• Nissan

Cole Nissan

3003 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

  • Sales: 866-216-4931
  • Service: 866-218-6131
  • Parts: 877-360-7065

Reviews

2011 Nissan Armada Walk Around


With its arching window line, semi-concealed rear door handles and Titan-esque front end, there is no mistaking the Armada for a generic sport-utility. Six-and-a-half feet tall and wide, it rides on a longer wheelbase than any full-size SUV except the Ford Expedition EL, Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL.

The three-part front grille conveys a strong Nissan-truck identity, its black cross-hatch texture framed by color-matched plastic or chrome, depending on the trim. The lower air opening sneers menacingly, a cartoon-character reflection of the Armada's big, bad and fun attitude.

At the rear, a heavily contoured tailgate offers glass-only or full hatch access to cargo with a relatively low lift for such a large truck; and the wiper parks off the glass to avoid interference with access or vision. The roof rack has recessed tie-down loop at each corner for securing cargo without scratching off paint or generating wind whistles.

Side steps are standard across the board, watering down the off-road image a bit but making it easier for shorter folks to climb aboard. Those who use the 2011 Nissan Armada for towing will appreciate the rear proximity sensors and optional rearview monitor for hooking up trailer, a great time saver that reduces the chance of a scratched rear bumper.

Interior

The Nissan Armada cabin looks, feels and sounds like a state-of-the-art SUV, and not like something lifted straight out of a work truck. (In fact, none of the interior pieces are shared with the Titan pickup.) The leather on the Platinum models features contrasting-color stitching.

The cabin is generously proportioned, with more middle-row legroom than the front of many cars, seating for seven or eight people, and nearly 100 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats to be split in a variety of ways. There are plenty of spaces to put smaller items and 14 beverage holders, some able to contain a half-gallon bottle.

Slide into the driver's seat and the sense of power envelopes even before anything is started. A commanding view forward is matched by the view to the back, which is relatively unobstructed, although the windshield pillars get quite wide at the base and conspire with large outside mirrors that could create blind spots for shorter drivers. With adjustments for pedals, seat and steering wheel, everyone can find a comfortable driving position.

Large captain's chairs are provided up front. A soft-touch sweeping dash encompasses complete instrumentation, woodgrain trim, a variety of colors and textures, and a comprehensive central area for control of audio, climate and drive systems. For the sheer volume of controls, everything is well-placed and fairly intuitive, although we admit some confusion over two Back buttons just two inches apart on some models. You do not need the Platinum's navigation system to have a rear-view camera.

The middle row is a 40/20/40 split bench, unless you order the Platinum trim with the optional captain's chairs and a console. The captain's chairs are more comfortable and luxurious for transporting adults in the second row. However, the bench is far more practical. Folding down the second-row bench creates a flat load floor. Conversely, the center console between the captain's chairs severely reduces its usefulness as a cargo area. So we'd vote for the bench seat, unless you transport very important people in the back seat.

Access to the third row is aided by the low floor, itself a byproduct of independent rear suspension (shared only by Ford Expedition in this class). The leather-look seat splits 60/40 for best load flexibility; a power fold third row is standard on most models. A full-length overhead console contains rear air controls and vents and reading lights for both back rows.

Cargo space expands to 97.1 cubic feet with all three rows of seats folded down. That's less than what's available in the Ford Expedition or Toyota Sequoia, but it's a big cargo space. Folding down the second- and third-row seats results in a perfectly flat cargo floor. Flaps flip down to help cover the small gaps between the seats. Folding down just the third row presents a flat 56-cubic foot cargo area with no gaps that appears safe for a dog. With all seats in place, there's 20 cubic feet of space, plenty for hauling groceries.

On Platinum models, the overhead console also houses an 8-inch screen for the DVD player. The system comes with two sets of wireless headphones, a remote control and a separate video port.

Desert testing wasn't on the program, but the combination of opening rear quarter windows (powered on Platinum) and a powerful ventilation system did keep third row occupants comfortable in an 83-degree thunderstorm gridlock in a black-on-black Armada. With 11 speakers throughout, myriad source choices, and marked reductions in road and engine noise, the sound system easily keeps a crew entertained.