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What a wonderful board to do research and this is my 1st post. :) I found this site and it the second time I was motivated to test drive an Armada so went out and gave it a try. A customer on mine was also 'the' head of the Nissan factory (now partially retired) and before the Armada was launched, he told me to give it a try when it came out.

This is the 1st time I have considered anything other than an "American" car or truck as I have been a (past tense) flag waving American buyer paranoid of giving profits to Japan although that intensity has softened over the years as we have a very global economy. No comments needed as I know where this is being built.:)

Out of habit lately, I have bought American trucks and SUV's. I have a Chevy right now and I am sick of bring it in the shop with only 32K miles (been in about 10-12 times). :(

Recently I've owned a 1998 and 2000 Ford Expedition(loved them), 2001 Tahoe (even better), 2002 Chevy Trail Blazer (cheap feeling), 2003 Chevy Avalanche (great solid truck but a lemon), 2004 Durango (exceptional) and I am looking to replace my 2003 Avalanche with a new solution (my wife wants rear seats). As you see, I like metal and I appreciate room and comfort (I'm 6'3").

I recently went out and drove a black 2005 4x4 Armada with the neat looking smoked rims. For giggles, I also tried out the new Pathfinder. As a side note, my new Dodge Durango (albeit 'interesting" looking) was a better ride overall IMHO. For those who have not tried this new Durango, give it a shot. I do believe German engineering influence was involved. I am very impressed but would tweak a couple items if I could. I diverge.....

The Armada drove and sounded a little like a truck (GREAT news). Visibility was fantastic (critical for my wife). Fit and finish was very nice but you could tell Nissan did have a budget after looking at the dash and other items. This is not a critique but it wasn't a $70K truck for $40K. In other words, I found it to be a good value. After reading these boards before I saw it, I thought people were over enthused a touch... It is similar to the build quality of a Tahoe but a lot better than the new Ford Expedition (I made it a 1/2 block down the road during a test drive with the new Ford before I brought it back. The 2000 Ford was better quality truck IMHO.) All and all the Armada is a solid rig. My only complaints were that I could see that fan in the front and I thought it looked kind of cheap. The size of the badges were a little bold for my eyes as well. Certainly not a show stopper but I asked myself what they were thinking. I did find myself walking around the car and enjoying the looks. I can easily see what the appeal is especially in black and Silver. The ride overall was nice and fairly quiet. It is definitely going to stay on my short list.


A small complaint that I didn't care for was that the steering was pretty difficult to turn in comparison to what I am currently driving. Meaning, I find myself (illegally I suppose) taking turns with my index finger inside the wheel spoke. No-can-do with the Armada.. Has anyone noticed this? Did you easily adjust to the harder turn?? I guess I will have to do finger curls to beef-up my index muscle. :D

If anyone has some ideas on what other SUV's to try before I buy I am interested in opinions. Since I like to trade often (I always want to be in warranty) resale is key (hence SUV's and trucks). I did not like my Chevy Trail Blazer (so-so quality and thin), thought the Expedition was cheap, LOVE the Durango but don't want two, don't want to own a high depreciation SUV like a Cadillac or Lincoln, don't want a smaller "station wagon" like the Acura.. I think I have thought of everything.. I would go back to a Tahoe or consider the H2 but I know they are working on a redesign for each. Again, I don't want to get hit on depreciation when I trade in the 'old' model in a couple of years.

Any and all advice would be appreciated!
Steve from MN.
 

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Steve - your search sounds very similar to the one I went through before getting the Armada. I checked out the Caddy, the Denali, the new Durango. I'm 6'4" and also like a big vehicle.

Frankly, the Denali was a close second choice. They're really making good deals on them and they're basically the Caddy without the fancy badge and front end (for about $10,000 less with rebates). But, the Denali is dated (as is the Caddy) and both will be replaced soon (the resale value you mentioned). And, neither has the second row room of the Armada and both use premium fuel while the Armada takes regular. The Durango is a great value for the price, but not as much room for me and it does not come with stability control, power liftgate, self-leveling rear, and, even with the hemi cannot outperform the Armada.

I did not look at the Range Rover - too pricey and too many quality control issues. And, getting one worked on here is tough. There's also the Landcruiser - but still not the space for me, needs more power, and just looks kind of frumpy, and is also pricey. But, the Landcruiser is a quality ride - probably the best built in the full-sized class.

