Not every outdoor adventure can fit into the confines of a tiny Jeep Wrangler. Plenty of off-roaders would rather have a full-size SUV that they can fill with all of the passengers and equipment they need to have the perfect getaway. Today we’re going to take a look at one option in particular: the 2023 Nissan Armada. When you see the Nissan Armada for sale at your local dealership, you’ll find plenty of different trim levels to choose from, but which one is the best for off-roading?
In this article, we’re going to go over how to maximize the Armada’s off-road capability. From tip to tailgate, there are plenty of aspects of the Armada that can be customized or upgraded. While some features are standard across the board, others are locked behind higher trim levels or available as optional add-ons. Let’s take a look at how to build the Armada into an off-roading beast.
Helpful Features That Come Standard
Luckily for adventurers on a budget, the most important piece of the puzzle doesn’t require any upgrades to get. Nissan’s 5.6L Endurance V8 engine comes standard across the Armada lineup, so you can get up to 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque even if you opt for the base S trim. Not only does that give you the power you need to conquer tough trails, but it also gives you up to 8,500 lbs of towing capacity, so you can bring along a camping trailer or a boat for hitting the lake.
While paved roads are designed to be safe for vehicles of all shapes and sizes, the natural world is unpredictable, and even well-maintained off-road trails can deliver their fair share of obstacles. Ground clearance is an essential element for any vehicle looking to travel off-road, where you can run into steep grades and stray boulders. The Armada has a 21.0-degree angle of approach, a 20.7-degree breakover angle, and a 22.4-degree departure angle, allowing it to handle just about anything.
Having all four wheels spinning at once is usually what you want, but in some sticky off-road situations, it’s not ideal. If you hit a patch of mud where one or more of your wheels can’t find any purchase, then it’s better for those wheels to stop so that the wheels that are getting traction can get all the power they need to move you forward into safety. So you’ll want to make sure that your Armada has an active brake limited slip, which automatically senses when a wheel is spinning out and brakes it.
Intelligent 4×4 With Selectable Modes
When you’re tackling OHV trails, you definitely want the superior traction provided by a 4×4 system. On uneven surfaces, you might get into a situation where some of your wheels don’t have a great grip or maybe don’t even have a grip at all, so you want to be able to send power to all four. However, as you’re driving to and from your outdoor getaway on paved roads, you can save fuel by using two-wheel drive. With Nissan’s Intelligent 4×4, you can get 4WD when you need it and save your energy when you don’t.
Off-road adventurers should also opt for a trim with selectable drive modes. Auto mode is great for everyday driving and uses sensors to respond to changing conditions. Tow mode is optimized for hauling extra weight, like if you’re bringing a trailer to your campsite. 4LO and Snow modes can come in handy when the weather gets rough. Finally, 4HI provides off-road capability when you need it. The settings for selectable modes sit right next to the gear shift, so it’s easy to switch between the different modes as needed.
Keep an Eye on Everything
When you’re out on a tricky trail, it’s important for you to be able to keep track of your surroundings, both when you’re actively driving and when you’re parking in tight spots on potentially uneven ground. So it’s a good idea to spring for some of the extra tech features that let you look around. For instance, Intelligent Rear View Mirror uses a camera on the liftgate to give you a high-definition view of what’s going on behind you. On the rearview mirror, you can switch between the regular mirror view and the camera view, giving you a way to see around passengers or cargo in the back or to get better lighting conditions.
For navigating tight spaces, the Intelligent Around View Monitor can come in handy. Sometimes a single camera angle isn’t enough. When you want to see multiple views at once, you can use the split screen feature to choose between front, rear, and curbside views. To really get a sense of what’s around you, you can use the composite 360-degree birds-eye view. The system will also give you a warning if it senses anything moving near your vehicle, so nothing can sneak up on you.
After you’ve put together a rough and ready Armada, there’s still more customizing you can do to get ready for your next adventure. Roof rail crossbars expand your cargo space beyond the interior without the need to get a trailer. The factory-installed accessory allows you to carry up to 100 lbs. You can also get Yakima brand accessories that are compatible with the crossbars, like a lightweight, open-air cargo basket and a fully-sealed, lockable cargo box that makes it easy to pack up anything from tents to snowboards. An available rear bumper step can make it easier to access the roof for loading things up and taking them down.
Plenty of outdoorsy people enjoy biking trips, which is probably why the Armada has so many available accessories for storing bicycles. You can mount your bike either on the roof or on a rack attached to the hitch. Most options hold only one or two bikes, but for family vacations, there’s one that can accommodate up to four. You can also get cargo solutions specifically for kayaks, surfboards, and skis.
When you’ve already brought a spacious, full-size SUV along to your campsite, why not make use of its interior while it’s parked? The available hatch tent is designed to connect to the back of the Armada, so you can move back and forth between the cargo hold and the tent. It can also be used as a stand-alone floor tent with an area of ten feet by ten feet.
Finally, you’ll definitely want to invest in a set of all-season floor mats. Off-roading can get messy easily, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to track dirt, mud, leaves, and sand into your car. With carpeted mats, it’ll take some elbow grease to clean them up for everyday use. All-season floor mats, on the other hand, are designed to be easy to hose off so you can keep your vehicle well protected.
Head of Road in the Nissan Armada
A lot of what you need to hit the trails comes standard on the Nissan Armada, which is good news for off-road enthusiasts on a budget. If you’re looking for a vehicle that gives you every advantage, you’re going to want to leave the base setup behind and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success with Intelligent 4×4, extra camera views, and the accessories you need to bring all your gear along for the ride. As long as you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to find an Armada that can take your camping experience to the next level.