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2014 Nissan Armada Overview
For rugged, roomy and trailer-capable transportation, nothing beats a full-size truck-based sport ute. Nissan’s 2014 Armada lineup remains a case in point. Offering seating for 8 in 3 rows, 97.1 cubic feet of hauling capacity, available full-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) and a hefty dollop of standard features, this big ute conquers the commute, the building supply run and the trail less taken with equal aplomb.
Designed to compete with the likes of Ford’s Expedition, Chevy’s Tahoe and Toyota’s Sequoia, this oversize Nissan comes in 3 trims: the base SV, the up-featured SL and the flagship Platinum. All are delivered with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), while all remain eligible for an available quasi-off-road-capable All Mode 4WD system with dual-range gearing that allows cruising in fuel-efficient rear-wheel drive under normal conditions and stands ready to divert torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when maneuvering through snow or mud. When trails get especially challenging, a low-range gear can be brought into play to get (slowly) from one backwoods path to another.
About the only noteworthy change for the this year’s Armada is the introduction of the optional Platinum Reserve Package, which adorns the top-shelf Platinum trim with unique high-end interior and exterior trim pieces in truly exotic colors and also includes genuine wood interior accents.
Again powering this big SUV is a variable-valve-timed (VVT) 5.6-liter V8 engine that once more comes under the management of a noticeably less-than-efficient 5-speed automatic transmission. Look for 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque from this V8-dominated drivetrain, with towing capabilities maxed out at over 9,000 pounds when the available towing package is installed. Mileage, however, remains the Achilles heel of this particular beast at a depressing 13 mpg city/19 highway in RWD versions and 12/18 in 4WD editions.
Anyhow, standard appearance bling in the base Armada SV includes 18-inch alloy wheels, step running boards, a roof rack and heated power-adjustable mirrors, with cabin décor enhanced by cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, reclining second-row seats and full power accessories. Of course, cruise control comes standard in this entry-level trim, as do tilt-wheel steering, rear parking sensors and power-adjustable pedals, while a 7-inch vehicle info/trip computer display remains complemented by Bluetooth hands-free calling. Entertainment, meantime, is offered via a single-CD player boasting 8 speakers, audio/video input, satellite radio and a USB port. And once again, standard tri-zone climate control keeps everyone cool.
Moving up to the midlevel SL, look for much of the above stuff, as well as the addition of 20-inch alloy wheels, heated, leather-upholstered front seats, power-folding third-row seatbacks, a trailer hitch and wiring, a power liftgate, remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera. This mid-level trim also tacks on 12 Bose premium speakers, not to mention dedicated rear audio controls.
The top-level Platinum, finally, throws a standard heated steering wheel into the mix, as well as rear-seat DVD entertainment, memory for driver's settings and a hard-drive-based navigation system with 7-inch touchscreen display.
Among the more notable options, meantime, are the aforementioned Platinum Reserve Package, as well as second-row captain’s chairs (lowering passenger capacity to 7) and/or Flex-Fuel-capable engine tweaks.
Reflecting last year’s trim offerings, the 2014 Armada packs such standard safety features as 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, 3-row head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and active front headrests. Dusk-sensing headlights also come standard across the line, as does a remote antitheft alarm. The SL and Platinum trims, meantime, additionally flaunt standard front fog/driving lights, with the Platinum also sporting standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.