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Summer's almost here... Let's go camping!: Nissan's SUV-Camping Exhibit at the 2018 New York International Auto Show

Parallax1

Like many Americans, I grew up in a family of avid campers. However, our vehicles were usually an assortment of rugged, ancient Chevy, Dodge, and Ford pickup trucks with no bed liners, and we were lucky to have any old hard camper shell with a functioning window or two. We kids were tossed around in the back with spare tires, jacks, tools, and ice chests, and were very lucky to make it into adulthood. However, we loved every minute of it and I am grateful for the experience, and still love camping to this very day.

Today, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of great choices for safely taking our families on camping trips. Nissan had a small but effective display at the 2018 New York International Auto Show on Level 1, which featured a 2018 Nissan Armada towing a boat, a 2018 Nissan NV Passenger Van with two kayaks tied to the roof, a 2018 Nissan Pathfinder with a tent attached to the rear, a Nissan Rogue in a camp setting, and a Nissan Titan Lifted. I liked all of the Nissans on display, and I arrived with the notion that my favorite would be the Pathfinder. However, it was not so easy to choose after seeing the full display.

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Like the old pickups driven by my family, the Armada has a fuel hungry V8 (14 City; 19 Highway). However, the vehicles of today offer a lot more safety and comfort features, and are more practical, too. I do not recall my uncle's old pickup having a seven-speed automatic transmission, a standard feature on the Nissan Armada, which helps for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Nissan's Armada base model also comes equipped with the Endurance 5.6 Liter DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection engine, with 390 hp @ 5800 rpm, and 394 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm, power and torque respectively, which is plenty of muscle to tow a boat, camping gear, and a family of eight. The Armada's standard towing capacity is 8500 pounds.

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The Armada has a 26 gallon fuel capacity for longer range between fill-ups, so you'll be arriving to your campsite sooner. Unlike the old pickup trucks we used, the Nissan Armada has a lot of safety and comfort features. For better stopping power the Armada’s brake rotors are large, at 13.8 aches for both front and back rotors, and according to Car and Driver, it can stop from 70 to 0 MPH at 182 feet. The Armada has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure.

The family will arrive to the campsite more rested after a comfortable ride, too, as the Armada has 154.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, and for enhanced passenger comfort on long trips, the Armada’s middle and third row seats recline. The Armada has a standard third row seat that folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly.

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The Nissan Armada has fully independent front and rear suspensions, which allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Armada’s wheelbase is: 121.1 inches, and for greater off-road capability the Armada SV has 9.2 inches of minimum ground clearance, allowing the Armada to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. This is essential if you are taking your family camping to areas that have rugged terrain, or to a hard to reach boat launch site, say to Lake Powell, Utah.

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However, for the toughest terrain, one might opt for a Nissan Titan Lifted, with the factory-installed lift kit that includes heavy-duty ball joints, custom rod end bearings, and adjustable coil-over shocks that will lift the Titan an additional 6-inches. Just as I had my mind made up about the Nissan Armada as my next family vehicle, the Nissan Titan Lifted stopped me dead in my tracks, and left me drooling. Nevertheless, the 2018 Nissan Armada, is a good balance between functionality and aesthetics, and I am sure my wife would agree.

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