For 2006, the Nissan Armada receives some extra toys. Automatic dual-zone climate control is now standard, as is a 60/40 split fold-flat third-row seat; the LE receives standard power folding mirrors with heat, power adjust, auto dimming and integrated turn signals; the Technology Package available on the eight-passenger LE Bose Audio system includes MP3 and WMA audio playback capability; and there are two new exterior colours, Majestic Blue and Pewter.

Based on the Nissan Titan pickup truck, the massive Armada is Nissan’s largest SUV and also appears at Infiniti as the QX56. It comes in SE or LE trim; both use a 5.6-litre V8 with a five-speed automatic transmission. Its All Mode four-wheel-drive technology is derived from the Nissan Skyline GT-R, a model not sold in North America. Nissan says it’s more sophisticated than a truck-based system, designed to instantly distribute torque to all four wheels when warranted, and capable of dividing its torque 50/50 front and rear. A two-speed electronic transfer case allows the driver to select between auto, full-time 4WD and 4LO.

The SE includes 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, black mesh grille, running boards, privacy glass, manual flip-out rear quarter windows, power-adjustable pedals, full-length overhead console, fold-flat second- and third-row seats, heated mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, fold-down front passenger seat with recessed “work area” and cupholders, six-CD Bose system with ten speakers, front and rear air conditioning, cruise, power windows and locks, rear air levelling suspension, speed-sensitive intermittent wipers, automatic halogen headlights and skid plates.

The LE adds 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels, chrome grille, mirror-mounted puddle lamps, power flip-out rear quarter windows, six-way power passenger seat, power sunroof, power liftgate, rear centre console, fog lights, footwell lights, and heated leather seats.

The Armada is a huge vehicle, and although its steering and handling are much sharper and more precise than you’d expect for its size, you won’t mistake it for a Sentra when it’s time to work your way through city streets looking for a downtown-sized parking spot. Its potent but thirsty powerplant adds to the illusion of a smaller vehicle, since it hauls this beast around admirably. Styling is not its strong point, but its Titan-style grille looks a little more at home than the Infiniti’s face does on the QX56. Its full-length boxed high-steel frame, independent rear suspension and highest maximum towing capacity for its class make it out-of-the-box ready for “outdoor family adventures”, as Nissan puts it, although they’ll have to be pretty wide off-road trails.

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