Three Big Fellows, Six Big Suitcases, Lil’ Ol Me, and the Perfect Road Trip Car
It must be true that everything is bigger in Texas. Certainly, the Nissan Armada Platinum Edition our family drove on a recent road trip through Texas fit right in. Texas is a big state with a lot of ground to cover and my family and I certainly put the Armada to the test driving in busy downtown areas of Houston and Austin and long hours on quiet country roads in Central Texas. This full size SUV packed the punch we needed to keep us safe, comfortable and entertained from Galveston to Waco and back to Houston over our week stay, all with grace and style. The Armada is a real keeper in our book!
Lots of Room
My husband is 6’8” and had plenty of leg room in the drivers seat. He never felt cramped even after long hours in the Armada. Our two teen sons—who are both 6’3″—were comfortable sitting in the back, even with the front seats all the way back. Using the power fold-down option we able to sink the 3rd row into the floor and use the 20 cubic feet available to fit in 6 large suitcases and a non-folding manual wheelchair. Even with all that stuff it was still possible to see easily out of the back while driving. What is impressive is that you have all this interior space, 91 cubic feet, without feeling like you are driving an RV. While its height and width are similar to a GMC Yukon, it’s sleek body style doesn’t have the feel of a more boxy SUV.
Lots of Little Luxuries
The wood tone trim and the soft leather seats immediately set the stage for a peaceful and luxurious ride, but it was the little things that made me really sit up and take notice. Like the heated steering wheel. This is a great feature for living in Colorado and something I have been longing for for quite some time. The separate entertainment systems in the back let kids watch DVDs or plug in their gaming systems, and the included wireless headsets are pure joy to the parents driving kids around. Entertainment systems help to eliminate the two road trip killer phrases: “Are we there yet?” and “He’s touching me!” The XM Radio helps to keep front row passengers entertained while the kids are tuned out in the back, and the navigation system, which boasts real time traffic and weather information, kept us on track and allowed us to switch paths to skip horrid backups in busy city traffic.
Mobility Factor: Awesome
Since our son is wheelchair user I feel compelled to mention that he had no issue independently transferring into the vehicle’s passenger side back seat. People with mobility disabilities with good upper body strength should be able to use this vehicle with little issue. And while lifting the wheel chair in and getting it out of the back can take some strength on the part of the driver/lifter, the cargo space is big enough that even our non-folding chair didn’t block my view out the back.
Overall this SUV has both style and value. While the $50,000 price is steep, you get a lot of luxury items standard with the car. If you are an SUV type of gal, you will love this. It’s got power and strong body design that look both tough and sexy. The kids will be happy in the back, the car connects to your phone and mobile devices, the navigation is smart and will save you time, the back-up camera and front sensors will keep you safe while pulling into parking spots and may even help you avoid a grocery cart or two. I would personally upgrade this model to the Platinum Reserve if I were buying it because I like the available two tone chocolate/almond trim and the chocolate carpets. Very handy when the inevitable spill happens. This is a great family car that a girl would be proud to drive (and make her male friends jealous to boot!).
What We Loved
Packs a good punch under the hood with good pick up and a surprisingly agile drive
Heated front and rear seats and steering wheel (perfect in our home state of Colorado)
Gorgeous body build: big, powerful and luxurious
Navigation featuring real time traffic and weather
Power features are everywhere-the moonroof, liftgate and 3rd row seating all operate by the push of a button
In addition to rear parking assist, it has a front sonar system which senses objects up to six feet away
What You Need To Know
MSRP $50,605 for the Platinum Edition we drove.
Platinum edition includes all the luxuries: heated seats and steering wheel, power moonroof, Bluetooth handsfree phone system, Rear View Monitor, Intelligent Key, Nissan Navigation System and DVD Entertainment System with Dual Monitors
Fuel Economy 13/19 MPG
Towing capacity of 8,200 lbs
Optional hatch tent available for camping
Disclosure: Nissan provided the Armada for our test drive; opinions here are all my own.