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My husband and I are looking for an Armada with a factory-installed tow package. (I've searched this forum for a few weeks and learned that a factory installed package is the best way to go.) We haven't got a travel trailer yet but will start looking for that after we get the car. In general, the trailers we are looking at have these stats--hitch 460lbs, CCC 1411 lbs, UVW 3500 lbs. This smallish trailer seems well within almost any SUV towing capacity.

We found a 2017 and a 2018, both SV models, that say tow package in the advertisements but when I called the dealerships to inquire if it's factory installed vs. after market, they didn't know and went as far as to tell me they don't have documentation and you just have to look and see if it looks like the hitch is set up right. So I called Nissan USA to see if I can check the VIN numbers and they suggested I call the dealership service departments and ask. So we did and reluctantly the service guy took the time to look up the VINs and said they have factory installed towing. I have also read some motor reviews online that says ALL 2017-2020 Armadas can tow 8,500 lbs.

Is there anything else we should consider/confirm regarding everything necessary to tow a trailer? The price is about $26k, which is by far the most expensive car we have ever purchased so we want to make sure we are actually buying the features we need. Thank you!

One more thing...are there older models that would give us more bang for our buck? We don't care about bells and whistles, just the towing capacity.
 

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All trims on 2nd gen (2017+) come standard with 8500 towing capacity.

The best bang for the buck unfortunately isn't all about towing IMO, especially on used ones as you don't really know what you're going into so you'd have to pad into your budget some unexpected maintenance at least for the first year.

The older gen i believe have slightly more towing capacity depending on the package included.
 

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All trims on 2nd gen (2017+) come standard with 8500 towing capacity.

The best bang for the buck unfortunately isn't all about towing IMO, especially on used ones as you don't really know what you're going into so you'd have to pad into your budget some unexpected maintenance at least for the first year.

The older gen i believe have slightly more towing capacity depending on the package included.
So are you saying that all 2nd gen (2017+) come with everything you need to attach a trailer? Leveling, braking, lights, hitch, etc??
What do you mean, best bang for the buck isn't all about towing? We have narrowed our choices of cars down to those that can tow ("when appropriately equipped") to a handful that tow at least 7k. We tend to keep cars a long time so that's why we are planning ahead to our future trailer purchase. We have a Kia Optima Hybrid that we are giving up--LOVE the mpg but it's really tight for car camping gear in the interim.
Regarding padding our budget for unexpected maintenance, yes, we worry about that. We've always purchased used cars and we have been lucky with the used purchases but it's one thing when car costs $7-13K compared to $25+k.
 

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So are you saying that all 2nd gen (2017+) come with everything you need to attach a trailer? Leveling, braking, lights, hitch, etc??

All 2017+ Armada's come with a factory installed hitch and a 7 pin connector for powering lights and brakes. The base model (can never remember if is is SL or SV or something else) 2WD model may not have the load leveling system, but that isn't necessary, assuming you buy a weight distribution hitch for your trailer (which you should have for a trailer of this size and weight; figure on $500-600 for a good one). You will also need to buy a brake controller that will install under the dashboard, and plug into a harness under the dash; figure on $125-150 for that. Others that are posting are correct, the tow rating for the 2017+ Armada is 8500 no matter what trim level.

As far as what year to buy, buy the best you can buy and afford. The later models (2016+) are smaller, but a bit more luxurious and have more power. The 1st generation (2014 and older) have more interior room, but have less features, and are larger trucks. They will tow a little bit more, but that shouldn't matter for you. Sounds like you're used to buying a used vehicle, so I highly recommend that before plunking your money down, pay a couple of hundred bucks to have an independent mechanic check out any vehicle that you are really interested in. Don't rely on a dealer telling you they inspected it, get it inspected yourself. Then you can make the decision on whether you want to accept any defects they find (use those as a negotiating tool to get the price down a bit), or walk away.

Good luck with whatever you get, and please come back and tell us what you've decided.

Keith
 

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For the 2nd Gen Armada (2017 & 2018 for this instance) all models will have the tow hitch receiver regardless of what level or package you have (SV, SL, Platinum or Platinum Reserve). They will all also have the Load Leveling Rear Suspension. The only difference with the SV models to the others would be 7 Pin Wiring Harness and Trailer Brake Pre Wiring. For the SV to have these 2 options, the car should have the Drivers Package. Now, this is for the 2017 & 2018 model year.
 

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So are you saying that all 2nd gen (2017+) come with everything you need to attach a trailer? Leveling, braking, lights, hitch, etc??
What do you mean, best bang for the buck isn't all about towing? We have narrowed our choices of cars down to those that can tow ("when appropriately equipped") to a handful that tow at least 7k. We tend to keep cars a long time so that's why we are planning ahead to our future trailer purchase. We have a Kia Optima Hybrid that we are giving up--LOVE the mpg but it's really tight for car camping gear in the interim.
Regarding padding our budget for unexpected maintenance, yes, we worry about that. We've always purchased used cars and we have been lucky with the used purchases but it's one thing when car costs $7-13K compared to $25+k.
There's a difference between standard equipment vs package (these manufacturers really know how to properly structure the trims to make some money). But the two other gentlemen already laid out the nitty gritty details.

