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Hi everyone! Great forum...

I have a family of 5 and we are going to trade in
our minivan for an SUV, and we are doing the typical Suburban, Sequoia, Armada comparision thing... The Armada appears to be the clear winner, but I am concerned about reliability. If you research the discussion boards for each vehicle, you'll find unhappy folks, happy folks, and lemon law stories abound with each vehicle. So it is hard to draw any clear conclusions.

Personnally, I think it inappropriate to discount an entire brand /
vehicle because someone got a lemon. Unfortunately, every manufacturer turns out a lemon, some more frequently than others, but this is why we do have lemon laws. The totally empirical evidence of just reading many discussion boards gives me a good feeling that Nissan will at least work with their customers and will buy back bad cars.

So where we are at, the Armada (off road) is by far the best for us on paper.

1) Best air bag coverage for passengers
2) versatile interior
3) best ground clearance
4) good engine

The negatives appear to be (from these forum discussions & a test drive...)

1) Interior plastic scratches easily, which actually bothers me more
than it maybe should.... It seems if you are going to pay a premium
price (40K+) for a vehicle, then you should expect premium materials. (Toyota probably is better here). Can anyone give me an idea of how bad the scratching really is?

2) You need external cargo carrier if you load up the vehicle with 7-8 passengers. (again Sequoia, Suburban are better here). In fact can folks put in a weeks worth of groceries with the back seats up?

3) If you have the 8 passenger version, routinely getting to the back
seat is not nearly as convenient as a van. However, this is common
across all SUVs with a middle bench seat.

4) I'm a bicycle racer, so getting a bike inside is also important. Has anyone had any experience with the internal bike carrier?

Thanks in advance!
 

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mada_maybe said:
Hi everyone! Great forum...

I have a family of 5 and we are going to trade in
our minivan for an SUV, and we are doing the typical Suburban, Sequoia, Armada comparision thing... The Armada appears to be the clear winner, but I am concerned about reliability. If you research the discussion boards for each vehicle, you'll find unhappy folks, happy folks, and lemon law stories abound with each vehicle. So it is hard to draw any clear conclusions.

Personnally, I think it inappropriate to discount an entire brand /
vehicle because someone got a lemon. Unfortunately, every manufacturer turns out a lemon, some more frequently than others, but this is why we do have lemon laws. The totally empirical evidence of just reading many discussion boards gives me a good feeling that Nissan will at least work with their customers and will buy back bad cars.

So where we are at, the Armada (off road) is by far the best for us on paper.

1) Best air bag coverage for passengers
2) versatile interior
3) best ground clearance
4) good engine

The negatives appear to be (from these forum discussions & a test drive...)

1) Interior plastic scratches easily, which actually bothers me more
than it maybe should.... It seems if you are going to pay a premium
price (40K+) for a vehicle, then you should expect premium materials. (Toyota probably is better here). Can anyone give me an idea of how bad the scratching really is?

2) You need external cargo carrier if you load up the vehicle with 7-8 passengers. (again Sequoia, Suburban are better here). In fact can folks put in a weeks worth of groceries with the back seats up?

3) If you have the 8 passenger version, routinely getting to the back
seat is not nearly as convenient as a van. However, this is common
across all SUVs with a middle bench seat.

4) I'm a bicycle racer, so getting a bike inside is also important. Has anyone had any experience with the internal bike carrier?

Thanks in advance!
1. I have no scratches with 10k miles. Any I had vanished with a 10 second hit from a heat gun. Minimal. No more than GM.
2. Sequoia is smaller and not better here. It is substantially smaller than the rest of the field, about 7/8ths size. There is plenty of grocery space with seating for 8. The suburban gives you 6" more depth than armada, that's it. Sequoia is more narrow and less deep. It would also be a struggle to fit 8 adults. I've fit nine comfortably in the Armada.
3. True, but it isn't a big deal. Takes 3 extra seconds. Once your kids learn how, they will do it, not you anyway. ;)
4. No experience. I personally like a hitch mounted external carrier myself. Easy to use and fits more bikes. Course, it doesn't have the weatherproofing that putting it inside does, but then I mountain bike so why would I want to put a muddy bike inside anyway?


Bottomline, the '04s had some bugs. The lemon claims were almost exclusively for bad brakes (warping rotors) which every maker has experienced. Nissan fixed the problem last summer and now they all come with the new rotors and pads. No systemic or chronic problems now exist. Its just a great vehicle. In contrast, TOYota had the same brake issue, took 4 years to acknowledge it, and then wouldn't honor the warranty and replace the defective stuff on the first couple years they made. GM has had 83 TSBs, 3 recalls, and a host of much more serious and common problems such as valve tap, transmission, piston slap, brakes, etc. Buy with confidence. ;)
 

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My $.02 worth.

