Sizing up the 2018 Nissan Armada

The new Nissan Armada is very competent tow vehicle. (Nissan)

The big, comfortable-riding Nissan Armada showed up on U.S. shores in 2003 to compete with the Toyota Sequoia, which had been introduced over here three years earlier.

The two have been sharp rivals in the full-size sport utility vehicle market since, competing also with the Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. All boast strong engines and four-wheel-drive.

It is interesting how closely aligned the Armada is with the Sequoia in specifications, capabilities and performance.

Wheelbase measurement is 121.1 inches for the Armada and 122 inches for the Sequoia; other comparisons, with the Armada listed first: overall length 208.9 and 205.1; width 79.9 and 79.9; height 75.8 and 77; ground clearance 9.1 and 9.9; track 67.5 and 67.9; cargo space behind the third row of seats 16.5 and 18.9; curb weight 5,960 pounds and 5,985.

The Armada’s 5.6-liter V-8 delivers 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque, with strong tow capacity of 8,500 pounds, compared to the Sequoia’s 5.7-liter V-8 with 381-hp and 401 torque, tow capacity of 7,400 pounds.

The Armada is equipped with a twist dial to go from 2-wheel-drive to  4WD to 4Llo. Its 4WD system adjusts torque between front and rear wheels for secure grip in snow and rain. It has a snow mode for easier startups without spinning. The Nissan shifter can be moved into manual mode and tapped up or down for gear changes. Its EPA estimate is 13-18, just a slight edge over Toyota’s 13-17. The Armada averaged 16.9 miles per gallon overall.

The Armada enjoys a roomy and comfortable interior: its center stack is adorned with wood and stitched leather trim. Front seats (heated and cooled) are on the smallish side and the infotainment center is somewhat dated. Rear-seat passengers are treated to dual 8-inch color monitors in the rear of front headrests.

The Armada rides high on its 20-inch wheels and Bridgestone Dueler P275/60R20 tires. The third-row seats can be lowered flat or raised with a power button from the opened cargo liftgate.

After being assembled in Canton, Miss., from 2003 to 2015, the Armada was moved to a factory in Kyushu, Japan, where it shares a platform with the Nissan Patrol, sold in all parts of the world, other than the U.S.

Sticker price on the Armada review model was $63,095. An innovative safety package includes automatic braking, forward-collision warning, intelligent backup intervention, blind-spot warning, intelligent cruise control.