As Nissan‘s largest SUV, the 2020 Nissan Armada stands apart from the company’s smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs. 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 features and packing a big V8 engine under its hood, 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 Armada, the current model is a bit smaller, more maneuverable and far less trucklike. Nissan reengineered the Armada from its platform up. It wasn’t exactly a clean-sheet undertaking, however — the Armada is essentially a renamed version of the Nissan Patrol that’s popular in markets like the Middle East and Australia.
What’s New for 2020?
The Armada carries over for 2020 pretty much unchanged, save for the addition of standard heated side-view mirrors and a new 22-in wheel package. See the 2020 Nissan Armada models for sale near you
What We Like
- Rugged yet refined
- Quiet cabin
- Upscale interior appointments
- Powerful V8 engine
- 8,500-lb tow rating
- Less expensive than the competition
What We Don’t
- Aging platform and cabin design
- No second-row side-impact airbags
- Poor fuel economy
- Only one USB outlet on lower-tier trims
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
The Armada is powered by the same 390-hp 5.6-liter V8 found in the mechanically identical Infiniti QX80. This engine is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission that sends power to either the rear or all four wheels via the optional all-wheel drive.
The Environmental Protection Agency-rated fuel economy for rear-wheel-drive Armadas is 14 miles per gallon in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in combined driving. Those figures drop by one — 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined — on all-wheel-drive versions.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Nissan Armada follows Nissan’s established four-tier trim structure.
The SV ($48,495 RWD, $51,495 AWD) has heated front seats, a fold-flat third-row seat, a push-button ignition, four 12-volt power points, automatic dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-in touchscreen, a navigation system, a 13-speaker Bose audio system and, new in 2020, standard heated side-view mirrors. 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-assistance features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and rear door alert, which lets you know if you’ve forgotten about precious cargo in the back seat. An optional Driver Package adds the fog lights, the power liftgate, the power folding third row and trailer prep wiring.
The SL ($53,295 RWD, $56,295 AWD) adds to the SV’s standard and optional equipment leather seating, front and rear parking sensors, remote start, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and a 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.
The Platinum ($61,925 RWD, $64,925 AWD) includes all of the SL’s features and options plus heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, an I-RVM intelligent rearview mirror, a front-wiper deicer, leather door trim, Intelligent 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, which cuts total seating from eight to seven.
The Platinum Reserve ($65,925 RWD, $69,425 AWD) trim adds a dark chrome exterior trim, 20-in dark chrome wheels, two-tone leather-appointed seats and a Black Quartz and premium wood interior trim.
The Armada comes standard with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. A rear door alert system reminds drivers 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. (It’s intended to keep parents and guardians from forgetting about sleeping children in the back seat.) Other standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control plus front, front-side-impact and side-curtain airbags.
In crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Armada scored 3 stars in the front-end crash test, 5 stars in the side-impact test and 3 stars in the rollover test for an overall 4-star rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash-tested the current-generation Nissan Armada.
Behind the Wheel
When we use the word “refined” when we talk about the Armada, we’re primarily talking about passenger convenience and comfort. The Armada is still a big, rugged, body-on-frame SUV. That Nissan’s based the Armada on the Patrol — and not the Titan, which underpinned the previous-generation Armada — has improved the Armada’s ride quality and somewhat tamed its driving experience. But it’s still a brute when it comes to road manners, as is the case with most large, trucklike SUVs. The trade-off here is increased off-road capability — while the Armada is no Jeep Wrangler, it’ll tackle trails a lot more confidently than a Pathfinder would.
Nissan increased twisted body stiffness by 20 percent in the second-gen Armada, and this improved 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, Nissan engineers have reduced noise levels to those of a large sedan.
In spite of its mammoth proportions, the Armada is easy to maneuver. The steering is responsive, and the brakes are firm. We wouldn’t want to have to parallel park it every day, but the Armada drives smaller than it looks.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Ford Expedition — The new Expedition arguably sets the standard in the full-size SUV segment, offering a powerful and efficient powertrain, modern design elements and class-leading towing capacity. There’s plenty of interior and cargo room, too. Our advice: Start your search with the Expedition.
2020 Chevrolet Tahoe — The Tahoe feels more like a truck than the Armada does, and it can tow a little more. Its pleasing interior, which seats up to nine, is functional and roomy, and like the rest of the segment, it offers a much more modern infotainment setup than the Armada’s.
2020 Infiniti QX80 — The QX80 is virtually identical to the Armada underneath its more dramatic styling and more luxurious interior appointments. The two vehicles share most major components — it isn’t a stretch to call the QX80 a rebadged Armada. The QX80 comes with more prestige, but also a much higher price tag.
2020 Toyota Sequoia — The Sequoia is getting pretty old — it’s now in its 13th year since its last major redesign. While it lags behind the Expedition, the Tahoe and other segment leaders in modernity and efficiency, it’s that renowned Toyota reliability that keeps the Sequoia competitive. Its powertrain is similar to the Armada’s, but the Sequoia comes in a wider variety of trim levels and gains Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for 2020, neither of which the Armada offers.
Used 200 Series Toyota Land Cruiser — Overseas, the Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol are big competitors. Each offers capability and durability and are relied upon for heavy-duty applications in Australia and the Middle East. The Land Cruiser is more highly regarded than the Patrol, but it’s also more expensive.
Given its age and lack of overall efficiency — not to mention its dated infotainment setup, which lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — the main thing that differentiates the Armada from the competition is its price. Segment favorites like the Expedition, the Chevy Tahoe, the Chevy Suburban and the GMC Yukon surpass it in most areas, but buyers should be able to find a better deal on a new Armada than on any of those SUVs, and that levels the playing field.
If you’re put off by the mainstream nature and possible unreliability of the big American SUVs, you’ll likely appreciate the niche status and general reliability of the Armada. We generally recommend considering a middle-of-the-pack trim level, which in the Armada’s case would be the SL model. But if it’s luxury features you’re after, look toward the Platinum — or just head to your Infiniti dealer and pick up a QX80. Find a Nissan Armada for sale