The best bang for the buck is usually the best value. If the single most important thing you value is towing, I'm sure you can get something cheaper or older with the same or maybe even higher tow rating. But the fact that you included 2017/2018 Armada in your shortlist, I sense there's something else you see in them that you also put value besides towing.

Anyways, here are some links to the brochure to compare different trims. I've included 2015 just for grins and giggles. The tech specs are all towards the bottom pages:

 

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There's a difference between standard equipment vs package (these manufacturers really know how to properly structure the trims to make some money). But the two other gentlemen already laid out the nitty gritty details.

The best bang for the buck is usually the best value. If the single most important thing you value is towing, I'm sure you can get something cheaper or older with the same or maybe even higher tow rating. But the fact that you included 2017/2018 Armada in your shortlist, I sense there's something else you see in them that you also put value besides towing.

Anyways, here are some links to the brochure to compare different trims. I've included 2015 just for grins and giggles. The tech specs are all towards the bottom pages:

Actually, the reason we are looking at 2017 & 2018 is that there are two available in our area within 50 miles that "seem" to be a decent price--around $27k under 50k miles. There's a new one that just popped up today that's a 2015 Armada Platinum with 76k miles for $20k, which is super interesting--the photo shows a hitch.

We will definitely get our mechanic to take a look at it. The dealer with the 2015 Armada offers 5-day/250 miles money-back guarantee. Haven't checked the other dealers on that issue yet--usually that's pretty standard with a dealer.

I really appreciate all your input. This is the first time we've ever looked into towing. Our other used cars were just basic used cars not as complicated, although maybe we are over complicating the tow thing. I've read with other SUV manufacturers the towing capability drops significantly if the car doesn't have a factory-installed hitch.

That 2015 Armada is a Platinum and was used as a "diplomatic" vehicle and the maintenance was every 6 months according to CARFAX. I found a Nissan Forum VIN decoder that shows the equipment of the vehicle. This car appears to have:

Class IV Towing Equipment -inc: Hitch

Trailer Wiring Harness

1 Skid Plate

1453# Maximum Payload
 

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2018 here. SV. 4x4. Drivers package.
I love it for towing. We pull a 28' camper, likely already over 3k miles for the year.
Pulls better than my Tundra, more consistent shifting, more stability, and just a nicer ride.
 

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I can imagine :) . Unless someone has the huge 6.2 Liter GM products, Navigator or the Durango SRT which I consider to be a different type of SUV, you cant beat an Armada / QX in towing. My neighbor rented the new Expedition for a family trip. I have major reservations about a 6 cylinder with turbo being the soul of such a large rig especially if it will be used for towing. I just cant see that engine lasting in the long run at all. To OP, either the 1st gen platinum or the 2nd gen SV will be more than capable to do the job. Let us know which one you end up going for. I'm certain any one you choose will give you and the family years of satisfaction.
 

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Right now, we are leaning towards the 2015 Armada Platinum because it's $7k less which gives us a lot of room for things we need to add for towing a future trailer, not to mention $7k towards the trailer, insurance, etc. We are very frugal and believe it or not, this will be our largest auto purchase ever. We are going down to test drive it today...yikes!
 

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I've got to say, it's really frustrating...I did a quick check of the 2015 Platinum VIN and it came up as a SL, NOT as a Platinum. I called Nissan USA and they checked and confirmed it's an SL. She said the car would say Platinum on the back door. Is this correct? If it's an SL then $20k is too much compared to others for sale. So based on this new information, is there anything I need to know about the year 2015 regarding towing?
 

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Car buying process is generally frustrating at different levels. Don't go into any dealership without researching first what they have in the inventory and the options nearby.

The badges are easy to fake. Who knows someone might be sporting a HEMI badge on his Armada right now. The VIN would usually tell including the options that came with it.
 

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So after a few more hours of researching online can you guys confirm these statements are true...

2014 & 2015 SV max tow capacity is only 6500 lbs without the factory-installed tow package option?
2014 & 2015 SL & Platinum have a tow capacity of 8200 lb standard?
All models 2017+ have a tow capacity of 8200 lbs?
If a 2017 SV doesn't actually have a hitch on the car, it still can tow 8200 after adding necessary components from Camping World (for example)?
So, nothing I could add from Camping World to a 2014 SV without a factory tow package would increase it's tow capacity to 8200?

I still haven't figured out how to tell if a 2014/2015 hitch was factory installed or after-market. So far, the hitches all look the same but I'm not going to trust a dealer to tell me the truth. These I'm looking at aren't at Nissan dealers and the VIN lookup decoders online don't tell me anything about two package, at least on the ones I've looked up because the tow capacity shows both 6500 and 8200.

It seems like the older Armadas are only 500 lbs more tow capacity than the 2017+ Pathfinder.
 

