In a segment of large utility vehicles, the Nissan Armada stands shoulder to shoulder with the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Ford Expedition. It is one of a handful of truck-based SUVs available, but its ride is unusually comfortable. With four-wheel drive, the Armada is suitable for off-roading, although its size will limit its ability on some trails.
The Nissan Armada is a full-size sport utility vehicle with room for seven or eight. Available in four trims, this model costs from $52,900 to $65,300, plus a $1,495 freight charge. All models come with standard rear-wheel drive or for an additional $3,000 they can be upgraded to four-wheel drive. A powerful V8 engine is under the hood.
Refreshed for 2021, the current Armada features an updated grille, new bumpers, and reworked exterior lights. Inside, an all-new touchscreen punctuates the restyled center console.
The Nissan Armada advances a design atypical of its class. A big grille, massive hood, upright roof pillars, and a high beltline give this model a formidable appearance. Along with its competitors, the silhouettes are more alike than different, but Nissan manages to put its stamp on the Armada with expressive headlights, chrome ornamentation, and bumper styling.
Inside, the Armada is as cavernous as they come. The third-row seat doesn’t have the maneuvering room of the two other rows, but when swapping out the middle row bench seat for the much more comfortable captain’s chairs, it is much more tolerable. If you can manage with seven passengers, then go with the chairs.
If you are a big individual, perhaps a former linebacker, the front seats will please you. Wide and comfortable, they seem specially designed for the tallest amongst us. Ample back support, thick cushions, and designed just long enough for enhanced thigh support, are among its chief appeals. Cloth seats are standard on the S trim, imitation leather comes with the SV, while the SL and Platinum trims benefit from thickly padded leathers.
Storage space measures 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 49.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 95.4 cubic feet behind the first row. The load floor is high, perhaps too high for some. Certain trims offer a power liftgate and a power-folding third-row seat.
Safety and Technology
Mass is an important factor in vehicle safety, thus the Armada’s sheer size helps supply additional protection for passengers. Crash test results are pending.
Nissan includes the important safety tech on all trims. Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and parking sensors come standard. A surround-view camera system is optional.
The four- and six-speaker audio systems found in the S and SV trims respectively seem disappointing. But the 13-speaker Bose audio system in the SL trim makes up for these deficiencies. The new 12.3-inch touch-screen display is a significant improvement over the previous one, both for its size and functionality. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, HD Radio, a WiFi hotspot, and USB ports are included.
Nissan Armada Performance
Nissan utilizes a tried-and-true formula to motivate the Armada. Take one 5.6-liter V8 engine and pair it with a seven-speed automatic transmission to route power to the wheels. It’s a strong combination with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque at your disposal. But keep in mind that premium fuel is required to achieve the top numbers. Otherwise, regular fuel gets it done but with less power on tap. The Armada is useful for towing with its 8,500-pound trailering capacity.
Close your eyes (not when you’re driving, of course) and the Armada’s engine hearkens to an era where big Detroit iron ruled. Upon ignition, it announces its presence with a roar, then emits a strong rumble when idle. That power imbues confidence in the vehicle, although it also serves as a reminder that averaging 15 mpg is par for the course.
Moving nearly three tons of sheet metal takes effort. Fortunately, the burly V8 is up to the task. The transmission has up to three fewer cogs than competing models, but it works smoothly.
Like other big SUVs, the Armada can feel clumsy on twisty roads as body roll kicks in. On highways, though, this Nissan excels, as it thunders down entrance ramps and quickly reaches speed. Weighted steering provides heft and the ride is especially comfortable with the available 20-inch wheels.
If you’re pulling a boat or a trailer, most trims come with an integrated trailer brake controller that manages the trailer’s brakes from inside the vehicle. On the two top trims, trailer sway damping automatically adjust the vehicle’s brakes if the trailer begins to sway. Consider these features if you regularly pull a boat or trailer with recreational toys.
Shop the Armada and you’re probably considering it for its large passenger capacity and storage capabilities. If you’re towing, the SL trim includes the two trailering enhancements. Opt for four-wheel drive and your cost here is right around $57,000 before discounts and that’s within the range of competing models.
See Also — Nissan Qashqai SUV Review
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