nissanarmadafront17What’s Hot: The Armada is all-new for the 2017 model year. The vehicle shares a platform with the brand’s pricier Infiniti QX80. For those who yearned for Infiniti’s massive looking Q80 or as some refer to it as, the Cadillac Escalade-fighter, but in a more affordable package, the new Armada has answered the call.

Rebadging the monstrous looking QX80 and adding on the Nissan grille was a genius move on the behalf of the design and engineering team. Essentially, the full size SUV offers many of the same amenities one could expect in its pricier Infiniti sibling from , but at a significantly lower price point and about 10 less horsepower. In fact, a well-equipped Nissan with a super powerful 8-cylinder, without the flashy, gaudy, grille plastered on the Infiniti, runs close to $25,000 to $30,000 less than its luxury sibling.

Unlike some of its segment competitors, the Armada offers the perfect ride and handling capabilities. Although this SUV is based-off of a truck platform thankfully it does not ride like one. We found all of the features located on the instrument panel to be user-friendly, too.

This brawny full size SUV is great for hauling family, friends or co-workers and is perfect to tool around town, tow a boat to the shore or just transport two to a black-tie event. It’s an all-around utility vehicle. Even the base SL trim is a winner in our book.

nissanarmada17

Like many of its segment competitors, the Armada offers the latest safety aids to help the driver navigate this monster. Some of those optional features consist of a blind spot warning system, a predictive forward collision warning system, a forward braking collision system and a backup collision intervention system. All of these features are supported by a rear camera.

What’s Not: It’s huge. It’s a gas guzzler, too, if prices zoom up to or near the $4.00 to $5.00 a gallon range. It’s a lot of vehicle to manage. And it’s a tight squeeze to get in and out of the third-row.

 Drive or Drive-By: In our opinion, this is one of the best full size SUVs on the market. Its affordable, stylish, bold-looking, roomy and provides an almost car-like ride. Nissan has hit a sweet spot with the reintroduction of the Armada. While some may say it’s just a reworked Infiniti QX80, it will make Infiniti buyers take a second look. We can’t see why one would pay upward of $30,000 more for an Infiniti, when they instead save that money and comfortably tool around in the Nissan.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $55,715 (Base Model MSRP: $45,495)

Seating Capacity: Eight

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; LED Daytime Running Lights; traction control system; automatic headlights; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; a hill start assist system; a tow mode function; vehicle dynamic control; a class IV trailer hitch; and a tire pressure monitoring system

 SL Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 7-speed automatic transmission; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; side step rails; an automatic closing liftgate; cloth seats; heated front seats; a power front seats; heated front seats; a push button ignition starter system; a dual zone A/C system; power folding outside mirrors; roof rack; a tow hitch receiver; and DVD playback capabilities

SV Standard Equipment: 20-inch wheels; power folding heated outside mirrors with a tilt down feature; a full size spare tire; chrome outside mirrors; leather seats; a power liftgate closure assist; memory driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering column; fog lights; one piece tailgate; pre-wiring for towing; 120-volt power outlet; welcome lighting; rain sensing windshield wipers; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; a remote engine start system; an around view camera monitor; a moving object detection system; and power folding third row seats

 Optional Features On Test Vehicle: Power moonroof; a radar activated cruise control; a blind spot warning system; a predictive forward collision warning system; a forward braking collision system; and a back up collision intervention system

 Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a Bose 13-speaker AM/FM/CD with satellite audio

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

 USB Connectivity: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

 Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.6-liter, 8-cylinder/390-hp

 Recommended Fuel: Unleaded

 Standard Fuel Mileage:

13-city/18-hwy

Towing Capacity: 8,500 lbs

 Competition: Chevy Tahoe; Ford Expedition; GMC Yukon; and Toyota Sequoia

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

PHOTOS: Jeff Fortson

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