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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've spent days on the Armada forum and looking at older model Armadas (2013-2015) online for sale. What I've discovered is that without a factory-installed tow package the Armada can only tow 6,500 lbs. It's very difficult to determine if the hitch that is sticking out the back of the car is actually factory installed. (The used Armadas are not at Nissan dealers). Armadas 2017+ all have 8200 tow capacity.

We don't have a trailer yet, but want to buy one later this summer with a dry weight of about 3500 lbs, hitch weight 460 lbs. We've never towed anything before and don't want a white-knuckle towing experience.

So now I'm wondering how to compare these based on our future trailer needs and the fact we want to travel throughout the west with the rig:

Pre-certified 2017+ Pathfinder with 6000 lbs tow capacity (no factory hitch) $22k

Not pre-certificed 2017 Pathfinder (no hitch) $15k

Non-certified 2014 Armada 6500 lbs (no factory hitch) $16k

Non-certified 2017 Armada 8200 tow capacity (no factory hitch) $25k

What are your thoughts?
 

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2015 Pathfinder SL - Tech 4WD
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Welcome to the forum.

The Armada and the 2013+ Pathfinder are completely two different vehicles so you can't just go by towing capacity.
Both are fully capable of towing that trailer but also keep in mind that you might end buying something different that what you are planning.
I do not know much about the Armada but have heard is a gas guzzler, now, you are considering vehicles between $15 and 25k which is a pretty flexible budget. I suggest you go and test drive both and then see what you like.
So, why are you only considering these vehicles? Are you a Nissan fan?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the forum.

The Armada and the 2013+ Pathfinder are completely two different vehicles so you can't just go by towing capacity.
Both are fully capable of towing that trailer but also keep in mind that you might end buying something different that what you are planning.
I do not know much about the Armada but have heard is a gas guzzler, now, you are considering vehicles between $15 and 25k which is a pretty flexible budget. I suggest you go and test drive both and then see what you like.
So, why are you only considering these vehicles? Are you a Nissan fan?
Our search started with a call to our mechanic who said stay away from U.S. auto companies for SUVs. He said he's as patriotic as can be but for SUVs, foreign companies are better. We asked him about the Armada and he said it's built like a tank and we should have no problems. There aren't many used Armadas around here and the ones offered are at non-Nissan dealers and it's been almost impossible to verify if a unit's hitch is truly factory installed, which greatly changes the towing capacity. We currently drive a hybrid sedan so going to an Armada is a huge mental leap (in the wrong direction). So when I discovered that pre-2017 Armadas only tow 6500, I started looking more at 2017+ Pathfinders. There are tons of Pathfinders on lots around here. We test drove a 2015 Armada and it's fine. We haven't tried out a Pathfinder yet--probably tonight.

We don't want a big trailer because we like staying in smaller campgrounds and their are length limits. We just need an island bed (walk around) and bathroom so there are a lot of small trailers that fit those needs. The new car will be our main car but we don't drive nearly as much now as when we purchased our hybrid.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
FYI--we just purchased a used 2018 Pathfinder. We will be doing some big car camping trips this summer and hopefully get a travel trailer next year.
 

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2013 Pathfinder SL, Connecticut, USA
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Well, congrats on your purchase and welcome to the club! I guess you bought something outside of the choices you presented above and you never said whether or not it has a trailer hitch installed?

At any rate, you should be able to pull a 3500 lb. trailer easily. Since you only will be camping a smaller percentage of the time, the Pathfinder was the wiser, more economical choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On the Armadas we could never determine for certain if there was a factory-installed hitch even when using VIN decoders--none of them listed tow package. So in that case, the Armada only pulls 6500 prior to 2017. So that's when we changed to looking at 2017+ Pathfinders that tow 6000. It was a huge price difference between the 2017+ Armadas vs. Pathfinders. We purchased the 2018 Pathfinder SV 42k for $19,400. We have to add the hitch, etc. for approx. $500-600. We are happy...so far anyway.
 

