Third Place: Nissan Pathfinder Armada SE
If there's a full-size SUV equivalent of an NBA power forward, it might just be the all-new Pathfinder Armada. Large, imposing, and unconventional, the Armada is the Dennis Rodman of SUVs. Like the "Pierced One," the Armada isn't shy about itself. It's built big, looks big, feels big, and, come time to squeeze into a tight parking spot, is big. From road to roof and bumper to bumper, the new Nissan is the biggest SUV in our comparo. Thank goodness for the Armada's standard rear-proximity sensors (optional on some competitors) that beep ever more fervently the closer the SUV's rear bumper comes to committing a parking-lot foul.
With its plus-size flanks, toothy grimace, and rotund roof, Nissan's new full-size SUV is about as subtle as the Spanish Armada in Biscayne Bay. Its looks are polarizing. One editor dubbed the Armada "fresh and bold," while another compared its profile with "an armadillo protruding from a lean-to."
Big outside means big inside, too. The cabin is tall and wide with generous-sized chairs, standard three-row seating, and a forward-thrusting cab-forward windshield. Not only are the driver and front passenger treated to the big easy; the three-passenger second-row seats offer near limousine-like spaciousness. Less so, the third row, which provides marginal head- and legroom. Large storage pockets populate the Armada's interior, on the doors, center console, dash top, and rear-quarter trim panels. More compartments bedeck the headliner all the way into the third-seat area. The problem with these and most of the rest of the interior is the preponderance of hollow-resonating hard plastic.
We expected big things from Nissan's first-ever full-size SUV. After all, Nissan's been able to take a long, hard look at the market, noting what manufacturers have aced and what they've been stubbing their toes on. The Armada shares most of its underpinnings (except the rear suspension), dash, windshield, and front-end sheetmetal with the equally Brobdingnagian Titan pickup.