The Nissan Armada is a well-adjusted teenager. It’s positioned firmly in the mix of large sport utility vehicles that remain popular with their massive engines, family comfort, safety and putrid fuel efficiency.
The 2019 edition is the vehicle’s 16th year, and its technically and oddly named after a fleet of warships but used in the singular form. It’s also the third year of the Armada’s second generation after Nissan introduced the current model in 2017. Sales doubled.
With an unyielding variety of SUVs entering the market as crossovers and other large SUVs improving, the Armada’s sales fell a few thousand last year. Yet there’s still a solid corps of buyers who don’t seem concerned about driving a vehicle that weighs about 7,500 pounds and averages 13 miles per gallon in city driving. Only the Rolls-Royce lineup is rated lower.
On the contrary, large SUVs buyers embrace their vehicles’ grandness. The Armada defines bigness. If hauling a neighborhood of kids bolstered down in car seats is the task, they’ll be transported in a luxurious tank. If a powerboat or trailer needs towing, the Armada can comfortably haul 8,500 pounds. Of course, its estimated 18 miles per gallon in freeway driving will likely suffer.
For a vehicle with an annual sale of only about 35,000 units, the Armada is available in a surprisingly large array of configurations. The reviewed Platinum 4-door trim has a 5.6-liter V8 with 390 horsepower, four-wheel drive and it advances with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is also available.
Features also include a 14-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, 8-inch infotainment touch screen, hands-free text-messaging assistance, keyless entry/ignition and parking sensors.
The Platinum trim is lavish with 20-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, fog lights, puddle lights, self-dimming mirrors and rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel and a rear-seat entertainment system. The 360-degree camera system has a rearview mirror displaying the feed from the rear-facing camera.
With the current edition now three years old, Armada changes this year are minimal. Adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation are now standard on all trims. Rear Door Alert is also new. If a rear door is opened at the start of a trip but not when the trek stops, an alert sounds as if something or someone is still inside.
Despite its massive size, the Armada is also a gentle giant. Its engine noise and wind rush are minimal, and the overall drive is not too far removed from the serenity of a large luxury sedan. Bumps and other road imperfections are largely dismissed.
Despite overall small sales numbers a segment, large SUV competition is stiff, the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia all worthy. The Nissan Armada makes its case for leadership role with a healthy list of standard features.
Wood trim and overall seating, flooring and panel material are superior and the Armada seems larger than it is with the SUV’s substantial glass areas. The overall vision is also superior and seating in all three rows and with an eight-person occupancy further enhances the luxury ride.
Cargo space is strong, with 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row. With the second and third rows are folded down, 95.4 cubic feet of cargo space is revealed. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $62,690. With its many options, the Armada’s price escalates to $67,850.
The Armada is big and bold. Safety, security and comfort all shine. But there are two constant issues: frequent gas stations visits and a thin wallet.
Article Last Updated: July 11, 2019.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.