorthodox design elements including an arching canopy line above the doors, bulging rear-fender flares and the Pathfinder's signature high-mounted rear door handles; enormous 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels are surrounded by fat P265/70R18 tires. You'll notice that there is not much sheet metal beyond the front and rear wheels, a purposeful design that makes both parking and tight maneuvering a much less trying chore.

The Armada design team focused much of its attention on improving those features that most appeal to SUV buyers. Roominess certainly ranks high on the list—as does ease of entry for the third-row passengers—so Nissan has equipped the spacious Armada interior with an excellent set of second-row captain's chairs separated by a removable center console. With the console out, passengers are granted easy access to the third-row seat without having to disturb those already seated in the second row. The rear-most bench seat rests on an elevated platform that allows its occupants to see over the heads of those up front; the downside to this design is that anyone over six foot won't be able to sit without their head hitting the ceiling, leading us to the conclusion that the third-row seat is best suited for kids. When it comes time to swap passengers for cargo, you'll find that the Armada's flat-folding second and third-row seats quickly create a wide cargo floor measuring ten feet in length—and that's with the rear hatch closed!

Comfort and convenience is another must have for SUV families, so the Nissan team has outfitted the Armada with one of the most refreshing and innovative interiors ever to grace a SUV. Up front, you'll discover a wide console complete with floor-mounted shifter—a first in this segment. The broad dashboard imparts a feeling of strength and security, with all of its pertinent controls made easy to operate via large rotary knobs. Power-adjustable seats, a tilt wheel and power-adjustable foot pedals ensure that drivers of all sizes can find a comfortable perch from which to pilot the Armada. Gazing overhead, you'll find a long console that runs nearly the length of the vehicle, populated by air vents and swivel lights, just like those found on passenger planes; there is even an optional DVD entertainment system with a flip-down rear display. To keep your crew safe, the Armada provides three-point seat belts at all positions and a ceiling-mounted side-curtain airbag that covers all three rows.

Minor details have not been overlooked either, as is evidenced by the 14-cup holders dispersed throughout the interior (some capable of holding a 64-ounce Big Gulp). You'll discover numerous storage bins and 12-volt outlets throughout the cabin and a litany of pleasant interior decor options that include a choice of two-tone color schemes and the option of full leather seating.

On the road, you'll find the Armada behaves more like a mid-size truck than the gargantuan SUV it really is. The steering feel is taut and the Armada's short front-end makes it possible to cut really close corners with complete confidence. So long as the road remains fairly smooth, the Armada maintains a very livable ride; but upon first encounter with large dips or shaky, uneven pavement, the Armada's truck-oriented roots quickly become more evident. In any case, once you feel the power that the Armada's standard 5.6-liter V8 provides, we're sure you'll quickly forget any minor shudder or momentary vibration you've just encountered. With a whopping 305 horsepower on tap, the Armada can get up a move like a thoroughbred racehorse on its best day. Not only is the engine quick, its also bullishly strong, providing the Armada with a 9100-pound tow rating.

The Armada is available in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive and offers three trim levels: SE, SE Off-road and LE. Four-wheel drive models employ a full-time all-wheel-drive system that automatically shifts power to whichever wheels need it most; the system also includes a two-speed electronic transfer case that allows you to shift into full-time four-wheel drive or four-wheel low. ABS, Vehicle Dynamic Control traction control, a tire pressure monitor, a rear parking sensor and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) are all standard features.

Options include leather seating, a power sunroof, onboard navigation, a Bose audio system, automatic air conditioning and a tow package that includes a seven-pin wiring harness plug, a final lower gear ratio and a rear suspension levelizer.

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