RecallsComments Off on Volkswagen Recalls Certain Audi Models
Latino Traffic Report has learned that Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Audi) is recalling certain 2021 Audi A8 and S8, 2022 Audi A5 Sportback, A4 Sedan, E-Tron GT, Q3, Q5, RS6 Avant, A3 Sedan, S5 Sportback, Q5 Sportback, Q7, Q8, RSQ8, SQ7, SQ8, and S3 Sedan vehicles. A software error may prevent the rear-view image from initially displaying when the vehicle begins to reverse. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 111, “Rear Visibility.”
Dealers will update the infotainment unit parameters, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 17, 2021. Owners may contact Audi customer service at 1-800-253-2834. Audi’s number for this recall is 91CR.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov.
NoticiasComments Off on Hyundai Honors Hispanic Heritage Month
As Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) winds down, Latino Traffic Report has learned that Hyundai has launched a campaign to honor the Latino communty and celebrate their achievements and contributions. The multifaceted campaign includes philanthropic and community-based support as well as sponsorships highlighting Hispanic achievements and contributions to America.
“Hyundai is proud to support and spotlight the Hispanic community’s rich and diverse heritage and celebrate the achievements and invaluable contributions Latinos have made to America,” said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. “Hispanic Americans are an integral part of our nation’s fabric and a key driving force of the automotive industry.”
CANELA.TV Sponsorship CANELA.TV’s Journey to Success Series Presented by Hyundai highlights the real stories of today’s Hispanic heroes and explores a day in their lives. The 6-episode inspirational series features Kiki Melendez, La Marisoul and Edoardo Chavarin. The all-new series is currently available to stream at CANELA.TV Journey To Success Presented by Hyundai. Hyundai is also presenting CANELA.TV’s My Latin Roots section featuring classic films from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema.
Philanthropic Efforts Hyundai will make a $25,000 Donation to The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, an organization founded in 1975 that empowers students and parents to successfully complete a higher education, while providing support services and scholarships to as many exceptional students as possible.
Hyundai’s support to empower future generations of leaders extends beyond Hispanic Heritage Month and is a year-long commitment. Hyundai and its employee resource group (ERG), Amigos Unidos, will be hosting the Fourth Annual Hyundai Career Experience Virtual Program for first- and second-year college students to learn about automotive career opportunities.
Latin American Museum in Long Beach (MOLAA) Hyundai is also sponsoring the Latin American Museum in Long Beach (MOLAA) Día de los Muertos community event and exhibition celebrating this important holiday. This year MOLAA will present an onsite event on Sunday, Oct. 17 as well as online programming that is accessible to all. For more information, please visit Day of the Dead Festival at MOLAA.
Hyundai’s Amigos Unidos ERG members have also been volunteering their time and providing financial assistance to community-based organizations. This includes the Project Youth OCBF in Santa Ana which helps keep at-risk youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening, and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa, Calif. that provides a daily nutritional meal to all members of the community in need.
The highly-anticipated 2020 (now 2021) Land Rover Defender, the uber-stylized, virtually unstoppable, retro-futuristic reinvention of Land Rover’s classic-looking off-roader, is quite the vehicle, in many ways. There hasn’t been a Defender in North America since 1997, owing to domestic safety rules, so this is indeed a big reintroduction.
While I had a joyous experience in the $71,025 Defender 110 SE model, the legion of hardcore, old-school Land Rover fanatics will either love or recoil in horror from the new, Slovakian-built Defender’s very striking mix of futuristic design and super-classic elements.
Like the very first Land Rovers going back to the late 1940s, this new model has decided that boxy is better and the rear cabin of the extended-wheelbase (119-inch) 110 model integrates that retro, safari-proven style with functional side skylights and an optional, ultra-classic white contrast roof. There’s also a peculiar, body-colored panel inserted in the otherwise black-on-black windows in the rear (which serves as the mounting plate for roof racks and such); side mirrors are tiny boxes, and the rear brake lamps look like they come out of a 12-year-old kid’s Minecraft session.
The 110 model can be ordered in five- or seven-passenger seating arrangements—mine subbed in a dedicated cargo area with the most rugged plastic floor and seatback plating I’ve ever seen (an effect repeated on its hood panels). Later this year, you will also be able to order the shorter Defender 90 model; all Defenders can be customized with a gajillion accessories, e.g. roof racks, gear carriers, spare wheel covers, portable rinse systems and scuff plates.
