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2021 Nissan Armada vs. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe: Which Is Better?

If you’re in the market for a big SUV, the 2021 Nissan Armada or the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe are both great options, but which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The 2021 Nissan Armada offers lux interiors and a tremendous 8,500-pound towing capacity.
  • The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is all-new for this model year and comes with plenty of upgraded amenities like an independent rear suspension and seating for up to nine passengers.

2021 Nissan Armada

2021 Nissan Armada Front Right Side in Red

Base price: $48,500 / Read our 2021 Armada Review

What we like: Powerful V8 engine; modern infotainment; traditional body-on-frame construction; upscale interior

What we would change: Aging design; no second-row side-impact airbags; terrible fuel economy

Overview: The 2021 Nissan Armada is the company’s largest SUV and is one of just a handful of full-size, body-on-frame sport utility vehicles on the market.  While the first-generation Armada was based on the Titan pickup, the second-generation model is an Americanized version of the Nissan Patrol, a Toyota Land Cruiser-like vehicle that’s been on sale in its current generation in other parts of the world since 2010.  The Patrol made its debut here in the US as the second-gen Armada for the 2017 model year, but has been offered here as the Infiniti QX56/QX80 since 2011.

The Armada packs a V8 engine, room for eight, ample towing capacity, and an available four-wheel-drive system with traditional low-range gearing.  While the QX80 technically serves as the Armada’s luxury alternative, the Armada itself boasts a semi-premium cabin with upscale appointments.  It’s also been updated for 2021.

What’s new for 2021: The Armada gets a facelift for 2021.  The front and rear fascias have been redesigned and incorporate new lighting; there’s a new standard 12.3-in infotainment system with Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay. There’s a new 7.0-in gauge cluster display and a newly available integrated trailer brake controller too.  A new Midnight Edition package with black exterior and interior bits and a new color, Coulis Red Pearl, join as well.  It’s also the first vehicle in Nissan’s lineup to wear the company’s new logo.  Finally, Nissan has also re-rated the Armada’s 5.6-liter V8 engine and now quotes it at 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft, up from 390 and 394.

Features and technology: The 2021 Nissan Armada follows Nissan’s established four-tier trim structure, starting out with a base-level S trim, which will join the ranks at a later date, and topping out with the near-luxury Platinum model.

The Armada S comes in RWD or AWD versions.  Standard equipment includes a 5.7-liter V8 engine, a bevy of active safety technology, and a 12.3-in infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The SV has heated front seats, a fold-flat third-row seat, a push-button ignition, four 12-volt power outlets, automatic dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, the new 12.3-in infotainment system with Wi-Fi, navigation, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay, and heated side-view mirrors.

The SL adds to the SV’s standard and optional equipment and gets LED fog lights, power memory driver’s seat and steering wheel, a power sunroof, a 360-degree surround-view camera system with moving object detection, remote start, a power liftgate, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, and trailer sway control.

The Platinum includes all of the SL’s features and options plus a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a rear entertainment system, an intelligent rearview mirror, rain-sensing windshield wipers with a de-icing function, rear step lights, traffic sign recognition, a backup collision intervention system, illuminated cup holders, and a power reclining and folding third row.

SL and Platinum models can be optioned with second-row captain’s chairs in place of the standard bench seat.  This reduces seating capacity from eight to seven.  The Armada’s available full-time four-wheel-drive system is optional on all trims.

Every 2021 Nissan Armada comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with an intervention function, rear cross-traffic detection, rear automatic emergency braking, full-speed radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor. There’s also a rear-door alert system that reminds drivers to check the rear seat if the system detects that the rear doors were opened before 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.

What does the future hold: The Nissan Armada is here to stay and will get updates into the future. Find a 2021 Nissan Armada for sale near you

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country

Base price: $49,000 / Read our 2021 Tahoe Review

What we like: Huge cargo space; standard V8 engine; optional diesel; standard 10-inch touchscreen; air suspension and magnetic ride control available

What we would change: Can get pricey fast; tough to park in tight lots; no adaptive cruise in base models

Overview: The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is a truck-based, full-size, 3-row sport utility vehicle, and it has been completely updated for 2021. The Chevy Tahoe retains its big and bold character and remains a true SUV that utilizes a truck-like body-on-frame design. This makes it ideal for towing and a favorite for active families.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Tahoe has been improved in every way, most notably in interior space, safety features, and technology. The Tahoe can seat up to nine passengers, but most buyers will opt for a 7- or 8-passenger configuration. The third row is now roomy enough to accommodate adults, and the Tahoe’s increased dimensions give it more cargo space than its rival, the Ford Expedition. This all-new Tahoe also promises its best road manners yet, thanks to an independent suspension, plus options such as magnetic ride control and air-ride suspension. The Chevy Tahoe is powered by a powerful V8 and further stands out with a new turbodiesel engine.

