2004 Nissan Armada

The full-size 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada, the newest member of Nissan’s diverse family of authentic sport utility vehicles, takes the Pathfinder name and reputation for innovation to a new dimension. Designed to be a full-size SUV for full-size lives, the Pathfinder Armada makes its world debut today at the New York International Auto Show. The new Nissan Pathfinder Armada will be available at 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide beginning in fall 2003.

The Nissan lineup of SUVs now includes vehicles for practically every use or desire ? from the “everything you need, nothing you don’t” simplicity of the popular Xterra, to the versatile Pathfinder, to the “on-road adventurer” Murano, and now the powerful, roomy, eight-passenger Pathfinder Armada.

“The new Pathfinder Armada is designed for owners with active lifestyles, families that need all of the traditional full-size SUV strengths but who are looking for a higher level of style, rewarding features and the flexibility that encourages spontaneity and adventure,” said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “More than just a passive carrier for passengers and their cargo, Pathfinder Armada is a vehicle that allows ? and inspires ? larger-than-life moments.”

Expressive Exterior Styling

The new Pathfinder Armada offers a distinctive image, led by its advanced design concept. The combination of a long wheelbase and manageable overall length gives the Pathfinder Armada enhanced stability and handling, and a longer interior with plenty of cargo room – yet short front and rear overhangs for good maneuverability.

In researching the full-size SUV market, Nissan designers and product planners found that many SUV buyers are looking for fresh styling appearance beyond the current offerings in class.

“Along with improved driving dynamics and more functional flexibility, one of the key unmet needs of the segment is uniqueness and distinctiveness,” said Kirrane. “Buyers are ready for something new and different? not just another generic SUV.”

The Pathfinder Armada design starts with its wide stance, with the body gesture following from the tire sidewalls up. The headlights are straightforward but powerful, the hood massive yet refined. The sheer A-pillar design calls attention to the tight, tailored precision of the upper body with the B-, C- and D-pillars acting as a frame for the highly polished feel of the body structure. The tailgate has a substantial look without feeling heavy and the massive bumpers project the Pathfinder Armada’s strength and power.

Other exterior features include a standard body-color grille and chrome front door handles, dual power-adjustable heated chrome side mirrors (with puddle lamps on LE models), standard running boards, privacy glass for the 2nd and 3rd rows and available power rear liftgate, manual flip-out rear quarter windows (power-operated on LE models) and halogen headlights. All models are also offered with a standard proximity sensor system (back-up obstacle warning) in the rear bumper.

“From the stepped-up roofline and two-piece roof rack to the standard 18-inch wheels and tires, you get a strong sense of quality, style and individuality. There’s a familiar Nissan link without being a virtual copy of our other SUVs ? a freshness that we think will endure for a long time to come,” said Kirrane.

An Inspired Interior Design

Though the Pathfinder Armada is Nissan?s first full-size SUV, it follows in the tradition of other authentic Nissan SUVs in providing an interior environment designed for active families. Its advanced, ergonomic interior styling combines a modern appearance with traditional ruggedness.

Key to the Pathfinder Armada design concept is exceptional versatility, roominess and flexibility – including standard fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, the most 2nd row leg room in the full-size, light duty SUV class, choice of 8-passenger seating or 7-passenger, ample cargo space behind the 3rd row seat, and a full-length overhead console with map lights, vents and available DVD Family Entertainment System.

In front, an 8-way power-adjustable driver?s seat and available 6-way adjustable front passenger?s seat provide a sense of comfort and luxury, while the fold-down front passenger seat features cup holders and a recessed “work area.” The large front console offers excellent storage capacity. Three 12-volt power outlets are located on the console and instrument panel for use with cellular phones and portable electronic devices.

The standard floor-mounted shifter (first in the full-size, light duty SUV class) adds a sporty appearance and enhanced shift control when towing. Also standard are adjustable brake and accelerator pedals with transmission interlock.

Seton leather-appointed seats (leather standard on LE, optional on SE) and a satellite-based navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD screen are also available. The standard full-length overhead console includes individual map lamps and ventilation outlets.

The 2nd row features a choice of a fold-flat 2nd row bench seat or available fold-flat 2nd row captain?s chairs with an innovative, removable 2nd row center console. The 2nd row leg room of 41.9 inches (best in the full-size, light duty SUV class) provides passengers room to ride in comfort, while an available DVD Family Entertainment System with two wireless headphones and remote control and 10-speaker Bose? audio system offers a variety of entertainment options. The Bose system’s dual media capability allows use of radio and CD at the same time (headphones must be used to listen to second audio source).

The fold-flat 3rd row seats are designed for easy operation and easy access. “In addition, a thoughtful design feature raises the 3rd row seats higher than the 2nd row to facilitate easier conversation and better visibility for the occupants,” said Kirrane.