I literally beat the hell out the Defender 110 during the test drive, engaging all of its ultra-sophisticated electronic off-road controls and easing up and down steep, rocky, sandy and snow-covered slopes, without a single problem. They’re all controlled by a new, fantastic center console (featuring an upright gear lever kind of like a joystick) that is entirely dark with the power off, but lights up to allow you access to easily control everything from terrain and throttle/braking response to the vehicle’s self-guided crawl mode. A broad video screen offers feedback on 4×4 settings, with innovative around-view cameras to help with safer navigation in sketchy spots. It’s also got a new wading mode to safely glide through up to 34 inches of water.
There are two choices of power for those various models, including a 296-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and the very impressive 395-horsepower, mild hybrid electric vehicle inline-six cylinder engine. Mine had the latter and its 48-volt integrated supercharger turns what is a lot of metal into a box that will hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and absolutely gallop up mountain passes. A very slow cruise got me mileage in the mid-20s, but I would expect the 19 combined MPG the EPA sticker suggests.
Si: Undoubtedly one of the most capable off-road vehicles in the world, it will offer assistance to other brands with extra, semi-hybrid power that helps it boogie, uphill.
No: It’s weird as hell, in a lot of ways, and the looks and design are definitely polarizing. The interior also looks more like a science experiment than a passenger vehicle.
Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Golden, Colorado.All photos are stock, not as-tested.
Ford, ReviewsComments Off on SUV Review: Ford Expedition
As sport utility vehicles (SUVs) grow, so do their price tags so that even the base model of a full-size SUV can produce a bit of sticker shock. With a starting price above $50,000, the Ford Expedition is no exception.
Redesigned in 2018 (it’ll be refreshed for 2022), the Expedition continues to serve buyers with the need for transporting multiple passengers, lots of cargo, and towing. Latino Traffic Report recently tested the two highest end models of this fancy workaholic, the Expedition Platinum and extended length Max.
Regardless of trim level, all Expeditions benefitted from a new exterior design that gave them a more refined look in 2018. Three years later, the fourth generation Expedition still showcases a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and ten-speed automatic transmission that produce up to 375 horsepower and 470 ft.–lbs. of torque with best-in-class maximum towing capability of 9,300 pounds.
It has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 23 on the highway. The aluminum-alloy body, redesigned high-strength steel frame, and stop-start technology help stretch fuel further. The extended version adds 11.9 inches in length but loses a couple mpgs with a city/highway EPA estimated fuel economy of 16/21 mpg.
Flexible seating and storage solutions include second-row tip-and-slide seating, standard on all models, that provide easy access to the third row.
Improved utility on the all-new Expedition comes with the class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist camera that helps drivers maneuver with confidence when backing up to a trailer.
Standard safety features include a perimeter alarm, the SOS post-crash alert, traction control, and a blind spot monitor with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, pre-collision warning, and automatic high beams as part of Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 technology suite.
Fully loaded with technology and otherwise optional features, the Platinum trim level also improves on aesthetics with satin chrome scuff plates, ivory leather seats, and body color door handles.
As a 4×2 configuration, the test model was meant to stay on the road and as such, provided a comfy, quiet ride ensconced in a plush interior. Ford sets the bar regarding seating comfort, in LTR’s experience.
Not only were the front seats heated but so were the second row. The front seats, however, were also cooled or ventilated. The rear seats deployed easily with the push of a button as did the hands free liftgate. Both test models offered seating for seven with captain’s chairs in the second row rather than a bench.
Maneuvering such a large vehicle requires extra technology like a 360-degree camera when in reverse with sensors to make sure to avoid people and objects. For the smaller statured, power running boards make getting in and out of the vehicle much smoother and adjustable pedals improved driver confidence and safety.
A panoramic sunroof on the test model and a hotspot with wireless phone charging included on both, added luxury and convenience.
The Premium averaged 20.4 mpg on the weeklong test drive.
Built at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, pricing on the 2021 Expedition starts at $52,290 with destination fees. The as-tested price came to $75,925 with 22-inch wheels and second-row buckets seats adding $595.
