First Drive: 2017 Nissan Armada

– Carmel, California

If you’re looking at these photos of the 2017 Nissan Armada and thinking, “Hmm, that sure looks familiar…” you’re not crazy. To paraphrase Troy McClure, you might remember it from such vehicles as the Nissan Patrol, or the Infiniti QX80. But this repurposed, more comfortable, Americanized Patrol is a good fit as a new Armada for the U.S. market, where fullsize SUVs are still hugely popular, even in the wake of super-high fuel prices. You can downsize your car, but you can’t downsize your family. If you need the full feature set of a big SUV like this one, the Patrol-based Armada definitely has what it takes to be competitive in this class of big guys.

It’s big and boxy, but certainly more attractive than the outgoing Armada – you can tell this one was actually designed in the current decade. But more than that, I find the more subdued styling and crisper lines to be better than the decidedly ugly looks of the Infiniti version. From every angle, the Armada is rough and tough, albeit with a few premium touches thrown in. That’s especially true on this Platinum tester with its 20-inch wheels, two-tone body color, and tastefully appointed chrome brightwork.

2017 Nissan Armada: First Drive
2017 Nissan Armada: First Drive


It’s big and boxy, but certainly more attractive than the outgoing Armada.

A similarly huge improvement is found inside, with a modern cabin that’s comfortable, stylish, and nicely appointed. Sure, you’ll recognize a lot of the Nissan/Infiniti parts-bin switchgear, but none of it feels particularly...