› Model: 2019 Nissan Armada SV 4WD
› Exterior color: Gun Metallic
› Interior color: Charcoal
› Engine: 5.6-liter, V-8
› Horsepower: 390
› Transmission: seven-speed automatic
› Fuel economy: 18 mpg highway, 13 mpg city
› Local Dealers: Nissan of Chattanooga East, Mountain View Nissan
› Price (as tested): $52,100
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In a different time — say, if gasoline were suddenly $3.50 a gallon — the Nissan Armada's immense size and fuel-thirsty V-8 engine would create problems for some buyers.
On the other hand, with gas now only about $2 per gallon, large, eight- passenger SUVs such as the Armada are suddenly viable for many more American families. Their rugged, body-on-frame construction and improved towing capacity — the Armada can pull 8,500 pounds — make them better-suited for hauling big trailers and boats.
In Chattanooga, with our abundance of nearby lakes and camp sites, vehicles such as the Armada are always in high demand. It competes in the same segment as family stalwarts such as the Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Sequoya and Infiniti QX80.
A check of digital inventories at local Nissan stores turned up nine Armadas on the ground or in the pipeline at Nissan of Chattanooga East on Chapman Road; and five at Mountain View Nissan near downtown Chattanooga.
WHAT IS IT?
The Armada is a full-size SUV last redesigned for the 2017 model year, an update that boosted sales almost immediately. The Armada is available in eight trim levels, half rear-wheel-drive models and half four-wheel-drive variants.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
A mid-trim Armada SV 4X4 tester was made available for a one week test drive by the manufacturer. It has an MSRP of $52,100. A base Armada SV with rear-wheel-drive starts at $46,790. A top-trim Armada Platinum Reserve 4X4, meanwhile, lists for $65,690.
WHAT WE LIKED
We were impressed with the high-level of content in our tester. With opulent wood trim, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, four USB ports and a 390-horsepower V-8 engine, our Armada tester felt like a pricier Infiniti. Couple that with generous available discounts, and the Nissan becomes a relative bargain.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
If gasoline prices spike again, the Armada's 13-mpg-city fuel economy rating will be a kick to the wallet. Also, the Armada is 209 inches long and over 6-feet, 3-inches tall. Make sure it fits in your garage before you write a check.
For a truck-based SUV the Armada offers a remarkably compliant ride. The engine, although muscular, is also quiet at idle. Steering is also light for a vehicle with this much mass. The four-wheel-drive system is a comfort in the winter driving season.
Our tester includes a Nissan navigation system framed by an 8-inch touch screen. A $600 Driver Package includes fog lights, a power folding third row of seats and a power lift-gate.
As full-size SUVs go, the Armada is the high-content, low-price leader.
Contact Mark Kennedy at email@example.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.