There is also a large amount of storage space behind the 3rd row seat. With the 2nd and 3rd row seats folded down, the Pathfinder Armada offers a nearly flat floor. And, with the front passenger seat in the fold-down position, it is possible to carry items up to 10-feet in length with the rear liftgate closed. In addition to ample headroom, the 3rd row includes side storage bins and cupholders. The rear cargo area also includes ceiling and floor-mounted cargo hooks, while available accessories include a cargo net and cargo tray.

Up to 14 cupholders are available throughout the Pathfinder Armada, with some capable of holding 64-ounce size cups. Other storage areas include instrument panel side pockets, the center console main storage bin with side pockets, bottle holders in the front and side doors, and a driver?s seat rear pocket.

The Power To Pursue Big Adventures

The Pathfinder Armada is the most powerful Nissan SUV ever built. Utilizing an all-new platform, the Pathfinder Armada features a rugged, fully boxed high-strength steel frame for enhanced crash performance and long-term durability; an independent double-wishbone rear suspension designed for improved roominess, comfort and responsive handling; and an all-new 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve Nissan Endurance V8 engine offering one of the highest standard horsepower/torque ratings in the full-size, light duty SUV class and the highest maximum towing capacity in class (when properly equipped) of up to 9,100 pounds.

The Nissan Endurance V8, which is assembled at Nissan’s advanced engine facility in Dechard, Tenn., is shared with the all-new Nissan Titan full-size pickup. Nearly 90 percent of the engine’s impressive torque is available below 2,500 rpm ? where it’s needed for hauling, towing or slow-speed off-road driving.

The engine’s advanced design includes features such as an aluminum engine block with cast iron cylinder liners, chain-driven dual overhead camshafts with silent single-stage timing chain, microfinished forged steel crankshaft and microfinished camshafts, molybdenum-coated pistons and electronic drive-by-wire throttle for precise control.

An electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode is standard on every Pathfinder Armada. The transmission utilizes a unique gear set chosen specifically for use in high torque situations, along with an advanced torque converter design for improved fuel economy and an advanced powertrain management program for improved shift quality. The tow/haul mode revises the shift pattern when towing and hauling.

Pathfinder Armada models equipped with the towing package also receive a higher axle ratio and a transmission temperature gauge. Other tow package equipment includes a receiver hitch, heavy-duty radiator, additional 7-pin wiring harness plug, trailer brake pre-wiring, heavy-duty battery and rear suspension air levelizer.

The new Pathfinder Armada’s off-road credentials are equally impressive, with 4-wheel drive models featuring an advanced full-time automatic control system. Utilizing all-wheel drive technology derived from Nissan?s world-class Skyline GT-R sports coupe (rather than less sophisticated truck-based systems), the Pathfinder Armada 4WD system is designed to instantly distribute torque to all four wheels whenever road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), resulting in optimal traction with improved fuel economy and enhanced cornering capability.

The two-speed electronic transfer case allows the driver to select between auto, full-time 4-wheel drive and 4-Lo. The crawl ratio in 4Lo is among the best among competitors, providing enhanced low speed driving force and hill descending ability. Under normal driving conditions, 4WD Pathfinder Armadas operate in two-wheel drive mode.

The Pathfinder Armada?s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) includes standard off-road tuning for improved braking on loose gravel. There is also a high ground clearance (9.8 inches for 2WD models 4WD models). Heavy-duty skid plates (oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case) are available as part of the Off-Road Package. The Off-Road Package also includes Rancho? off-road performance shocks.

While the Pathfinder Armada is well equipped for rugged activities, it is equally capable of tackling everyday driving tasks with comfort and style. The standard all-steel front double-wishbone suspension with coil-over shock absorbers and stabilizer bar is matched with a responsive independent double-wishbone rear suspension.

Along with compliant handling, the rear suspension design also provides a high ride quality for 2nd and 3rd row passengers and maximizes rear interior space by minimizing the intrusion of suspension components into the interior compartment.

A rear air leveling system (available with towing package) provides improved handling stability and ride comfort when towing or carrying heavy cargo. The system, which automatically adjusts the air pressure in the suspension bladders, helps maintain a uniform ground clearance and departure angle when towing or when carrying heavy cargo.

Other key platform components found on every new Pathfinder Armada include engine speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with Bosch Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system with Traction Control and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).

BSW Conti-Trac SUV 265/70R18 tires (the largest standard tire in class) are offered with standard aluminum-alloy wheels (5-spoke on SE, 6-spoke on LE models), while off-road package equipped models feature P285/70R17 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail All-Terrain tires on 17×7.5J 7-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels. A standard 29-gallon fuel tank provides an excellent driving range.

An Emphasis on Advanced Safety Technology

The new Pathfinder Armada offers an extensive list of standard and available safety features, including standard roof-mounted curtain supplemental air bags that help provide rollover and side-impact protection to all three rows and standard side-impact supplemental air bags (seat mounted).