King Ranch 4×4
Not only is the Expedition Max longer than other Expeditions, the test model came in one of the most successful and plush trims that Ford offers, the King Ranch. Named for the famed ranch in Kingsville, Texas, purchasing this trim rewards the buyer with Del Rio leather seating and accents that bear the King Ranch logo.
The test model swapped a panoramic roof for the roof rack found on the Premium and added a ten-way driver and passenger memory seat.
While max towing on the King Ranch can reach 9,000 lbs., a little less than its shorter sibling, its added length expanded cargo room for a maximum of 121.5 cubic feet.
The test modal also lost a bit of fuel efficiency due to its size, it averaging 17.9 mpg.
The main feature on the King Ranch that sets apart, however, really boils down to its interior. There’s more plastic included than in the past but the leather seating, with saddlebags on the seat backs for added storage, achieves quite a high standard in the segment.
The as-tested price for the King Ranch came to $81,680 with an added $1,570 for its 22-inch wheels and heavy-duty trailer tow package.
Sí: Both test models offered what buyers would expect in a large SUV, particularly at this price point, lots of luxury, comfort, and convenience.
No: The infotainment system didn’t offer enough presets and the start-stop fuel saving system was abrupt.
NoticiasComments Off on LTR Joins 2022 Hispanic Motor Press Awards Jury
The Hispanic Motor Press Foundation (HMPF) announced today their new panel of judges for the 2022 Hispanic Motor Press Awards (HMPA) and Latino Traffic Report(LTR) made the list. The premier independent Latino vehicle awards presented in the United States recognize the best new vehicles for Hispanic buyers. Winners will be announced during this year’s LA Auto Show, the annual ten-day auto and lifestyle event featuring the most diverse range of vehicles and brands in North America that opens to the public on November 19, 2021.
“With Hispanic buyers accounting for 25 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales, HMPA guides consumers in preselecting choices,” states Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, founder and president of the Hispanic Motor Press. “Los Angeles is the top Hispanic market in the U.S. and the LA Auto Show continues to be a top performing show.”
The HMPA jury panel is comprised of national Latino automotive journalists, bloggers, content creators and industry influencers selected by the organization’s advisory board. Twenty-three automotive experts and Hispanic consumer engagers—handpicked every year—and one jury director, form the panel.
“This is the only national automotive award selected exclusively by Latino automotive journalists who best understand the needs and concerns of Latino car buyers,” says Valerie Menard, CEO of LTR. “It’s an honor to have been selected to serve on this jury.”
The jurors evaluate the vehicles from their perspective as part of their professional work through September 2021. Finalists are selected for the top ten best new vehicles: Car, EV Car, Hybrid Car, Sports Car, Luxury Car, Car Technology, Sports Utility Vehicle, Pick-Up Truck, Adventure Car, and the ultimate award Family Car of the Year.
Auto manufacturers voluntarily submit their entries, and the panel evaluates the vehicles on their features including overall design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, infotainment integration, interior design, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price. The final top ten vehicle winners represent the most significant automobiles in the market, as they meet the needs and desires of Latino consumers. Winners will be announced during the LA Auto Show’s Automobility LA press days, November 17–18, 2021. The general public is invited to attend the LA Auto show from November 19–28, 2021 and view the winning vehicles in-person
Rodriguez-Long will serve as jury moderator. The Hispanic Motor Press Awards 2022 jury panel from across the country includes:
1. Aaron Sanchez (ABC News) CA
9. Ellie Byrd (El Heraldo News) TX
17. Maria Ravani (Sobre Rodas Magazine) FL
2. Alejandro Maciel (LA Times Español) CA
10. German Angel (Enfoque Social) – CA
18. Pepe Delfino (El Automovilista) – FL
3. Angelica Willard (Willard Post) FL
11. Gil Silva (Mitchell Books) – CA
19. Pepe Forte (Automania)- FL
4. Armando Varela (La Opinion) CA
12. Hector Russo (Geek’s Room) – TX
20 Roger Rivero (Automotriz Channel) – OR
5. Camilo Alfaro (Autoproyecto) CA
13. Jaime Gabaldoni (Univision Autos) – FL
21. Sandra Munoz (Latinaology)- AZ
6. Carlos Hernandez (LatinOCC) CA
14. Jeffrey Gomez (The Snob Magazine) – TX
22. Valerie Menard (Latino Traffic Report) – TX
7. David Loji (The Detroit Bureau) MI
15. Jose Melendrez (La Alcancia) – NY
8. Dawn Garcia (A Taste of Dawn/ATOD Magazine) – CA
Believe it or not, fans of the sedan do still exist and at a time when computer chip shortages have made most sport utility vehicles hard to find, overlooked sedans may lurking on the lot. Packed with standard features and new technology, the modern sedan has gotten sleeker inside and out. Latino Traffic Reportrecently drove the Mazda6, specifically the top-of-the-line Signature trim as well as the Lexus IS 350 F Sport, two viable sedan options with more in common than expected.