I would concur with Triple on this issue. I did my research, probably too much and concluded that the Armada was superior in many many ways. You obviously have driven the Armada? I have found, esp. after having owned a Tahoe, that the GM's have substantial body roll with minimal turn in. Just don't find that with Nissan. The rear independent suspension is a step above the competition, has the most interior room for front and second row in its class. 41.9" in the front and 41.8" in the rear. Interior room to live with is incredible! Didn't appreciate it until I got home with mine, but mine is the LE with the 4 captains chairs. Have never driven the TOYota, so have no input other than it is looking OLD and in need of an update, as is the GM. BTW, GM is about to run the 2006 model year short and come out with an ALL NEW and tempting 2007 Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban, etc...model somtime in June/July of 2006. So I would advise against buying the last model year of a body style as it will most assuredly plummit (?sp) in value moreso than usual. Also, given GM's history of recalls, etc...I would give them a year or two to work the bugs out. So really you are left with only one choice? LOL...the Armada! Just something to think about....along with my $.02/worth.

92TripleBlack said:
first couple years they made. GM has had 83 TSBs, 3 recalls, and a host of much more serious and common problems such as valve tap, transmission, piston slap, brakes, etc. Buy with confidence. ;)
 

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mada_maybe said:
Hi everyone! Great forum...

I have a family of 5 and we are going to trade in
our minivan for an SUV, and we are doing the typical Suburban, Sequoia, Armada comparision thing... The Armada appears to be the clear winner, but I am concerned about reliability. If you research the discussion boards for each vehicle, you'll find unhappy folks, happy folks, and lemon law stories abound with each vehicle. So it is hard to draw any clear conclusions.

Personnally, I think it inappropriate to discount an entire brand /
vehicle because someone got a lemon. Unfortunately, every manufacturer turns out a lemon, some more frequently than others, but this is why we do have lemon laws. The totally empirical evidence of just reading many discussion boards gives me a good feeling that Nissan will at least work with their customers and will buy back bad cars.

So where we are at, the Armada (off road) is by far the best for us on paper.

1) Best air bag coverage for passengers
2) versatile interior
3) best ground clearance
4) good engine

The negatives appear to be (from these forum discussions & a test drive...)

1) Interior plastic scratches easily, which actually bothers me more
than it maybe should.... It seems if you are going to pay a premium
price (40K+) for a vehicle, then you should expect premium materials. (Toyota probably is better here). Can anyone give me an idea of how bad the scratching really is?

2) You need external cargo carrier if you load up the vehicle with 7-8 passengers. (again Sequoia, Suburban are better here). In fact can folks put in a weeks worth of groceries with the back seats up?

3) If you have the 8 passenger version, routinely getting to the back
seat is not nearly as convenient as a van. However, this is common
across all SUVs with a middle bench seat.

4) I'm a bicycle racer, so getting a bike inside is also important. Has anyone had any experience with the internal bike carrier?

Thanks in advance!
My sister-in-law has a Suburban, our next door neighbor and good friend has a Sequoia. Our Armada is far superior in all categories. We are one of the people that got a lemon. Nissan took care of us, and we went out and bought a new one, and we love it. So, I was given a chance to do it over again, after having a lot of trouble with our first Armada. And, we made the same decision. I would stay away from the 04's and early 05's (okay guys, start the flaming :D ), and you won't regret the decision.

Keith

PS - Triple, how did you get 9 in your Armada?
 

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Campfamily said:
My sister-in-law has a Suburban, our next door neighbor and good friend has a Sequoia. Our Armada is far superior in all categories. We are one of the people that got a lemon. Nissan took care of us, and we went out and bought a new one, and we love it. So, I was given a chance to do it over again, after having a lot of trouble with our first Armada. And, we made the same decision. I would stay away from the 04's and early 05's (okay guys, start the flaming :D ), and you won't regret the decision.

Keith

PS - Triple, how did you get 9 in your Armada?
Fat guys up front, women in the second row, 3 in the back. ;)
 

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An unsolicited testimonial.

