After 12 years, the Nissan Armada finally gets a significant refresh for the 2017 model year. And while that may sound like good news for Japanese Truck fans (a group probably populated by slightly more people than there were supporters of Jim Webb’s presidential campaign), for all of Nissan, including subsidiary Infiniti, it’s a move comparable to that of one digging their own grave.

The 2017 Armada can be recognized in most other necks of these woods we call Earth as the Nissan Patrol, which has been around since 1951. The current generation Patrol, which has been in production since 2010, is the direct basis of chassis, as well as body for the Infiniti QX80, née QX56. The QX80 is Infiniti’s most expensive model currently available, topping off at around $90,000 for a fully kitted Limited trim. Its comfortable cabin and upscale appointments make it a top seller amongst luxury car buyers. Hell, my dentist drives one.

However, it seems to be the Armada’s assets that might be causing the problem which is about to be introduced. When compared side-by-side to its “luxury” counterpart, no differences seem to be too significant between the two models.

The 2017 Armada’s exterior, while carrying Nissan’s all to familiar V-Motion corporate face, contains brightwork that gives it an upscale touch... does that of the Infiniti QX80. (Image courtesy of CNET)


The interior of the Armada looks plush, opulent and...
...identical to that of the QX80. (Well, except for the wood steering wheel and analog clock, but those differences are only minor.)


The problem here is that the presence of either model will drive down the sales of the other. It will happen. That’s why everyone buys the LX570, but turns their back to the Land Cruiser. Their features are so similar, but one of these factors will drive buyers from one car and attract them to the other. Either it is the price or the badge stamped on the steering wheel. People who are willing to give up more than $80,000 for a full-size SUV would much rather put that sacrifice towards a new Lexus than a new Toyota. However, if a car with similar features costs significantly less than another offering from the same parent company, (Honda Accord Touring vs. Acura TLX Tech) buyers will more likely flock over to the one that’s cheaper.

As the price of the new Armada is not yet known, we don’t know which model will wind up being the one with poorer sales. But the situation stands clear. If the Armada will cost upwards $70,000, as is the QX80, it won’t do much better than it is right now. If it will cost consumers less than that, mamboing with the prices of the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban, the QX80's top seller title will soon be ripped from its name.


And my dentist will have to do some rethinking.