By BOB GRITZINGER | Contributing Editor Toyota may have finally…
Not too long ago, everyone rushed to downsize their vehicles as the price of a gallon of gas hit frightening new highs. Prices have come back down and the popularity of trucks and SUVs are on the rise. Now, the same brand that builds the world’s best-selling electric vehicle (the LEAF) has officially launched the “Year of the Truck”. Nissan has readied its fleet with an all-new Titan pickup truck, all-new Armada, and refreshed Pathfinder. These highly capable vehicles target consumers who share a common desire: a vehicle that offers the comfort, safety, and capability that SUV and truck buyers demand.
Pathfinder refreshed for 2017
The smallest of the lot is the seven-passenger Nissan Pathfinder, which isn’t technically all-new but did get a major refresh for the 2017 model year. The changes are visible right away thanks to a bolder exterior design that provides more character than the outgoing model and gives it a ready-to-tackle-anything attitude.
In an effort to make the 2017 Pathfinder faster and more responsive, Nissan gives it a new 3.5-liter V6 engine with 24 more horsepower and 19 more lb-ft of torque than the old model. Nissan worked on the ride quality, too, adding an improved suspension system to smooth out the bumps and dips. The Pathfinder also comes with a 6,000-lb. towing capacity. So, it might be smaller than the Armada, but it’s still plenty capable.
Interior improvements include a new cup holder designed to fit large mug handles (calling all Yeti tumbler enthusiasts!). There are two USB ports up front for charging multiple devices, and if you’re loading cargo, the Pathfinder makes that easier with a motion-activated tailgate.
The infotainment system has a standard 8-inch touchscreen that features NissanConnectSM with voice recognition and Bluetooth; however, customers can opt for NissanConnect navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and TravelLink. The simplified icon-based interface makes it easier to find what you need more quickly, and without having to dig through endless menus.
The Nissan Pathfinder has always been, and remains, a family vehicle. And families put a priority on safety. The Pathfinder’s Around View monitor and moving object detection provide a full view around the vehicle to make sure you don’t miss anything. It’s a feature that could save you from a fender bender in busy parking lot or help you avoid clipping a low wall. All four trim levels — from the base Pathfinder S to the top-of-the-line Pathfinder Platinum — allow customers to select from a range of features that fit your needs and your budget.
Stepping up to the all-new Nissan Armada, you get room for eight passengers along with more towing capacity than the smaller Pathfinder. The Armada, with its 5.6-liter V8 engine, can tow up to 8,500 pounds with 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Choose either two- or four-wheel-drive depending on what kind of terrain you plan to tackle.
Like the Pathfinder, the Armada gets a rugged exterior facelift but to an even larger degree. Everything about the Armada is bold and as large as life. It’s an SUV that’s ready to do some work, whether that means an off-road adventure on the weekend or hauling the kids and their endless piles of stuff all over town. The new Armada also has standard LED low-beam headlights, LED daytime running lights, and fender air intakes with chrome accents to give it extra character.
One of the drawbacks to big SUVs is interior noise, so Nissan gave the Armada an acoustic glass windshield and front side windows. They also added more sound absorption materials and changed the windshield design all in an effort to improve passenger comfort. Basically, Nissan wants passengers to be able to carry on a conversation without needing a bullhorn to be heard in the third row.
Optional features add to a pleasant drive by keeping the whole family entertained. This includes a Bose audio system with 13 speakers and a DVD entertainment system with dual seven-inch head restraint monitors. There are two pairs of wireless headphones and a remote control included with the system so rear passengers stay entertained while front seat passengers can enjoy the silence.
A first for the Armada is predictive forward collision warning to warn drivers to take action before an accident happens. That’s not always enough, so there’s also forward emergency braking to help bring the Armada to a complete stop should the driver fail to react to the warning. Additional safety features include lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and intelligent cruise control.
The Armada offers three different trim levels starting with the base SV. There’s also the mid-range SL and luxurious Platinum model with features galore. All three let you pick two-or four-wheel-drive so you can get exactly the vehicle you need.
Titan gets overhauled
When an SUV isn’t enough, then you need the extra capability of a truck like the Nissan Titan. This full-size pickup complements the larger Titan XD. Don’t think these are different trims of the same truck; they’re definitely two different trucks designed for two different buyers. The one thing they do share is the durability and capability truck customers demand.
The half-ton Titan gets its own engine — a 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 with 394 lb-ft of torque mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. (Nissan has plans to introduce a V6 option at a later date.) That powerful engine allows for up to 9,390 pounds of towing capacity and 1,610 pounds of cargo. This truck is ready for handling whatever you plan to throw in its direction.
Nissan gave the Titan features to make the workday easier, whether on the job or over the weekend. These include a 5.5-foot bed with a spray-on liner and Nissan’s Utili-track bed channel system with four heavy-duty aluminum alloy cleats that slide along a track at the top of the walls. Lock them in place and you have tie-downs in exactly the spot you need for any load. Floor and header tracks offer even more options for safely securing cargo.
If you’re carrying smaller cargo, then there are optional storage boxes that are watertight, drainable, and removable so you can leave them behind when you need room for larger objects. If your workday runs late, you’ll still be able to see what you’re doing with lamps in the bedrail, cargo, and tailgate area.
You can choose from one of five Titan trim levels including the Pro-4X for maximum off-road performance. If you’re looking for luxury, then look no further than the Platinum Reserve with its rich interior trims.
The Titan will initially be available only in a Crew Cab, but if you don’t need all that passenger space, they have you covered. A new Single Cab model was just revealed and will be coming soon, as will a King Cab.
It’s Nissan’s Year of the Truck and the Pathfinder, Armada, and Titan give SUV and truck buyers three appealing choices. A wide range of trims for each model makes it easier to find one that fits your budget and your needs with plenty of comfort, safety, and capability.
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