This week I found myself in North Carolina to test-drive the Nissan Armada SE 4X4 SUV. Ok, so I would also be carrying 4 sets of golf clubs to Pinehurst – site of the 2005 US Open. And yes Richard, we had to play #2 even though it was yet another “Surcharge”. And no it wasn’t worth the extra $150 even if it didn’t add frustration to round of golf.
Its notoriety is simply due to the domed greens – yes the very ones that made John Daly walk off the course in ’98 or ’99. The course was not in very good condition and they should have paid me to play it. #4 on the other hand is a beautiful course and #7 was OK too. We got rained out of playing #8, but by then my body was sore and tired.
Well aside from the difficult golf everyone seemed to enjoy the ride in this SUV. Charlotte airport is about 112 miles from Pinehurst so we had some time to pick on this Armada if we wanted to. The name is appropriate since if felt like you were aboard a Spanish warship from the fleet. This has got to be one of the most substantial feelings of all the competition. Everyone aboard liked the ride as much as me. Anchors a-weigh.
Public Service: Well, last week I said that when driving, keep your head down and follow through. Although it is good golf advice and I did a pretty good job of taking that advice the long straight drives didn’t reflect on my score all that much. I did much better driving the Armada no matter what Richard says.
Handling & Performance:
I felt dwarfed, as did “too tall” Norm. But in spite of its massive size and feel it was amazingly stable and off course you could see the road great. If you have to tote a lot of stuff and passengers this is the hot ticket. We carried 4 hombres with luggage and large golf bags in travel cases. That puppy was loaded down and handled like a champ. The 305 horsepower engine helped a lot in that department. But the 8 cylinders sucked up gas like it was cheap and plentiful. It gets no better than 18 mpg on the highway and that translates to piss poor performance from that point of view.
The Armada has sharp angular design touches that you either like or hate. Me? Oh I like it. But then I like the look of a Mack Truck too. Yep, everything is very oversized on this Armada. After the overall look the first thing you notice is the huge door handles. If you like dainty look at the Lexus. I gotta believe this will be embraced more by men – just a guess.
Fit and Finish:
When components are so large you hardly notice how they all fit together. That’s a good thing. But I did look and all the lines are straight and true. But that didn’t surprise me – Japanese manufacturers are very particular about how their products are pieced together.
Wow! Close to $40 grand. Well, everything else is big too, so why not the price. So brace yourself at the pump where the cost continues.
The list of features is very complete and more than I need and in some cases more than I want. I subscribe to the KISS principle.
If money for gas is no object and you need a lot of space to carry up to 8 and haul a few tons, and you like the macho bulky feeling this is a great choice. H2 would be a similar choice and the H3 is right in there too. I’m testing the H3 now and will let you know in the next few weeks.
Nissan Armada SE $34-42,000, Ford Expedition $33-45,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $56,000, Lincoln Navigator $49-55,000, Hummer H2 $53,000, GMC Yukon XL $38-43,000, GMC Yukon $35-40,000, Lexus LX 470 $66,995, Cadillac Escalade $54-70,000, GMC Yukon Denali $50-52,000, Chevrolet Suburban $37-43,000, Infiniti QX56 $50-53,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000.
Very roomy and comfortable, tow rating of up to 6,000 pounds and seats up to 8.
Gas guzzler with 28 gallon fuel tank to allow you to get from gas station to gas station,
5.6 liter 305 hp V8 engine, 5-speed auto trans, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, all mode 4-wheel drive system, Oil pan skid plate, front and rear stabilizer bars, 18” alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, roof rack, running boards, liftgate with opening glass, seating for 8, AM/FM with 6-in dash CD audio system with 8 speakers, rear audio controls, steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control, climate control independent front and rear, power drivers 8-way seat with adjustable pedals, fold down passenger seat and fold flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, large lockable center console storage, 3 row overhead console with compass and temperature display, 6 overhead dome lights, 6 tie down anchor points, remote keyless entry system, power windows and locks, manual rear flip out quarter windows, extender visors, speed sensitive variable intermittent wipers front and rear, rear proximity sensors, supplemental roof mounted curtain airbags with side impact and rollover protection for all three rows, advanced air bag system, anchors and tethers for children and rear door locks, dynamic control system, tire pressure monitoring system and vehicle security and immobilizer systems.
13 City and 18 Highway MPG