Nissan unveils new flagship Armada SUV

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Chicago — Nissan Motor Co. took the wraps off its all-new 2017 Armada full-size sport utility vehicle on the eve of the Chicago Auto Show.

The 2017 Nissan Armada

The second-generation flagship SUV is bigger and bolder than the previous generation. It completes Nissan’s transformation of its SUV and crossover lineup that started three years ago.

“This new Armada, as you can see, is one capable full-size adventure SUV: strong, durable, authentic,” Nissan North America Director and Chief Marketing Manager Phil O’Connor said during the Wednesday unveiling.

The SUV will arrive in Nissan dealers nationwide this summer in three trim levels — SV, SL and Platinum — in both two- and four-wheel drive. Pricing and fuel economy were not announced.

Performance will be enhanced with a re-engineered 5.6-liter V-8, seven-speed automatic transmission and a suite of security and active safety features.

Unlike the original Armada, which was based on the Nissan Titan pickup, the new vehicle is based on the Nissan Patrol and Infiniti QX80 SUVs. The Armada shares some design aspects of its luxury brand counterpart.

O’Connor said the shift from the Titan platform is to make room in the United States to produce more pickups.

Nissan will assemble the Armada in Kyushu, Japan, with the engine built in Decherd, Tennessee.

“This move frees up space in our Canton, Mississippi, facility for the quickly expanding Nissan Titan lineup,” O’Connor said. “As we’ve previously announced, we’re following up the highly successful debut of the Titan XD Crew Cab with a full range of bodies, beds and engines… and we need the line capacity to assemble them.”

The seven- or eight-passenger Armada remains a body-on-frame vehicle and can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

The new Endurance V-8, while maintaining the same 5.6-liter displacement as its predecessor, offers an increase in horsepower to 390 from the previous 317, and increased torque to 401 pound-feet (at 4,000 rpm) from 385 pound-feet.

Armada Platinum models add several safety and entertainment features, including a standard DVD family entertainment system with dual 7-inch head restraint monitors, USB ports (two), VTR jacks (two), two wireless headphones and remote controller.

The Armada is expected to be one of the major debut highlights this week at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, which is packed full of new and updated pickups, crossovers and SUVs.

Other expected debuts include all-new Kia Niro hybrid utility vehicle as well as updated pickups, crossovers and SUVs from Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Ram Truck and Toyota.

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Chicago Auto Show

Media previews: Thursday and Friday

Public show: Saturday through Feb. 21

Location: McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore, Chicago