The low Total Car Score earned by the 2012 Nissan Armada shows that the truck-based SUV hasn't fared well in this new era of popular car-based crossover vehicles.
Though its design is now rather dated, the Armada still has a number of compelling qualities, not the least of which is its powerful V8 engine, responsive handling and an impressive 9,000-pound towing capacity. The brawny styling also helps set it apart in a category full of somewhat bland designs.
The Armada also has its share of negatives, including a comparatively truck-like ride quality. The eight-passenger interior, while attractive and comfortable enough, suffers from a cramped third-row seat and a bit less cargo room than some of its rivals. Fuel economy is also disappointing, especially from four-wheel drive models.
The 2012 Nissan Armada gets a couple of noteworthy upgrades like a standard power liftgate and heated front seats on SL models, and heated second-row seats on the top-of-the-line Platinum trim level. As for its future, its platform is due for a major overhaul, though when and if that will happen is unclear.
The 2012 Nissan Armada is a fullsize SUV with seating for eight passengers (or seven with the optional second-row captain’s chairs). There are three trim levels available, including the SV, SL and Platinum.
The Armada's sole powertrain consists of a 5.6-liter V8 that develops 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, and a four-wheel drive system with a low-range transfer case is available as an option.
The standard equipment list for entry-level SV models includes 18-inch alloy wheels, side-step rails, ultrasonic rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals and an audio system with a six-disc CD changer and eight speakers.
The SL trim level adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear air suspension, fog lights, a roof rack, power liftgate, keyless entry/starting, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-folding third-row seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a premium Bose audio system with satellite radio, rear-seat audio controls and 11 speakers.
The top-of-the-line Platinum includes 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, front parking sensors, a sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors, a driver's seat memory feature, a heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats, a navigation system with real-time traffic info, a rear-seat video entertainment system and an upgraded Bose audio system with digital music storage.
Major options include the SV model's Driver package that adds fog lights, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and the 11-speaker Bose audio system. Stand-alone options include second-row captain’s chairs on Platinum models and the rear-seat video entertainment system.
The 2012 Nissan Armada's EPA fuel economy estimates start at 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined for two-wheel drive models and drops to 12/18/14 for four-wheel drive versions.
Properly equipped, the 2012 Nissan Armada can tow up to 9,000 pounds.
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