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My husband and I are looking for an Armada with a factory-installed tow package. (I've searched this forum for a few weeks and learned that a factory installed package is the best way to go.) We haven't got a travel trailer yet but will start looking for that after we get the car. In general, the trailers we are looking at have these stats--hitch 460lbs, CCC 1411 lbs, UVW 3500 lbs. This smallish trailer seems well within almost any SUV towing capacity.

We found a 2017 and a 2018, both SV models, that say tow package in the advertisements but when I called the dealerships to inquire if it's factory installed vs. after market, they didn't know and went as far as to tell me they don't have documentation and you just have to look and see if it looks like the hitch is set up right. So I called Nissan USA to see if I can check the VIN numbers and they suggested I call the dealership service departments and ask. So we did and reluctantly the service guy took the time to look up the VINs and said they have factory installed towing. I have also read some motor reviews online that says ALL 2017-2020 Armadas can tow 8,500 lbs.

Is there anything else we should consider/confirm regarding everything necessary to tow a trailer? The price is about $26k, which is by far the most expensive car we have ever purchased so we want to make sure we are actually buying the features we need. Thank you!

One more thing...are there older models that would give us more bang for our buck? We don't care about bells and whistles, just the towing capacity.
You’re going to need a brake controller something like a prodigy
 

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My husband and I are looking for an Armada with a factory-installed tow package. (I've searched this forum for a few weeks and learned that a factory installed package is the best way to go.) We haven't got a travel trailer yet but will start looking for that after we get the car. In general, the trailers we are looking at have these stats--hitch 460lbs, CCC 1411 lbs, UVW 3500 lbs. This smallish trailer seems well within almost any SUV towing capacity.

We found a 2017 and a 2018, both SV models, that say tow package in the advertisements but when I called the dealerships to inquire if it's factory installed vs. after market, they didn't know and went as far as to tell me they don't have documentation and you just have to look and see if it looks like the hitch is set up right. So I called Nissan USA to see if I can check the VIN numbers and they suggested I call the dealership service departments and ask. So we did and reluctantly the service guy took the time to look up the VINs and said they have factory installed towing. I have also read some motor reviews online that says ALL 2017-2020 Armadas can tow 8,500 lbs.

Is there anything else we should consider/confirm regarding everything necessary to tow a trailer? The price is about $26k, which is by far the most expensive car we have ever purchased so we want to make sure we are actually buying the features we need. Thank you!

One more thing...are there older models that would give us more bang for our buck? We don't care about bells and whistles, just the towing capacity.
factory looks like this there will be a sticker saying refer to owners manual for specs.. and you will probably need a 6 inch drop hitch , that was I needed for my trailer.
48922
56F7CFD0-B335-4DA0-A7A6-1AD4EC0DABE6.jpeg
 

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My husband and I are looking for an Armada with a factory-installed tow package. (I've searched this forum for a few weeks and learned that a factory installed package is the best way to go.) We haven't got a travel trailer yet but will start looking for that after we get the car. In general, the trailers we are looking at have these stats--hitch 460lbs, CCC 1411 lbs, UVW 3500 lbs. This smallish trailer seems well within almost any SUV towing capacity.

We found a 2017 and a 2018, both SV models, that say tow package in the advertisements but when I called the dealerships to inquire if it's factory installed vs. after market, they didn't know and went as far as to tell me they don't have documentation and you just have to look and see if it looks like the hitch is set up right. So I called Nissan USA to see if I can check the VIN numbers and they suggested I call the dealership service departments and ask. So we did and reluctantly the service guy took the time to look up the VINs and said they have factory installed towing. I have also read some motor reviews online that says ALL 2017-2020 Armadas can tow 8,500 lbs.

Is there anything else we should consider/confirm regarding everything necessary to tow a trailer? The price is about $26k, which is by far the most expensive car we have ever purchased so we want to make sure we are actually buying the features we need. Thank you!

One more thing...are there older models that would give us more bang for our buck? We don't care about bells and whistles, just the towing capacity.

Just be aware that Armadas and QX56/80's get horrible gas mileage, towing or not. So figure that in to your pricing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Because it was so hard to determine if the hitch was factory-installed--car dealers will tell you anything--we decided to go with a 2018 Pathfinder SV that can tow 6,000. I really liked the way the 2015 Armada drove but that dealership was sketchy about details on the Armada and we don't know anything about cars. They didn't even want us to take the car to our mechanic so I doubt they would let us take that back panel off. We paid $19k for the 2018 Pathfinder with 42k miles. Our mechanic says the total hitch installation will be about $500-600.

Thank you all for helping make the decision. I really wish the used car process was easier and that it could be possible to see options with a VIN lookup directly from Nissan on their website.
 

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Totally different type of vehicle. If that works, good luck. I'm surprised you had so much trouble finding out specs. I've always found it easy from VIN to find out specs. Too bad you ran into uninformed sales people.

I bet if you posted the VIN we could have figured it out. This site (and others) do it for free.

 
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