Every Pathfinder Armada also features Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and a front passenger occupant classification sensor, 3-point front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants (including center position), LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren) child seat anchor system and Zone Body construction with front and rear crushable zones.

A Wide Range of Models and Equipment

The new Pathfinder Armada will be offered in Pathfinder Armada SE, Pathfinder Armada SE Off-Road and Pathfinder Armada LE models in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive. A number of optional packages are available to allow buyers to tune their vehicles to their exact needs and desires.

The SE model, like all Pathfinder Armadas, starts with the 5.6-liter Nissan Endurance V8, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel independent suspension and fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats. Key SE features include a body color grille, P265/70R18 tires on 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, 8-passenger seating and full-length overhead console.

The Pathfinder Armada SE Off-Road model adds equipment specially designed for enhanced all-terrain capabilities, including Rancho? performance shock absorbers, a lower final gear ratio (3.357:1), P285/70R17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires mounted on unique “off-road” style aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lamps and three skid plates.

The Pathfinder Armada LE adds a higher level of luxury appointments, including a chrome grille with black mesh insert, 2nd row bucket seats with removable center console, leather-appointed seats and board-type running boards.

Available equipment packages include SE Bose Advantage Package, SE Leather Premium Package, SE/SE Off-Road Expanded Sunroof Package, SE Journey Package and SE Off-Road Adventure Package.

Pathfinder Armada LE packages include the LE 2nd Row Split Bench Seat Package, LE Upgrade Package, LE Expanded Sunroof Package and LE Technology Package with power liftgate and navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD screen.

A pair of function packages are also offered: the DVD Family Entertainment System with rear display, center console video port, two wireless headphones and DVD changer, and the Big Tow Package (SE only) with rear suspension levelizer and other special towing equipment.

Eight exterior colors are offered: Blizzard (white), Galaxy (black), Coolness (silver), Smoke (dark silver), Copper, Deep Water (blue), Sedona (red/brown) and Canteen (green). Interior color combinations include Sand/Sand, Graphite/Titanium and Steel/Titanium.

“The all-new 2004 Pathfinder Armada enters the full-size SUV market with a proud heritage and a laser-like focus on innovative solutions to customer needs,” said Kirrane. “Its standout design, unique features, advanced performance and safety technology, built on a foundation of exceptional performance, create in the Pathfinder Armada a vehicle that’s ready for anything ? a worthy flagship among Nissan’s full line of adventurous SUVs.”

With the recent introduction of its first full-sized SUV, the Pathfinder Armada, Nissan now has a comprehensive sport-utility lineup. But, other than part of its name and high-mounted rear door handles, the Nissan Pathfinder Armada has nothing in common with the familiar Nissan Pathfinder. Why the “Pathfinder” in its name when it shares more with the recently-introduced Titan full-sized pickup truck?

That just seems to be the Nissan way – when a new vehicle debuts, Nissan leverages the name of an existing one. The first Altima, over a decade ago, was officially the Stanza Altima, replacing the previous Stanza. The “Stanza” part of the name was quickly discontinued.

Expect the same of the (Pathfinder) Armada – but the smaller Pathfinder lives, with the next generation debuting for 2005, and based on the Armada platform. And the “Armada” name? While it sounds menacing and macho, in keeping with the image of a large SUV, it is a plural word. Webster defines it as “1: a fleet of warships 2: a large force of moving things (as vehicles).” “Armada” means “Navy” in Spanish-speaking countries, but the word is most familiar to Americans from European history as the Spanish Armada, soundly defeated by the British in 1588. Presumably, if the Armada is sold in the United Kingdom it will be under another name…. So, to say “The full-sized sport-utility class has just been attacked by an armada of Nissan Armadas” is perfectly correct.

Nissan was late to the full-size SUV market, but did its homework when designing the Armada. It has the power, comfort, and features demanded by today’s SUV buyers. While the Armada is based on the Titan platform and uses the same 5.6-liter V8 engine and five-speed automatic transmission, it is not merely a pickup with a full-length body. The Titan’s leaf-sprung solid rear axle is replaced by a coil-sprung independent rear suspension, for improved ride and handling characteristics and more interior space. Both trim levels, SE and LE, are very well-equipped, with the LE adding luxury appointments. A fold-flat third-row seat is standard, with a second-row bench or captain’s chairs available. Both rear- and four-wheel drive versions are offered, with a heavy-duty off-road package available.

I’ve just finished a week with an almost fully-equipped 4×4 Armada LE. I can easily forgive Nissan for the strange naming, for the Armada is an exceptionally comfortable and capable truck. Nissan’s stated goal was to build something that was “not just another generic SUV,” and the Armada is definitely not generic.

