There is no shortage of bulk SUV cars Designed to bring your family and all your gear on adventures – or to the grocery store. While often overlooked in the full-size three-row class, the . file Nissan Armada It’s making a case for itself with the 2021 update. The updates aim to make the ride more refined, comfortable and luxurious for seven or eight passengers, while maintaining the brutal V8 power that truck-based SUVs have always had. On the inside, the sport looks more like it Nissan Infiniti QX80 From the brand’s Titan pickup. This is where the Armada story began: Nissan installed an SUV body in a truck frame back in 2004. To see if the updates were enough to put the Armada into conversation with the Tahoe, Yukon, and Expedition, we packed the SUV with luggage, bikes, And (at one point) five kids and they headed off on a long weekend trip from New York to Rhode Island.
Day One: Settling In
With Armada’s roots firmly entrenched in a pickup truck, it’s no surprise that its early truck-like interiors were. The facilities trumped the luxury, with hard plastic swathes of the cabin making entering the mall parking lot feel like checking into a construction site. This is a change for 2021. The front seats are comfortable and plush with quilted leather and soft-touch accents. The center console has a traditional transmission, which we love, and folding doors to hide the cup holders, which help keep the interior clean. Anyone with open cup holders knows how quickly a driver can get wet, sticky, and full of cash.
The middle row could be a captain’s seat or two, and in our test rig, they easily flipped forward to reach the third row. Those that sit in the middle have a center console, but they can also open the top of the front row armrest to access storage. During our trip, we stashed snacks and charging cables there, which reduced the whining.
While this last row is roomy enough for young kids on fast rides, say, under 45 minutes, it’s too narrow for adults on all but the shortest rides. If your brood requires you to bring the baby back there constantly, it should be the shortest by default due to the limited space for the head and legs. And even then, he’s likely to complain. However, four or five adults can find the Armada a very relaxing and relaxing ride. In our case, two adults and five children under 10 – with three spaced in the back seat – had enough room to handle a 30-minute flight without mutiny. The trunk behind the third row is scattered 16.5 cubic feet—that’s less than some crossovers offer. If you plan on having third grade all the time, it won’t leave much room for schlep gear or groceries.
On the outside, the design is big and bold and brings in plenty of chrome accents. Everything from the windshield has been redesigned outward for 2021, including Nissan’s aerodynamic v-wheel grille and attractive headlights. Underneath it, 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels fill its wells nicely (and make the use of side steps mandatory, too). Taller riders will appreciate the stride height. Chrome runs almost the entire length of the car, updating the look.
But the rear bumper is a detail you hate to love. It pops out, which can get in the way while the gear is loaded, but it also serves as a seat when the tailgate is open. When we loaded the Thule Hitch Mount Rack with adult bikes, the bumper left little space between the vehicle and the bike’s flex front tire, although securing the bike’s tires should keep the paint secure.
Day 2: The Tech
The technology inside is perhaps the biggest leap forward with the new Armada. The center console has a 12.3-inch display. You can sync Apple CarPlay to it wirelessly or use Android Auto through the USB-C port. The graphics on the touchscreen are sharp and responsive, with virtually no lag. The screen is paired with two volume and adjustment knobs which also help you navigate through the onscreen menus, and they work well too. For low-speed maneuvering, the touchscreen gives you a 360-degree view around the vehicle with graphics clear enough to keep you away from lampposts and other obstacles. Although the screen size looks impressive, only about 3/4 of it is a touch screen. The right pane is a display of information, and this pane sometimes displays information that you can see elsewhere, such as the time.
Fortunately, the HVAC system has its own set of buttons, so making climate control adjustments doesn’t require going down a rabbit hole of the touchscreen menus. Under the screen, the wireless charging compartment provides a great place to hide the phone while driving; It also prevents him from sliding to the ground when running from a stop sign.
The Nissan Safety Suite includes things like emergency braking and blind spot monitoring, which have been the biggest nuisance to our pets. The bike’s hitch-mounted mount interfered with the backup sensor, which then shook the vehicle to an abrupt stop when reversing. The feature became very annoying and we ended up turning it off. The instrument cluster has a 7-inch center display that does a good job of indicating which features are on and helping you navigate through menus that are controlled by buttons on the steering wheel. After two days of acquaintance, we found that the interface was very smooth and allows you to deal with many adjustments – the volume of the radio, for example – with just a peek at the dashboard.
Day Three: Driving
Everyday driving with the Armada is smooth, thanks to the seven-speed automatic transmission, and quiet even at highway speeds. Although it can feel a little nimble and less precise in cornering, it generally runs like a smaller truck despite sitting high. Nissan kept the 5.6-liter V8 that the Armada had always had as the only engine option. The engine generates 400 horsepower with 413 pound-feet of torque and a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pound-feet. Between town and the highway, the Armada came in at 15 mpg, which isn’t great—something your wallet will want you to consider before you buy. The hitch is standard and integrated trailer sway control is integrated into most trim levels. In a way, Nissan tells you that this SUV is meant for towing: boats, jet skis, trailers, etc. The optional all-wheel drive option is available on our tester as an option.
minimum: Armada starts around $50,000, with our quad driver testing coming in at more than $63,000. It faces stiff competition from other full-size, 3rd-row SUVs that have more room, like the Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, and even some larger crossovers. But with other six-figure SUVs emerging when well-equipped, the Armada is making a niche for itself—and a powerful engine can make sense if you need a towing vehicle.
To access exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, Subscribe to YouTube!