Mazda’s flagship midsize sedan, the Mazda6, pushes style and refinement but the Signature trim is considered the most aspirational in the lineup.
Regarding its design, the test model Mazda6 set itself apart on the outside with unique features like a gunmetal front grille and on the inside, with Nappa leather seating enhanced by heated and cooled seats, Japanese Sen wood and gilded UltraSuede (right), accents that most carmakers save for their luxury nameplates.
Convenience features on the Mazda6 also hit a high mark with a 360-degree View Monitor (backup camera) with front and rear parking sensors, a seven-inch reconfigurable digital gauge cluster, and Mazda’s navigation system with Traffic Sign Recognition, an essential feature for speed traps. On the test model, a black headliner, frameless rearview mirror, LED ambient lights and unique stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel completed the heightened look and feel. Plus, the rear seat was split 60/40 for added utility and access to the trunk.
For 2021, Mazda enhances the standard safety suite of features by adding radar cruise control with stop-and-go function, pedestrian detection, collision and lane departure warning with Lane-Keep Assist, and a blind spot monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The test model added a rear spoiler, ambient cabin lighting, and XM Travel and Traffic Link.
While it offers more luxury than most in its segment, the Mazda6 doesn’t ignore performance. A more powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Mazda’s signature Skyactiv fuel saving technology with 227 horses and 310 lb.–ft. of torque powered the test model. The engine was matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with a Sport mode for a more aggressive performance.
The EPA estimated fuel economy on the Mazda was 23 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. It averaged 26 mpg on the weeklong test drive.
The starting price for the base model 2021 Mazda6 is $25,270. The as-tested price came to $36,620. For fans of Mazda’s signature Soul Red Crystal Metallic exterior paint color, that’ll cost an extra $595.
Lexus IS 350
The IS represents the entry level Lexus sedan model for car buyers who aspire to move into the luxury segment.
As such, the IS reflects the brand’s distinctive design DNA, namely the spindle grille, while pushing its sportier side.
One would assume luxury nameplates always include a bigger list of standard features but that’s not always true, for instance, leather seating is not offered on the IS, including on the test model, IS 350 F Sport considered near the top-of-the-line IS—replacing rear-wheel drive with all-wheel drive on the test model would have made it top of line. NuLuxe, a man-made leather upholstery, is standard on the IS but also convincing as a leather alternative. Lexus’s dramatic color palate for the seating also helps. The test model came with black seats with gray accents and blue stitching. The shift knob and steering wheel, however, were leather trimmed.
As expected, the Lexus included a healthy list of safety features, like pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and Smart Watch and Alexa Skill integration, among other features. The parking sensor, however, didn’t always engage.
Lexus is one of the few automakers to stick with a six-cylinder engine and that’s what powers the IS, specifically a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and 280 lb.–ft. of torque. Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the test model also came with drive modes and paddle shifters on the steering wheel for better performance. It had an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/28 mpg and averaged 23.3 mpg on the test drive.
As mentioned, the test model came equipped with the F Sport package ($3,735) that put badging wherever possible and with a sportier look inside, like metal pedals and bolstered front seats, but more importantly, a sport tuned and adaptive variable suspension, limited slip rear differential, and 19-inch alloy wheels. It also added fancy features like a power rear sunshade and illuminated door sills. For 2021, only the IS 350 comes in an F Sport model.
Starting price on the 2021 Lexus IS is $39,050 without destination fees. The as-tested price came to $52,484.
Sí: The Mazda6 may seem pricey but it effectively combines luxury amenities with a sporty performance.
