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2018 Nissan Armada Reserve

Sep 26, 2018
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Take your pick of three-row mainline battle tanks that are designed to take you and your tribe cross-country on a wild adventure — or just cross-town to a ripping’ restaurant.

Open the menu to the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia and Dodge Durango. If you feel the need to indulge in one of these behemoths, you should add one more big boy to the page — the Nissan Armada.

Yes, but it looks especially classy in Reserve trim with 20-inch dark alloy wheels and dark chrome grille, mirrors and door handles. The body shell is shared with the Infiniti QX80, which means a muscular stance, gentle curves, mile-high bodysides and the elegant upturned rear windowline.

If you think you’ve seen this parade before, that’s because the Armada is cribbed from the global Nissan Patrol, which is most often seen painted white with UN logos on the sides.

You sit high and proud once you heave yourself up inside. Everything about the interior trim feels luxurious. It is — and comfortable, too.

The Reserve edition’s two-tone leather seats with inset waffle pattern are heated and cooled up front, heated outboard in the rear. There’s also a heated steering wheel, rear climate control, 13-speaker Bose audio system, power moonroof and remote starting. Open the power hatch and motor down the rear seats to haul almost anything.

The Armada has sensors of all types to manage the adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and forward crash mitigation systems. There are also lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot warning and back-up intervention systems. It’s a ride that will do everything possible to prevent a very bad day.

Fortunately, this hunk of steel and chrome also has no trouble shoving its ample nose into the wind and cruising off at whatever speed you deem appropriate.

That’s obvious from the moment the 5.6-liter V-8 whooshes to life and gives a hint at the 390 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque it delivers through a seven-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive system. It will tow up to 8,500 pounds.

As you may have guessed about this 5,963-pound truck, fuel economy is not its most beautiful feature. Expect 13/18-MPG city/highway.

You may take from its size and luxury accommodations that the Armada Reserve would be like piloting a sea-going yacht, but not so. It has enough power, but it also rides on a four-wheel independent suspension that does a reasonable job of soaking up rough pavement.

It’s not luxury-car smooth, but not bad for a big SUV. In a nod to its legitimate off-road capability, the truck has a pretty tight turning radius that’s great in the wild, but also pays off in tight downtown parking garages.

When you think about buying a full-size SUV, the Armada may not have made your short list. If so, make your list longer and put it near the top. It has the presence and capability of a very capable luxury wagon that coddles passengers in silk gloves (or comfy leather seats). To put one on reserve will cost at least $46,090, or $66,695 as tested.

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