It seems many drivers out there don’t really take advantage of the utility part of their sport utility vehicles. The reality is these machines are not built simply for running about town. Look at the Nissan Armada, packing a 5.6-liter V8 and seating for seven or eight, this SUV can trailer a total of 8,500 pounds. Slightly more impressive on the performance side of things is the Ford Expedition, which utilizing an efficient twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, can tow a maximum of 9,300 pounds, bettering all competition. See below.
Nissan’s flagship Armada got a makeover for the 2017 model year growing slightly in size (2.1 inches longer and 0.6 inches wider), adopting a bolder version of the brand’s signature V-motion grille, outfitted with standard LED headlights, and gaining a pair of functional air intake vents on the front fenders. Unlike many other modern offerings, the vehicle retains a practical body-on-frame design (rather than unibody) for improved durability and ruggedness.
Output comes way of a fresh “Endurance” eight-cylinder engine, rated at 390 horsepower, up from the previous 317, and 394 lb-ft of torque. Direct Injection Gas technology helps achieve 16 miles per gallon in combined city and highway use. Mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission which replaces the outgoing five-speed, the powertrain is capable of towing an impressive 8,500 pounds in both four-wheel and two-wheel drive trim.
The Chevy Tahoe indeed encourages owners to “Find New Roads,” the full-size SUV is built for comfort, convenience, and the ability to go nearly anywhere. Available powered front seats are 10 way adjustable for optimum support, and the second and third row seating folds flat to enhance storage space. A connectivity package may be equipped that includes 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, OnStar real-time concierge services, and multiple USB ports.
Under the hood is an Ecotec 5.3-liter V8 mill delivering 355 horsepower, 383 lb-ft of torque, and thanks also to less drag, a more efficient exhaust system and cylinder deactivation, and 16 MPG in the city and 23 on the highway (two-wheel drive variants). The Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic gearbox features a few extra settings to help with towing — up to 8,600 pounds — such as a special tow haul mode and auto grade braking on declines.
All new for 2017, the Expedition not only looks gorgeous with its mesh alloy grille, chrome mirror caps, and accenting and aerodynamic shape, but is the most capable as well. Getting a family boat from the cottage to the lake is no problem due to the aforementioned 9,300-pound towing capacity and Ford’s proprietary Pro Trailer Backup Assist. Instead of playing the guessing game using the steering wheel, the operator can guide the trailer via a control knob.
Rotating the knob tells the computer how much to turn the trailer, and then the Expedition autonomously steers to achieve the desired result. In addition to this cutting edge tech, the SUV boasts wireless smart phone charging, optional dual-headrest rear screens and 12-speaker B&O Play stereo, SYNC 3 infotainment system, and a unique adjustable shelf behind the third row to customize cargo carrying needs.