The Lexus IS 350 F Sport offers a sporty performance in a snazzy package.
No: The lack of leather seating on any Lexus seemed odd and the level of road noise was surprising.
The infotainment system on the Mazda6 was a bit clunky and hard to program.
RecallsComments Off on Mazda Recalls Certain Mazda3 and CX-30 Models
Latino Traffic Report has learned that Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling certain 2021 Mazda3 and CX-30 vehicles. Air may suddenly leak from the tire air valve causing a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash.
Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace all four tire air valves with new parts, free of charge. The recall began April 6, 2021. Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500 Option 4. Mazda’s number for this recall is 4721B.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
Additionally, LTR has learned that Mazda has filed a defect notification with NHTSA for a safety defect, which exists in MY2004-2007 Mazda3 vehicles. In the event of a crash that causes the driver frontal air bag to deploy, the plastic Mazda logo on the steering wheel air bag module cover may shatter and project fragments into the vehicle interior.
Due to an improper material specification, the plastic logo may become brittle over time. In this condition, the logo may shatter during a normal air bag.
deployment. Plastic fragments of the shattered logo may hit occupants during an air bag deployment in a crash, increasing the possibility of serious injury to occupants. There is no prior warning for this defect.
Approximately 260,915 MY2004-2007 Mazda3 vehicles are affected.
NoticiasComments Off on Pedregon Scores Thirty-Seventh Funny Car Victory
Latino Traffic Report has learned that the first victory of the 2021 NHRA season for a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was earned from the No.10 spot on the eliminations ladder by two-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car World Champion Cruz Pedregon who powered his Pedregon Racing Snap-On Tools machine to the national event win at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals near Norwalk, Ohio. It was the thirty-seventh career Funny Car win for Pedregon who’s last victory came in 2018 at Charlotte Four-wide Nationals.
“We have been prepping for a winning season, putting in so many hours and there’s nothing quite as rewarding as coming out on top and holding up that trophy at the end of a race weekend,” said Pedregon. “What a great job John (Collins), Rip (Reynolds), and the team did to get us ready for this race. What a real triumph for us all, especially after the 2020 season. We really appreciate our sponsors and great fans for sticking with us and giving us the additional boost of confidence we needed. That support is what makes it all possible.”
Pedregon’s performance aboard his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat consistently improved with every run throughout the weekend at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. After earning a tenth place seeding for eliminations, he went on to collect round wins over Tim Wilkerson, Robert Hight and Alexis DeJoria to advance to his first final round appearance of the year to face category points leader, Bob Tasca III. Following a holeshot semifinal win over DeJoria and the second rain delay of the day, Pedregon came ready for his final faceoff and used a 0.053-second reaction time to give his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat another holeshot advantage off the start and power to a 3.958 sec/324.75 mph pass over Tasca’s (0.100 sec.) 3.913/332.02 effort to earn the coveted Wally trophy and the treasured ice cream scoop trophy that the Bader family offers the winners at their dragstrip.
“(Winning) is not why I drag race, but this’ll keep me drag racing,” shared Pedregon. “It’s a good team and I felt like I was kind of holding my team back a little, but I dug deep. You work your way into winning again and these guys taught me to get back into that winning. It feels good to be back at it. This win means that I’m as good as the car, and I know I have a good car, so I think I can be there for the car as well and win more races.”
Competition may not be the mother of invention, but it’s certainly related. In the escalating crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) market, carmakers have had to get creative when trying to compete. Hyundai opted to approach the challenge from a value perspective when introducing yet another crossover, the Venue, to its lineup. Latino Traffic Report recently got to drive the thrifty little SUV, specifically, the Venue SEL, and while it may be cheapest SUV offered, Hyundai’s certainly not giving it away.
To hold their own, crossovers need to offer what car buyers want, utility combined with the performance of a sedan. Introduced in 2020, the Venue certainly checks this box offering a 60/40 split second-row seat that deploys easily to expose 31.9 cu. ft. of cargo room. Despite being Hyundai’s smallest SUV, its interior as a whole felt roomy, the seats were a striking black and white two-tone and there were creative cubbies for storage like the one pictured (right) under the dash. The ride, however, was a bit bumpy.