Features and technology The new Tahoe is available in six trims: LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country. The least-expensive Tahoe LS includes 8-way power front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and mechanical limited-slip differential. Its standard infotainment system bundles a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 6-speaker audio system. GM’s OnStar connected services with 4G LTE and in-vehicle Wi-Fi are also standard. All Tahoe models include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

A better choice is one trim level higher, the Tahoe, which includes a hands-free power tailgate, memory driver’s seat, leather seating, 9-speaker Bose audio system, wireless phone charging, and heated front seats. The Tahoe RST gets 22-inch wheels and darkened aesthetics. The Tahoe Z71 comes with four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case (optional on other trims), hill-descent control, all-terrain terrains, and front skid plate.

The Tahoe Premier has magnetic ride control, 12-way power front seats with heating and ventilation, power-release rear seats, navigation, 10-speaker Bose audio, an 8-inch digital instrument cluster. And the top-line Tahoe High Country ($69,600) includes the 6.2-liter V8, heads-up display, surround-view camera, and rear camera mirror.

Adding four-wheel drive to any model is an extra $3,000. We highly advise getting the Driver Alert Package ($790) that adds active safety features such as lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors. This comes standard on Premier and High Country models.

For the first time, air suspension is available for the Tahoe on Z71 and High Country models. For towing, the Max Trailering Package adds a more robust radiator and cooling fan, plus hitch guidance and hitch view in the backup camera. Adaptive cruise control is available, but reserved for top models.

The new turbodiesel Duramax inline-6 is available on the Tahoe LS, LT, RST, and Premier models. It costs $995 more than the standard 5.3-liter gasoline V8.

You can also order the new diesel engine in the Tahoe High Country, where it represents a $1,500 savings when compared to the standard 6.2-liter gasoline V8.

What does the future hold: The Chevrolet Tahoe is all-new for 2021, and it will continue to get package and trim updates well into the future. See 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe models for sale near you

Armada vs. Tahoe: Strengths comparison

Armada benefits: Luxury interior; modern infotainment system; towing capacity

Tahoe benefits: Lower starting price; magnetic suspension available across the line

2021 Nissan Armada vs. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe: Which is better?

The Armada is a niche pick in an American-dominated space. It offers enough space (though the third row is significantly smaller than that in the Tahoe) to seat at least five comfortably and its body on frame construction means that it can tow a hefty load. For our money, though, we’d still go with the Chevrolet Tahoe in this head to head. It offers a lot more fuel efficiency and a better ride for daily tasks. Find a 2021 Nissan Armada for sale or Find a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe for sale

Popular Powertrains 2021 Nissan Armada 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
Engine 5.6-liter V8 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower 4000 hp @ 5,800 RPM 420 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 413 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Transmission 7-speed automatic 10-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 16 mpg (14 city/19 hwy) 17 mpg (15 city/ 20 hwy)
Also Available NA 3.0-liter tubodiesel
Basic warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5-stars NA
Max Seating Capacity 8 9
Wheelbase 121.1 inches 120.0 inches
Overall Length 208.9 inches 210.7 inches
Width 79.9 inches 81.0 inches
Height 75.8 inches 75.8 inches
Turning Diameter 41. 3 feet 38.1 feeet
Headroom, Front 40.9 inches 42.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 40.0 inches 38.9 inches
Headroom, Third Row 36.4 inches 38.2 inches
Legroom, Front  41.9 inches 44.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 41 inches 42 inches
Legroom, Third Row 28.4 inches 34.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 63.8 inches 66.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 58.4 inches 64.8 inches
Shoulder Room, Third Row 48.8 inches 62.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume NA NA
EPA Cargo Volume 16.5 cubic feet 25.5 cubic feet


Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett is a freelance journalist based in L.A. and she's covered automotive topics for a variety of well-known outlets including Fortune, Forbes, CNN and Motor Trend. She's also a television and video host and regularly covers breaking news, social justice, technology, health and wellness, and science in addition to her car coverage. When she's not working on her next project she's... Read More about Abigail Bassett

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