I won't pretend the Armada is the best out there. I will say that it meets my needs better than the competition. After 5 months and thousands of miles - no quality issues at all.

Bill
 

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Regarding the steering, I feel the same way. In comparison to the rentals I have been in (especially the Astro van, turns very easily), the Armada is much harder to turn at slow speeds. I have also noticed that the steering wheel likes to jump like crazy whenever I hit a bump. This has been an issue with other people, and while it doesn't bother me that much, it did take some getting used to.
 

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Wow, after driving a 1995 4x4 Chevy Silverado since 1999, the Armada steers like a dream. I guess it is all perspective.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #5
UTAH said:
Steve - your search sounds very similar to the one I went through before getting the Armada. I checked out the Caddy, the Denali, the new Durango. I'm 6'4" and also like a big vehicle.

Frankly, the Denali was a close second choice. They're really making good deals on them and they're basically the Caddy without the fancy badge and front end (for about $10,000 less with rebates). But, the Denali is dated (as is the Caddy) and both will be replaced soon (the resale value you mentioned). And, neither has the second row room of the Armada and both use premium fuel while the Armada takes regular. The Durango is a great value for the price, but not as much room for me and it does not come with stability control, power liftgate, self-leveling rear, and, even with the hemi cannot outperform the Armada.

I did not look at the Range Rover - too pricey and too many quality control issues. And, getting one worked on here is tough. There's also the Landcruiser - but still not the space for me, needs more power, and just looks kind of frumpy, and is also pricey. But, the Landcruiser is a quality ride - probably the best built in the full-sized class.

I won't pretend the Armada is the best out there. I will say that it meets my needs better than the competition. After 5 months and thousands of miles - no quality issues at all.

Bill
Thanks for the candid thoughts Bill. I will checkout the Landcruiser before I make my decision. I do wish that Chevy/GMC would get that new rig out there... I have GM Card rebates ($2500 is honored on top of the already generous amounts). It can turn a $47K vehicle into a $35K as many dealers are going into the hold back $$'s. I love to switch things out often so a quick 2 years from now I will see what they come-up with. I am betting GM will not want to give-up so easily on their profitable SUV's as they did on the cars....

I wanted to get my short list in order and bring out my wife to give it a try. She will have an opinion. I am lucky; she doesn't mind driving big SUV's and she can load and launch boats as well. :D

I will be very interested in her opinion.. As far as the Durango. I would prefer some more room as well. My grips are the leather is not exactly quality (hard as a rock) and you can hear some hissing noises (some sort of pnumatic device when you are accelerating. 11K miles and it have never been in the shop. At $28.5K out the door for a 4x4 nicely equiped it could not be beat. While I never timed my Hemi, it scoots! The Armada had 13 miles on it and it didn't scream when I punched it. The Durango has a sports car like handling. It is a steal and not anywhere as flimsy as the Chevy Trail Blazer I owned.

When i left the dealership with my Avalanche. I walked up to my Z71 (without the clad) bright red with all the body effects impressed. When I drove out out, I remember feeling that the Avalanche was a slightly superior ride but I need to remember that is what I am use to.

My options are limited with the constrants that I have. It is time to pick my option so that I can oder what I want without a bunch of expensive things I do not want. This one is a tough one to decide on......
 

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UTAH said:
You are welcome. Please keep us posted. :cool:

Bill
I went to my local Toyota dealer and found ZERO Landrovers. :( I understand that they anticapated lower than average sales because of the gas prices and they cut production by a large percentage. Who knows if this is true or not...
I went with my wife so she can check it out. She LOVES the Lincoln Nav but at $50K+ on a heavy depreciating truck; no way! Plus she is cheaper than I and we would never write a check for one... If I wrote out a check for $50K-$60K. It better be an extremely nice ride!

I called a freind who studies this stuff with passion (SUV's that is). He informed me that Toyota is going to have a 06 with 330 HP and redesigned. It looks as that is off the list now as well. :confused:

So it is time to have her drive the Armada. With any luck, I will drag her out tomorrow. If she likes it, I will order one as my dealer is doing $100 over invoice (they keep the hold back dollars.) It looks like the allocation is over and they are readily flowing. :)

I will keep you posted....
 
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