For added convenience, a rearview camera, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with cruise and cruise control, cruise control though not adaptive, remote keyless entry and forward collision avoidance are standard. Initially, getting more comforting technology, like a blind spot monitor, required the Convenience Package but for 2021, it’s now standard on SEL and Denim trim levels. The test model also added a sunroof and leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, as well as the Premium package ($1,750 ) that brought heated fronts seats, LED headlights and taillights, and an eight-inch navigation touchscreen, among other features.
A 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 121 horsepower and 113 ft.-lbs. of torque powers the Venue, matched to a continuously variable transmission. Compact SUVs should also try to be fuel-efficient. The Venue has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 33 on the highway. It averaged 33.8 on the test drive. The test model included Snow, and Drive modes to improve performance but oddly, not an Eco mode to improve fuel efficiency.
Available in three trim levels, S, SEL, and Denim, pricing for the 2021 Venue starts at $19,870. The as-tested price came to $23,405.
Si: As advertised, the Venue offers utility and value in the compact crossover segment.
No: While adding a blind spot monitor as standard equipment on SEL and Denim was a good move, the base model is excluded. Consumers should at least have the chance to purchase this technology.
Nissan, ReviewsComments Off on Full-Size SUV Review: 2021 Nissan Armada
By Andy Stonehouse
What might be considered the “regular” version of its luxurious, mechanically-similar cousin, the Infiniti QX80, the all-new 2021 Nissan Armada is anything but. In many ways, it’s a more practical and more enjoyable rendition of the shared, 400-horsepower, eight-passenger package.
Admittedly, the 4×4 Platinum trim level of the Armada I drove did check in at a total price of $71,250—considerably higher than the $48,600 base model that’s out there—making it a little more Infiniti-esque than initially planned.
But I still liked it more than a QX80 I drove just a few months earlier. Maybe that’s because with just a little less gloss—or, maybe just a whole lot of its own kind of gloss—the Armada Platinum was a lot more fun and stable to drive, even with gargantuan 22-inch wheels as its standard issue.
Redesigned for 2021, the Armada now features a moderately overwhelming central stack of infotainment and other controls, but it’s still more manageable and user-friendly than Infiniti. I even had a pair of behind-the-front-headrests video screens as part of this model’s seven-passenger layout: two large captain’s chairs with a massive console between them, each of them flipping and flopping out of the way to gain access to what was a reasonably sizeable third row that slides up and out of the floor when needed. Those third-row seats actually move back quite a bit in the process, revealing decent foot room.
The biggest news is a largely redesigned exterior. The new ultra-bright LED headlamps and tail lights and a standard 12.3-inch color infotainment display way up on top of that center stack were most impressive. The vehicle’s hood still came up to my neck, i.e. small it is not, in any way. The Armada is 208.9 inches overall, 79.9 inches wide and 75.8 inches high, maybe even taller on those big 22s.
The 5.6-liter V-8 and a seven-speed transmission help cart around the 6,037 pounds of metal my top-end model weighed; that power, plus 413 lb.–ft. of torque, means it’s good to haul up to 8,500 pounds of trailer, with trailer brake controls built into the bottom of the console.
You will not find that power insufficient, or the engine particularly meek in its exhaust note. This is old-school muscle at work, and I got a passable 16.9 combined MPG during high-altitude drives in the mountains. It’s rated at 14 MPG city and 19 highway, which is about as old-school as they come, nowadays.
Armada’s raw bigness certainly presents itself when parking and maneuvering, like a piece of industrial equipment. I had to remember to turn the wheel an extra crank to center myself in lane when taking corners in town. But parking was actually better than in other fuller-than-full-sized SUVs, with backing cameras and some very noisy proximity alarms that made it pretty simple.
Armada’s rendition of an Infiniti-worthy leathery, glossy interior is quite tasteful, with large, quilted leather seating, draped leather on the doors and some nice glossy wood highlights, including bits that curve from the doors into the dash.
Sí: With the exception of its glossiest models, the Armada represents an affordable option to the tony Infiniti QX80, with all of the size, power and stance. Think Yukon Denali vs. Escalade.
No: The bigness is just plain old big, making parking an issue and resulting in 1990s-styled gas mileage. Get a stepladder if you want to load anything onto the roof.
Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Golden, Colorado.All photos are stock, not as-tested.