As Nissan’s largest SUV, the 2019 Nissan Armada stands apart from the company’s other offerings, which lean toward the smaller, more fuel-efficient variety. However, Nissan understands that sometimes frugality takes a back seat to growing families with large towing demands, and the 8-passenger, 3-row Nissan Armada is here to serve. Loaded with Nissan’s latest innovative technologies, the Armada also happens to be quite capable, with a lower base price than the Chevrolet Tahoe, more horsepower than the Toyota Sequoia and a more upscale interior than the latest Ford Expedition.
Compared to the first generation, the current Armada is a bit smaller, more maneuverable and far less trucklike. Nissan took the opportunity to not only redesign but actually re-engineer the Armada from its platform up. It wasn’t exactly a clean-sheet-of-paper undertaking, however, as the 2019 Armada is based on the popular Nissan Patrol SUV that’s sold in numerous markets outside the U.S. and Canada.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, all Armadas now come standard with Rear Door Alert (reminds the driver to check the rear seat before exiting the vehicle), adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and Intelligent Forward-Collision Warning (can see two cars ahead).
What We Like
Rugged yet refined; quiet interior; upscale interior appointments; powerful V8; 8,500-lb tow rating; less expensive than the competition
What We Don’t
Less third-row space and cargo room than the Chevrolet Suburban; second-row side-impact airbags should at least be available as an option; poor fuel economy; only way to get more than one USB outlet is to upgrade to Platinum trim; no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
The Armada is powered by the same 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 found in the Infiniti QX80. This engine is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission that distributes engine output to either the rear or all four wheels.
Standard Features & Options
The Armada follows Nissan’s established grade structure, offering SV, SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve trim levels.
The SV ($48,185, RWD), ($51,185, AWD) includes heated front bucket seats, a fold-flat third-row seat, push-button ignition, four 12-volt power points, dual-zone auto climate control, a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-in touchscreen, a navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose audio system. Available options include a power liftgate, a power-folding third-row seat, fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and remote keyless entry. Standard driver assists include automatic emergency braking, Intelligent Forward-Collision Warning, adaptive cruise control and Rear Door Alert. An optional Driver Package adds fog lights, a power rear liftgate, power folding 3rd-row seat and trailer prep wiring.
The SL ($52,985, RWD), ($55,985, AWD) comes right out of the box with all of the SV’s standard and optional equipment and adds leather seating, front and rear parking sensors, remote start, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, heated outboard mirrors and 360-degree around-view cameras with moving-object detection. Available options are bundled into the Premium Package and include a power moonroof, Nissan’s Distance Control Assist, a blind spot monitoring system and a backup-collision intervention system dubbed Intelligent Back-up Intervention.
The Platinum ($61,085, RWD), ($65,085 AWD) includes all of the SL’s features and options plus heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, I-RVM rearview monitor/mirror, a front-wiper deicer, leather door trim, blind spot intervention, lane-departure warning and intervention and a rear-seat family entertainment system with dual 7-in headrest monitors, two wireless headphones and a DVD player. The only available option is second-row captain’s chairs, reducing total seating from eight to seven.
The Platinum Reserve ($64,085, RWD), ($68,085 AWD) adds dark chrome trim, 20-in dark chrome wheels, two-tone leather-appointed seats plus Black Quartz and premium wood interior trim.
Every 2019 Armada now comes standard with forward emergency braking, forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. The Rear Door Alert reminds driver’s to check the rear seat if the system detects that the rear doors were opened prior to driving, but not again at the end of the trip. Other standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control plus front, front side-impact and side curtain airbags.
In government crash tests, the Armada scored 4 out of 5 stars, with only 3 stars in the front-end crash test, 5 stars in the side-impact test and 3 stars in the rollover test. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet crash-tested the 2019 Nissan Armada.
Behind the Wheel
Don’t be fooled by all our talk of refinement, which primarily refers to passenger convenience and comfort. The Armada is still a big, rugged, body-on-frame SUV. Although basing it on the Patrol rather than the Titan has improved the Armada’s ride quality and somewhat tamed its driving characteristics, it’s still a brute when it comes to capability. This is particularly true when off-roading with AWD versions. Plus, the Armada doesn’t feel as trucky as the Tahoe.
Compared to the first-generation Armada, Nissan incorporated a 20-percent increase in twisted body stiffness, which improves both handling and ride comfort. By adding acoustic glass to the windshield and front-side windows and beefing up the amount of sound insulation around the passenger space, the designers have reduced noise levels to those of a large sedan.
In spite of its mammoth proportions, this SUV is easy to maneuver. The steering is responsive, and the brakes are firm. We wouldn’t want to have to parallel park it on a daily basis, but the Armada drives smaller than it looks.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Chevrolet Tahoe — The Tahoe feels more trucklike than the Armada, but it can also tow slightly more weight. Seating up to nine, its pleasing interior is functional and roomy, and it offers a Wi-Fi hot spot.
2019 Toyota Sequoia — Toyota’s big SUV isn’t in the same league as the Armada, the Expedition and the Tahoe when it comes to towing capability, but for a big SUV, the Sequoia’s ride is hard to beat. In fact, passenger space and comfort are its best attributes.
2019 Ford Expedition — If towing is your main reason for owning a full-size SUV, look no further: The Expedition can pull up to 9,200 pounds. There’s plenty of interior and cargo room, too. And because it’s powered by a twin-turbocharged V6, fuel economy is extremely good for this segment.
Used Land Rover Range Rover — A 2014-2017 Land Rover Range Rover offers luxury, power and capability plus a more engaging driver experience and impressive off-road abilities.
Delivering the best of both worlds in terms of price and equipment, the SL is your best bet. You can still opt in for most of the safety and driver-assistance technologies if you want them, but for just under $53,000, the SL trim gets you most of the luxury appointments.