Unlike many of my brother's here I did not need an Armada. I have a wife and two kids and my wife has a 2004 Quest to haul them around. I don't have a boat or any kind of trailer to pull. As a matter of fact I don't even have a tow hitch. I don't go off-road, and we get maybe three good snows a year so I can't even justify the need for 4X4. I have bought seven new cars in the past ten years and during my 18 years of driving I've also owned ten used vehicles in addition to those. Well prior to buying The Beast I had a 2001 full-size Mitsubishi Montero, and when I first saw an Armada I was curious. It was on the show room floor, so I climbed inside and checked out the legroom in all three rows and was quite impressed. One day while I was getting the oil changed in my wife's Quest, I asked the General manager could I have one for the day, he told one of the guys to get me some plates and a full tank of gas. After driving it all day I didn't want to give it back, so he told me to keep it over night. Wrong move! I fell in love with it. Its look, its roominess, its power was like nothing I had ever experienced before. So I carried it back the next day. Well just about every night for the next six weeks I dreamed about that car, until finally I couldn't take it any longer. I bought one, a 2004 4x4 SE, and out of the seventeen vehicles that I have owned, it was the first time in my life I have been absolutely satisfied. I have put over ten grand into customizing it, proving I'm confident in my investment becuase I have never done this before. I would not trade The Beast for anything on the road. Not a Hummer, not an Escalade, not even a QX56, simply because it is the best vehicle I've ever owned, and neither the brakes nor anything else has ever made me second guess my choice. I've had three other people to buy an Armada based on my testimony, and they have all agreed it was the greatest decision they ever made. I know it may sound like it, but trust me I don't work for Nissan. This is an unsolicited testimonial.
 

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mada_maybe said:
Hi everyone! Great forum...


2) In fact can folks put in a weeks worth of groceries with the back seats up?

3) If you have the 8 passenger version, routinely getting to the back
seat is not nearly as convenient as a van. However, this is common
across all SUVs with a middle bench seat.

4) I'm a bicycle racer, so getting a bike inside is also important. Has anyone had any experience with the internal bike carrier?

Thanks in advance!

2) Just about, open the tailgate and put the heavy flat stuff in then close the tailgate. Open the rear window and load the rest in......don't forget to reverse this procedure when you unload. I pushed the tailgate open button and the lot fell out :eek:

3) I end up taking my childrens friends out a fair bit and they have no problem getting in or out ( a couple of them are near six foot and have no problem in the third row).

4) have seen these advertised (by the site sponsors) but never used one myself.

Interior plastics are junk and mark easily (get a load area cover made) but I find most vehicle like that now (cost cutting maybe). Found a cat on the rear bumper trim (black bit) and it had scratched the trim bad.....it won't be able to sit down for a week or so now :thumbup:

Test drive then all and see what you think, overall I reckon you will chose the Armada....just buy a late 05 or an 06.
 

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Just had this questioned posed by my brother in-law, who has an 02 Tahoe. By the way, I thought my interior was bad, those things are a joke. I'm also down to an occasional dash rattle that I've nearly caught, and his has so many noises he gave up. Mine sounded like a sound proof booth compared to his. If I was buying new today, I would get the Armada hands down. I still have a short wish list for Nissan engineers (including tires and rims), and if the 07 is even better than the 06 (they have been listening by the way) then I may trade the 04 in. The other SUV's you have listed are all outdated, with new models to come. No matter who the mfr is (AUDI,VW,BMW,GMC,TOYOTA) the first years are trouble. So the best test maybe 07 vs. 07 vs. 07.
 

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92TripleBlack said:
Fat guys up front, women in the second row, 3 in the back. ;)
Either 3 fat guys in the front, or 4 women in the second row. Which one? Best I've ever done with my truck is 8.

Keith
 

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Campfamily said:
Either 3 fat guys in the front, or 4 women in the second row. Which one? Best I've ever done with my truck is 8.

Keith
4 women, 1 big (XL), 1 small(XS), 2 medium (M & L). T-shirt sizes.
Future brother in-law in passenger seat, me drivers. His wife is XL, my girl, her sister is XS. She's 5'-3" and 105 lbs max. The her 2 teenage nieces were the other 2. Back had her Size L Brother, teenage size L nephew, and size M Nephew. ;)
 

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The Armada is a great truck and I'm sure you'll be happy with it.
I agree with the others, there really is no competition right now until the new GM suv's come out and then we'll have to see where they stack up. Its possible the '07 GM products will be better but they will be more expensive and as we've seen with the '04 Armada's buying the first year of any new vehicle is a bad idea.

The sequoia is to small and the GM stuff up to 2006 is outdated and not worth getting.

Carrying bikes on the inside might be tighter than some other SUV's since the Armada has a high load floor. I'm pretty sure whatever dealer you are thinking of buying from would be happy to let you see for yourself if your bikes fit inside easily.
 

