CHICAGO, Illinois (WKBN) – The 2016 Chicago Auto Show opened with something big – the biggest new Nissan SUV: Armada. The 2017 Armada debuted at a press event just ahead of Thursday’s official media preview.
Nissan executives admitted that small compact utility vehicles (CUVs) are the hottest thing in the automotive world now, and the new Armada is decidedly not compact. It is Nissan’s biggest – bigger even than Chevrolet’s Tahoe by five inches. But the full size SUV market is still worth a quarter of a million vehicles each year, and Nissan wants its share.
The new Armada is 20% stiffer than the current model, and boasts a new 13 speaker audio system, while promising to be “library quiet.”
The “heart of the beast,” as executives put it, is a 390 horsepower V-8, up from (just) 317 horsepower currently. The 7-speed automatic transmission helps give Armada an 8500-pound towing capacity in either 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive.
Three trim levels will be offered next year, but no pricing has been announced yet.
Interestingly, the V-8 engine will be built at Nissan’s Tennessee plant, but the vehicle will be assembled in Japan.
The Smyrna, TN plant is being prepared to ramp up production of Nissan’s new Titan pickup trucks, and the automaker is so optimistic about the need to build more pickups that it is kicking SUV production out of the plant.