2017 Infiniti QX80 and 2017 Nissan Armada: Good cars needing more unique identities

30 Jan 2017 | 474 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds When you see either the 2017 Infiniti QX80 Premium and the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum, you will likely notice one thing: They are big-time big. But bigger in this case is truly better, with each of them offering the last word in comfort, safety and hominess behind the wheel. The Armada is a full-size--some might say plus-size SUV that can haul up to 8,500 pounds if equipped appropriately, and the same can be said for the Infiniti QX80 Premium. They move down the road in stately fashion, turning heads as they go. [caption id="attachment_8619" align="alignnone" width="614"] Franklin, Tenn. (July 8, 2015) - Infiniti has announced that for the third year in a row its QX80 full-size luxury SUV was recognized as best-in-class in the 2015 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) for the Luxury/Large SUV segment. Now in its 19th year, AutoPacificÕs VSA identifies the most satisfying vehicles on the market. An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, VSAs are based on survey responses from over 66,000 owners of new 2015 model year cars and light trucks.[/caption]   With both, you can get as many as eight people, and it comes equipped with heated front second row seats, with power return third row seats. This year's Armada is a totally new model with a lot of refinements that were missing from the prior generation. While the old model felt too truckish and did not seem to be as refined as the competition, this new model has been upgraded in every conceivable way when compared to the old Armada. It feels solid, is built well, rides like a dream, and has all the makings of a top notch long road trip product.  And it looks pretty good going down that highway, too. The Infiniti QX80 is an opulent ride--there simply isn't any other way you can put it. The quilted, buttery- soft seats  feel more like an armchair than a car seat. It's relatively quiet, although you can still hear some undertones of the truckishness every now and then. It's a solid product--well built and with the same attention to detail. Problems?  Both the QX80 and the Armada have back seats that are barely habitable because the space is tight back there..and if you get the 22 inch tires, be prepared for a bumpier ride. And my kids were not crazy about the awkwardness of getting into either of the cars, even with running boards. But there is one glaring issue  for the Armada that  has nothing to do with the product----but everything to do with Infiniti's top crust QX80 full size luxury crossover. [caption id="attachment_8621" align="alignnone" width="504"] The 2017 Nissan Armada's exterior appearance is both powerful and refined. The redesigned body features an aggressive stance with bold V-motion front grille and standard LED low-beam headlights with halogen high beams and LED Daytime Running Lights – maintaining the previous generation's rugged, athletic image but with added contemporary style.[/caption] The two of them are contented with much the same equipment, and  look so much alike you probably will get them confused unless you are looking at the grille, and how often are you doing that, right?  From the side it's portholes along the upper part of the flank for the QX80, and a chromed small gate on the Armada. Powertrain-wise, the Armada gets the  5.6 liter V-8, putting out 390 horsepower, with a seven speed automatic and it put out 394 lb.ft of torque. Move up to the Infiniti QX80 AWD (all-wheel-drive) Limited and you get ten more horses, the same seven speed tranny and a bit  more torque--413 lb feet. Neither of this products gets decent gas mileage--in fact, it's abysmal. So get ready to shell out the bucks on these two. You   pay dearly  for filling up that tank.  The QX80  Limited is rated at 13 miles per gallon city, and 19 highway, while the Armada get 13/18 with the same setup. Not much new this year for the QX80. There's a new color or two, and trailer sway control is now standard across the lineup. In-car Wi-Fi is now part of the optional Theater Package. Meanwhile, the Nissan Armada interior is really quite lovely and comfortable--we are talking home away from home here.  You are cossetted and cared for in a way that you probably thought was only available in the mot expensive large luxury crossovers. The Infiniti, with a price tag of $90,445,  has a bit nicer grade of wood, along with a wood trimmed steering wheel, a  some fancier design work on the door panels. But it certainly isn't almost 30,000 more in value and content than its Armada counterpart, at least as far as we can tell. And here is the Armada: But this state of affairs and "twin-ness"  is great for Armada,  and awful for the QX80.  Nissan gets to sell a product that is almost identical to arguably the most expensive model in the ultra-luxurious Infiniti lineup and for almost $30,000 less!  I cannot imagine that people won't compare the two and spring for the Armada and save  bundles of money.   For the "Q,"  just about everything you are likely to want are bunched up in packages, which makes it easier to order. The Driver Assistance package comes with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning (with pedestrian detection), stolen vehicle notification and secondary driver services such as geo-fencing and maximum speed notifications. If you have the Driver Assistance package, you can also add the Theater package, which includes a dual-screen rear entertainment system, a 120-volt household-type power outlet and heated second-row seats with a power tip-up feature for easier third-row access. The Tire and Wheel package gets you 22-inch wheels and all-season performance tires. If you order the Deluxe Technology package, you get all the previously mentioned packages plus adaptive front lighting, headlight washers, Infiniti's Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension, an upgraded climate control system, upgraded leather upholstery, special wood trim, ventilated front seats and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system. Our test model QX80 Limited is equipped to the rafters with goodies plus an interior that frankly looks like it was done by a coachbuilder. Standard equipment includes an interior and exterior look that is all its own with piping nd diamond shaped quilted looks everywhere on the seats. Other QX80 standard features are the  5.6-liter V8 engine (400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet), a seven-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive (four-wheel drive with low-range gearing is optional), 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights and foglights, automatic high-beam control, a sunroof, roof rails, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable and heated driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), a six-way power front passenger seat, driver-seat memory settings, second-row captain's chairs (a 60/40-split bench seat is available as a no-cost option), a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat, and a power-adjustable, heated steering wheel. For both the base and Limited trims, in-car Wi-Fi is available as a stand-alone option. For the Nissan Armada Platinum, with a price tag just over $60,000, standard equipment includes a seven speed automatic that has a tow/haul mode; a two speed transfer case; anti-lock brakes, tow hitch receiver, automatic on/off headlights, chrome grille and door handles, power-folding outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system with an eight inch touch screen monitor and Voice recognition, Bluetooth, dual zone automatic temperature control; illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls,; heated front seats, second row 60/40 split fold down bench seat with tip up easy entry for third row, rear air condition with rear controls, wood tone trim and black carpeting; footwell lights, chrome mirrors, power liftgate, remote engine start system, AroundView Monitor with Moving Object Detection, leather seating, rain-sensing wipers, a memory system for drivers seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors. And if you are worried about safety equipment--don't. On the Armada, you can order plenty, including Intelligent Cruise Control, Predictive Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Blind Spot Warning; Blind Spot Intervention, and backup Collision Intervention. It entertains the family well, too.  Nissan calls it a Tri-Zone Entertainment system which offers two monitors in the second row that can be played individually by back seat occupants.  And there are two wireless headsets included, and if you order it, a Bose Premium Audio System. In addition to all that good stuff, our Platinum Armada included 20 inch machine finished tinted aluminum ally wheels, power moonroof; distance control assist, intelligent cruise control; windshield wiper de-icer, Tri Zone Entertainment System with dual 7.0 inch monitors, DVD player with remote control; two wireless headphones and audio/video input jacks. Safety equipment includes Predictive Forward Collision Warning system; forward Emergency Braking System; Lane Departure Warning; Lane Departure Prevention; Blind Spot Warning; Blind Spot Intervention  and Backup Collision Intervention system. The basic warranty is three years/36,000 miles for the Armada, and four year/60,000 mile basic warranty and 6 year, 70,000 mile Powertrain limited warranty for the QX80 Limited. And the two have challenges together too. They both have a cramped third seat, and both are rather cumbersome to park in a typical American city. But they also are both products we would recommend without reservation..and we hope Nissan does more to differentiate these products in   2018.  

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