While that price increase would have been enough for the Nissan Armada to maintain its position as America’s least costly body-on-frame, full-size SUV, the sudden appearance of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom has altered the playing field.
Competitors, not just Nissan but Toyota and Ford as well, didn’t need to give the class-leading Chevrolet even more capacity to dominate the category. But now the best seller is also the bargain of the bunch, and by a noticeable margin.
Through the first seven months of 2017, Chevrolet Tahoe sales had risen less than one half of one percent in a category that was up 7 percent. Despite limited growth, however, the Tahoe and its GM cohorts (the long-wheelbase Suburban and Tahoe/Suburban twins from GMC) own 67 percent of the segment so far this year.
Granted, that’s down from 72 percent a year ago. Where did that chunk of GM full-size SUV market share go?
To the Nissan Armada, no longer an SUVified Nissan Titan but an Americanized Nissan Patrol. Armada sales nearly tripled to 16,632 units so far this year. That’s still a low total by the standards of GM and Ford competition, but enough to almost certainly make 2017 the best year for U.S. Armada sales in a decade.
GMC Yukon XL
Part of the Armada’s marketing advantage for the 2017 model year was a comparatively low MSRP. The 2017 Armada’s $46,095 SV 2WD sticker represented a $2,415 savings, at least before ample discounts are applied, compared with the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 2WD.
But accompanying the Armada’s $700 price increase is a $3,750 price chop of the base Tahoe, now referred to as the Tahoe Custom. The 2017 Toyota Sequoia, meanwhile, stickers from $49,595. Ford’s new 2018 Expedition, excluding the fleet-only XL, starts at $52,890. GMC hasn’t yet released 2018 Yukon pricing, but it’s expected to continue to hover around the $50K mark.
Four-wheel drive is a $2,900 option on the 2018 Nissan Armada, though rear-wheel drive is standard on all three trim levels. Armada SLs start at $51,545. The Armada Platinum 4WD tops out at $62,785 before any options are added. All Armadas now include NissanConnect Services; the Armada Platinum now includes a Cadillac-like Intelligent Rear View Mirror with a rear-mounted camera projecting images onto an LCD monitor in the rearview mirror.
[Images: Nissan, General Motors]