I remember when the first Armada showed up at the dealership I worked at back in 2004. It was called the Pathfinder Armada and the long time Nissan dealer employees weren’t quite sure what to think about it. Wasn’t the Pathfinder big enough? As anyone who has 3 or more kids will tell you, no, the Pathfinder wasn’t big enough. The Armada offered more seating, more cargo space and more towing capability. It also required substantially more space in the driveway, as it was bigger than anything Nissan had ever offered. Some dealers had to have new hoists installed just to accommodate the beast. In short order, Nissan dropped the confusing double name and the truck became simply the Armada. A fitting title for a grand machine.
The exterior styling of the Armada has always been a somewhat touchy subject. The odd cut to the aft end of the cabin draws mixed reviews to this day. That said, Nissan has never been a company that conforms to the stylistic norm so the Armada’s shape shouldn’t have been a surprise. The first generation Xterra was far from conventional and has won over literally thousands of fans so it made sense for the designers to take a chance on the bigger sibling. In the past 5 years, there has been some minor face lifting, but the basic shape remains the same. That isn’t a bad thing, as the Armada still looks current and maybe even edgy in a market dominated by bland boxes.
It has been a few years since I’ve driven an Armada and I had forgotten just how big it is. Standing beside it, one looks to the sky to see the top of the Armada. Wheeling it around a parking lot, the operator is painfully aware that this is no small vehicle. Just as school buses take a wide berth when turning in tight quarters, so does the Armada driver. Arriving at home and parking it beside our old Xterra, I was amazed. The X has always been one of the taller vehicles on the road, thanks to the extended roof racks. The Armada dwarfs it by about 3 inches!