2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada

Sept. 16, 2004
The 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada certainly lives up to its name: it's HUGE.
The certainly lives up to its name: it's HUGE. But it also happens to drive like a luxury car and gets respectable gas mileage. Our LE 4 X 2 test model (4 X 4 also available) got 20 mpg on the highway hauling four adults and one two-year old on a 300-mile trip. Everyone was comfortable as evidenced by the snoring from the back seats.

The big truck is more-than-amply powered by a 5.6-liter DOHC V8 rated at 305 hp with 385 lb-ft of torque, enough to tow a 9,100-lb trailer. The engine numbers seem conservative because the Armada is notably quicker off the line and when passing than other large SUVs I've driven that had higher power ratings. Piloting the Armada is an exercise in self-control and moderation. The powerful engine wants to take you into speeding-ticket range post haste while the silk-smooth ride lulls you into staying there. Of course, the laws of physics and of municipalities demand driving it more conservatively.

Outside, the Armada looks like an overgrown Pathfinder, which it basically is. It's tough to bring style to such a behemoth, but Nissan did a pretty good job. The full-width chrome front grille gives the Armada an indestructible look (in keeping with the name) and an imposing view from the perspective of a car being followed by it. I like the privacy tint on the rear windows and the biggie-sized 265/70R18 tires on alloy rims. And yes, there is a full-sized spare.

Inside, creature comforts abound. The 10-speaker Bose audio system sounds great, as you'd expect. Power "everything" is the rule: six-way power front seats with memory, power adjustable control pedals, power lift gate, a king-sized power moonroof, power heated side mirrors, power rear flip-out quarter windows, four 12-V power outlets, etc. The three rows of seats in the rear are all comfortable and there is plenty of legroom. They easily fold down for hauling, which another editor did, leaving a space about the size of a small pickup bed.

Then there is a cavernous center-console storage and glove box, 10 cupholders, two bottle holders, a removable center console between the rear captain's chairs, and six cargo-area tie-down points. Among the safety features are front, side, and rollover air bags, a Latch system, Vehicle Dynamic Control, tire-pressure monitoring, and rear proximity sensors.

"Loaded" best describes the Armada and the price reflects it. An MSRP of $37,800 plus an LE sunroof package ($1,600) and seating for eight ($650) brought the total to $40,500.

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