APPEARANCE:

SUVs are squarish, boring, two-box designs, right? Perhaps a bit of flash and filigree is added, but boxes are boxes. Except if the SUV is a Nissan Armada. While it broadly fits the two-box mold, the boxes are modified with a well-raked windshield and a prominent arch over the doors. The effect is high-tech stagecoach. Add the bold front and hood styling, shared with the Titan, and the Titan’s blistered fender flares, and this is a vehicle that stands out from the crowd.

COMFORT:

Space, style, and versatility are reasons to buy a sport-utility, and the Armada scores well in those categories. If its interior is not the absolute largest in its class, it is big enough to hold seven or eight people in comfort, with convenience for all. The front buckets provide good support and comfort. The driver’s seat is power-adjustable in all models, with a power passenger seat available. The driving environment is very good, with a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and power-adjustable pedals to allow the perfect driving position. Instrument panel design, while ultramodern, with more in common with an upscale sedan than a truck, does not sacrifice function to style. Storage spaces abound, with a large glove box and door pockets complemented by a huge center console with open and locking closed storage. Second-row captain’s chairs are standard in the LE and optional in the SE, with a bench available in the LE. Second-row is not second class, with best in class legroom. Headroom is good, too. The Armada is wide enough that three adults should be able to fit in the bench. My test vehicle had the reclining captain’s chairs – which come with a large console, almost a twin to the one in front. It can be removed, and each second-row seat has flip and fold or full tumble functions for third-row access or cargo ability. The third row will hold three medium-sized people. It easily folds flat into the floor when not needed, and so does not have to be removed by a weightlifter. Second- and third-row passengers have storage spaces and cupholders; a DVD entertainment system is optional. Luggage capacity with the third row up is tight, but no worse than in other short-wheelbase full-size SUVs. An optional remote-control tailgate adds convenience.

SAFETY:
Three-point safety belts are provided for all seating positions, and the Nissan Advanced Airbag system includes front-row side protection bags and supplemental roof-mounted curtain airbags that provide side-impact and rollover protection for all three rows. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are enhanced by a standard vehicle dynamic control system.

ROADABILITY:

Like many a modern car or crossover SUV, the Armada’s wheels are pushed toward the corners for better space utilization. But it’s no lightweight (in all meanings of that word) wannbe urban poseur vehicle. With body-on-frame construction featuring a rigid, fully-boxed frame and fully-independent suspension, it’s a very capable, very serious truck. Its relatively long wheelbase and wide track enhance stability and comfort. The independent rear suspension is not the most unusual specification – the available four-wheel drive system, while of the off-road serious dual-range variety, is not your basic truck fare. Featuring rear, automatic all-wheel drive, four-high, and four-low ranges, it is based on the sophisticated, high-performance system used in the Nissan Skyline GT-R. I kept my test truck in “4-auto” most of the time, and with that and a good suspension calibration aided by the damping effect of huge P265-70 SR18 tires, it was as maneuverable and sure-footed as could be expected from a 5300-lb truck. Chassis and body rigidity not only help the ride and handling, they also help decrease noise levels. And the Armada LE is a luxuriously quiet and comfortable vehicle.

PERFORMANCE:
Nissan’s muscular twincam aluminum alloy 32-valve 5.6-liter V8 makes 302 horsepower at 4900 rpm and 385 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm. It pulls strongly from a standstill, which should please the towing crowd, as should the Armada’s 9100-lb towing capacity. A smooth, quiet, and quick-shifting five-speed automatic transmission gives it a near-luxury ambiance, although the engine note is more muscle car. Acceleration, at seven seconds to sixty mph, is muscle car, too. I found fuel economy, at between 14 and 15 mpg average, to be typical for a vehicle of this mass and power.

CONCLUSIONS:
Nissan Armada invades full-size SUV class. Details at 11.

SPECIFICATIONS
2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada LE 4×4

Base Price $ 40,600
Price As Tested $ 45,150
Engine Type dual overhead cam 32-valve aluminum alloy V8
Engine Size 5.6 liters / 341 cu. in.
Horsepower 305 @ 4900 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 385 @ 3600 rpm
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase / Length 123.2 in. / 206.9 in.
Curb Weight 5327 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower 17.5
Fuel Capacity 28.0 gal.
Fuel Requirement 87 octane regular unleaded gasoline
Tires P265/70 SR18 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A
Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc, antilock, brake assist, electronic distribution standard
Suspension, front/rear four-wheel independent by double wishbones and coil springs
Ground Clearance 10.69 in.
Drivetrain front engine, full- or part-time four-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE
EPA Fuel Economy – miles per gallon city / highway / observed 13 / 18 / 14
0 to 60 mph 7 sec
Towing capacity 9100 lbs.
Payload 1693 lbs.

Scribbled on December 4th 2008 in Nissan, Nissan Armada
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