The Flex Fuel 2010 Nissan Armada Not Available Everywhere

Published: 23rd April 2010
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The Armada, Nissan's full-size SUV, returns for 2010 with no changes to its standard V8 engine.

The Armada's 5.6-liter, 32-valve DOHC engine is known as the VK56DE. Based on the layout of Nissan's VQ-series V6, it is a 90-degree V8 with an aluminum block and heads, iron cylinder liners, forged steel connecting rods, and molybdenum-coated pistons to reduce internal friction. It uses Nissan's Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) on the intake valves, with a variable intake manifold to improve low-end torque. Designed specifically for truck and SUV use, the VK56DE engine is shared by the Nissan Pathfinder, Titan, and Infiniti QX56. In the Armada, it produces 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque.

When the Armada debuted in 2004, its 5.6-liter V8 was the most powerful engine in its class, and it gives the Armada strong acceleration and passing power. Rivals like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia now offer similar power, but the Armada still has class-leading towing capacity of up to 9,100 pounds. The VK56DE engine is smooth, but never entirely quiet. Some critics like its burbling exhaust note and throaty roar, but others find it too noisy.

Predictably, the big V8 is thirsty, even by full-size SUV standards. EPA estimated fuel economy is only 12/18 city/highway, which reviewers say is optimistic. Unlike the more highly tuned version of this engine in the Infiniti QX56, the Armada uses regular fuel.

In certain Midwestern, Southern, and Southeastern markets, Nissan offers a flexible-fuel version of this engine, capable of running on either gasoline or alternative fuels like E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. According to the EPA, using E85 reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 23%, but makes the 5.6-liter engine thirstier than ever. EPA fuel economy estimates on E85 are a dismal 9/13.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at He writes about Nissan Armada Engine and other industry specific topics.

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