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non factory receivers stick out lower the factory ones have a clean look that blends it into the bumper.
15455
also, the 7 pin connector placement, non factory ones do not even have that. this one is $285 on ebay OEM comes with all wiring as well, I've installed an OEM hitch on a 2012 frontier before its as easy as pie just follow torque specs and your good they are not as heavy as you think.
 

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On the Armadas we could never determine for certain if there was a factory-installed hitch even when using VIN decoders--none of them listed tow package. So in that case, the Armada only pulls 6500 prior to 2017. So that's when we changed to looking at 2017+ Pathfinders that tow 6000. It was a huge price difference between the 2017+ Armadas vs. Pathfinders. We purchased the 2018 Pathfinder SV 42k for $19,400. We have to add the hitch, etc. for approx. $500-600. We are happy...so far anyway.
$500+ is outrageous, just DIY its not as hard as you think. no special tools or cutting, straight from Nissan.
 

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I've spent days on the Armada forum and looking at older model Armadas (2013-2015) online for sale. What I've discovered is that without a factory-installed tow package the Armada can only tow 6,500 lbs. It's very difficult to determine if the hitch that is sticking out the back of the car is actually factory installed. (The used Armadas are not at Nissan dealers). Armadas 2017+ all have 8200 tow capacity.

We don't have a trailer yet, but want to buy one later this summer with a dry weight of about 3500 lbs, hitch weight 460 lbs. We've never towed anything before and don't want a white-knuckle towing experience.

So now I'm wondering how to compare these based on our future trailer needs and the fact we want to travel throughout the west with the rig:

Pre-certified 2017+ Pathfinder with 6000 lbs tow capacity (no factory hitch) $22k

Not pre-certificed 2017 Pathfinder (no hitch) $15k

Non-certified 2014 Armada 6500 lbs (no factory hitch) $16k

Non-certified 2017 Armada 8200 tow capacity (no factory hitch) $25k

What are your thoughts?
I just purchased a 2020 Pathfinder. I was looking at the Armada, but it was a lot more. I bought my TT, dry weight 3700, fully loaded 4700. I am sorry I did not get the Armada...Too late now, but I'm just letting you know. Good luck
 

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You can get a hitch for the Pathfinder pretty easily from Etrailer.com. They also have videos on how to install it and the 7 pin wiring harness which is plug and play. The only special tool you'll need is a torque wrench to get the bolts fastened to the correct tightness on the hitch so as not to void any warranty. I think places like autozone might let you rent one. You do need to take off the tow hook on the pathfinder, but that's easy. Finally, you need to cut a small piece off the corner off a piece of plastic on the under side of your PF to get the hitch to fit properly. I'm not especially mechanically inclined, and my 12 year old son and I were able to install the hitch and wiring harness fairly easily. You might also want to consider getting a brake controller depending on what kind of terrain you'll be towing in and if your trailer has brakes. Good luck!
 

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You can get a hitch for the Pathfinder pretty easily from Etrailer.com. They also have videos on how to install it and the 7 pin wiring harness which is plug and play. The only special tool you'll need is a torque wrench to get the bolts fastened to the correct tightness on the hitch so as not to void any warranty. I think places like autozone might let you rent one. You do need to take off the tow hook on the pathfinder, but that's easy. Finally, you need to cut a small piece off the corner off a piece of plastic on the under side of your PF to get the hitch to fit properly. I'm not especially mechanically inclined, and my 12 year old son and I were able to install the hitch and wiring harness fairly easily. You might also want to consider getting a brake controller depending on what kind of terrain you'll be towing in and if your trailer has brakes. Good luck!
I would get the OEM hitch, the wiring is literally plug and play. There will be a capped connector that is unused, just connect that and follow the instructions for the location of the relays, no cutting or drilling necessary. The OEM hitch is less likely to scrape on dips and ruts, but I have some serious suspension mod on mine with a factory hitch, small trailers I tow point up because of my suspension, a drop hitch can solve that problem but I don't tow that often, I have towed 5000 with this, it will pull just don't expect it to be fast lol, the tow mode helps with braking and alters the downshift timing I believe as well. Brake controller and sway control systems are encouraged for anything over 3000 on this vehicle especially if you have stock suspension.
 
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