Students of history know the Spanish Armada was one of the most formidable fleet of ships of the 16th Century. They also know the Armada was ultimately a victim of its own size and was readily defeated by the English navy. Which begs the question; why would Nissan name its flagship SUV Armada?
The answer to that question lies buried somewhere in the annals of Nissan’s history. However, like that Spanish fleet, the Nissan Armada is one of the largest SUVs available today. The thing is huge.
Standing in front of one is like looking up at a mountain. The good news is because of its size, spaciousness is a given. The Armada seats up to eight people quite comfortably, and with its fold-flat second and third rows, can be converted into a virtual moving van.
Introduced at the New York Auto Show in 2003, as a 2004 model, the Nissan’s powerful V8 engine endows it with a 9100-pound tow rating. The model’s original name for the body on a fully boxed frame SUV was Pathfinder Armada, in a nod to Nissan’s most popular SUV. For the 2005 model year the Pathfinder name was dropped and the super-sized SUV sailed forth under the Armada name.
While its size does present some challenges, among them fuel economy (big surprise there — right?) and finding somewhere to dock uh, park the big-ass thing, its driving manners are quite refined. The Armada accelerates, steers, stops, and hauls with outstanding capability.
IT’S JUST BIG!
There’s good news though, thanks to a four-wheel independent suspension system with double wishbones at all four corners, the Armada rides smoothly and handles reasonably — for its size. There has been but one generation of the Nissan Armada offered to date.