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December, 8, 2016

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Nissan's Armada SUV returns with upgraded engine, look

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nissan took a model year off from its largest SUV, the Armada, but it's back for 2017 restyled and re-engineered with a plush ride, a well-equipped interior and a more horsepower than ever.

The revamped 5.6-lite, Endurance V8 delivers 390 horsepower, up 73 horsepower from the previous Armada. Two- and four-wheel drive Armadas now can tow a maximum of 8,500 pounds, and both have a seven-speed automatic transmission instead of a five-speed.

Its new look is upscale inside and the 2017 model has a generous amount of standard equipment — a premium Bose sound system with 13 speakers, onboard navigation system with an 8-inch display screen, running boards for easy entry and exit, rearview camera, front and rear parking sonar assists, dual-zone climate control, power-adjusting, heated, front passenger seat and power driver's seat with heat and power lumbar support.

The top-level Armada, the Platinum version, is so loaded with luxury items like nicely detailed leather seats, rear-seat entertainment system, moon roof and the latest safety equipment that it could challenge many luxury-branded SUVs — including its sibling vehicle, the Infiniti QX80, which is built at the same plant.

The starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is increased from the just under US$40,000 price for the 2015 model to US$45,990 for a two-wheel drive Armada and US$48,895 for a four-wheel drive Armada.

Changes to the new Armada start at its platform, which used to be the same as Nissan's full-size Titan pickup truck. The 2017 Armada uses the platform of Nissan Patrol SUV, which has a long, reliable history as a workhorse around the globe. As a result of this new platform, the 2017 Armada is built in Japan, not Mississippi where the Titan is made.

The Armada's outer styling now is more squat and muscular, though it rides high above the pavement and has a step-in height of more than 22 inches.

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