English pilfers words from anywhere in the world for le mot juste — including the world of fiction. Take Brobdingnag, the second island in Gulliver’s Travels, an 18th century satirical novel — the Animal Farm of its time. The island is peopled by gentle giants, as relatively huge compared to Gulliver as the tiny Lilliputians were to him. Brobingnaggian became an occasionally employed adjective for pretentious writers paid by the word. It works justly for the 2016 Nissan Armada, a gentle giant.
At 5206mm long, 2,029mm wide and 1,925mm high, the Armada is so vast, it deserves its own postal code. This Platinum version resides on 20-inch tires wide enough to be measured in cubits. If it weren’t for the wonderful 360-degree view that Nissan’s vehicles have offered for years and the many safety technologies like the rear-motion detecting back-up collision intervention that guard against unwanted surprises, you’d want another driver at the back like those classic fire engines.
I had the Armada for just a week, anticipating a visit with loads of relatives over the recent Thanksgiving weekend. The occasion would entail a long road trip, so any extra comforts were welcome. As mentioned, this tester was the Platinum trimline. So it was well decked out with bling and distractions for everyone aboard the Armada. However, the visit was canceled due a contagious illness and I was left — solo for days — with a mobile spa that wouldn’t fit onto our parking pad.
Yes, yes, hashtag first-world problems, indeed. Let’s talk about them.
The second row seats are “captain’s chairs” — a reference to the maritime name? They’re heated for extra comfort (though the front seats are heated and cooled to make clear who the real captain is) and their presence reduces seating capacity from 8 to 7, a problem if you have that many friends.
The Platinum includes a DVD entertainment system beyond all the satellite-radio, bluetoothed bling with Bose speakers neatly positioned in 13 places throughout the interior, creating an inverted drive-in cinema. The driver can’t see the DVD screens but the dashboard is arranged around an intuitive 8-inch colour display.
A few hilarious words regarding fuel efficiency: The Canadian-government-OK’d Energuide ratings are conducted under ideal circumstances. That is, in a laboratory without Canadian weather or, worse, Torontonian drivers demanding sudden unwelcome interruptions in speed, lane position and Zen — all of which add to either your fuel bill or insurance. Even then the Armada rates a breath-taking 17.5 L/100km on city streets and 12.9 on the highway. Here’s why.
The Platinum is powered by a massive 5.6L eight-cylinder engine that produces 390 destriers at 5,800rpm and 394 lb-ft of torque at 4,000rpm. All-wheel drive adds to the heftiness of nearly 6,000 pounds! This is a silver backed gorilla with a 7-speed automatic transmission and leather skin. While it’s still not the biggest SUV available — counting its prominent diving board of a rear bumper, the GMC Yukon XL extends nearly another half meter! — the Armada is still brobdinaggian. Eng lit scholars and cartoon nerds will recall that Gulliver dragged the entire Blefuscudian fleet across the sea to Lilliput. Impressive. With its 8,500-pound towing capacity, the Armada Platinum’s engine could drag the cannon from an Elizabethan warship into the present.
2017 Nissan Armada Platinum MSRP $69,998
Freight & PDE: $1,795.
As driven: $71,928