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Trying to decide btwn QX and Armada

Read quite a few of the posts here and it's refreshing to read the positive comments on the Armada. I've had a Jeep GC w/Hemi for a year, and it's been fun but it's not cutting it when we take a trip and bring the dog along (Irish Wolfhound). Time to go back to a full size SUV. I really like the looks of the Armada and really don't like the front of the QX, or what the Q says when I pull onto a jobsite. But my Jeep (and before that a Lexus RX330) have some nice touches (heated seats - even though I'm not in Buffalo anymore, bluetooth phone, zenon headlights on the Lexus, quiet ride) that I would like to keep, especially if I have to keep this beast for 5 years (business tax credit). When you ask an Armada salesman about bluetooth they look at you like you have an earring. It's not so much the money either because Dec 31 is coming up and every large SUV (except the Lexus) is going dirt cheap.

Have you really found the ride of the Armada to compare to the Q, especially for quietness?

Appreciate the feedback.
 

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donmbuffalo said:
Read quite a few of the posts here and it's refreshing to read the positive comments on the Armada. I've had a Jeep GC w/Hemi for a year, and it's been fun but it's not cutting it when we take a trip and bring the dog along (Irish Wolfhound). Time to go back to a full size SUV. I really like the looks of the Armada and really don't like the front of the QX, or what the Q says when I pull onto a jobsite. But my Jeep (and before that a Lexus RX330) have some nice touches (heated seats - even though I'm not in Buffalo anymore, bluetooth phone, zenon headlights on the Lexus, quiet ride) that I would like to keep, especially if I have to keep this beast for 5 years (business tax credit). When you ask an Armada salesman about bluetooth they look at you like you have an earring. It's not so much the money either because Dec 31 is coming up and every large SUV (except the Lexus) is going dirt cheap.

Have you really found the ride of the Armada to compare to the Q, especially for quietness?

Appreciate the feedback.
The QX and Armada are now equally quiet. They added the additional sound proofing in '05 to quiet down the Armada. For example, I often don't hear emergency sirens in the Armada. It is more quiet than my Infiniti G35 even with the big tires I added.

The ride is identical. The only differnence from fan belt to tire including the entire suspension is the chrome on the QX wheels.

As for HID, I got mine for $255. The Armada comes with heated seats in the front. 2nd row seats on the QX are heated, but not on Armada.

With the QX vs. LE Armada, you get HID standard, smart cruise, chrome stuff, a higher grade of leather, longer warranty, heated 2nd row seats, LED taillights, wood dash stuff, and an analogue clock. That's about it.

As for Bluetooth, I never use it so I really don't care. However, you could always install an aftermarket stereo that has it.

No Offense, but the RX is a joke. Its a car with a tall stance and AWD. The Grand is better, but not the right size for you. I went from a Grand to the Armada and I'm nothing but happy. I was going to get the current Grand, but it had become too much of a car loosing its solid axels and the hemi is weak compared to motors in the earlier grands like the 5.9 360 in '96 ZJ and the 4.7 HO in the WJs. With the top of the line Grand being similar in price to the LE Armada, the choice was easy.

I'd test drive it vs. others you are looking at. The GMs are junk. The Durango, TOYota and Lexus are not full size and not much bigger than a Grand, the Fords are crude and slow, leaving the Armada. In '07, GM will upgrade their lineup with new interiors, their weakest point. But the problematic drivetrains remain. The Tundra will grow and probably be a contender, but I haven't heard of a new Sequoia yet, which last time lagged the Tundra by a year. Nissan will add a Diesel option and Ford/Lincoln are relatively unchanged. Try a drive and you'll see. And realize, the weakest link from a handling, ride, and noise standpoint is the junky stock tires. All of these improve with a new set of rubber. ;)
 

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I went from a Grand to the Armada and I'm nothing but happy
Wow, a lotta former Jeep grand owners i for one loved the jeep, great car. before i bought my Qx i wasnt planning on trading my GC in, but i decided to test drive me friends brand new Qx(I was in for one hell of a suprise!). THe power in this huge mammoth hulk Suv totally blew me away. I wasnt expecting it to be so agressive all over the powerband!. two weeks later i went to the dealer and somehow convinced myself that the added space and versatility in the 4wd and cooler tech would be worth the $$$. One thing that the Qx cant not replace is the throttle responce of my jeep, on the freeway at 60 when i floor it power is instant and launches me quickly to any speed. On the twisty backroads the jeep is like a sports sedan even with the crappy wranglers. I ended up giving up both my jeep and lexus (jeep's diff and other stuff were totally gone and useless at 80k miles).
 

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I've got the 2004 Armada and I believe it was even one of the first 2004's! The only thing I had a problem with was the brakes and Nissan has fixed them with no expense to me. I've had the suv now for two years and have never experienced any other problem, no rattles, nothing that some of the others experienced on this forum. I don't have any scratches on the inside and with two teenagers and their friends, that's saying a lot! I love my Armada and when and if I trade in a few years, it will be for another Armada. :rrg:
 
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