What is it: The 2018 Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV with room for eight passengers. It comes with a 5.6-liter V8 making 390 hp along with an 8,500-pound towing capacity. The Armada was redesigned last year, taking more styling cues from its luxury Infiniti cousin and sitting atop the global Nissan Patrol SUV platform.
Key Competitors: Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon
Base Price: $62,785 As-Tested Price: $63,095
Full Review: Nissan Armada first drive
Highlights: Nissan’s flagship SUV is designed for big families and comes with a suite of advanced safety and tech features. The Platinum trim is the second highest, only topped by the Platinum Reserve. Both get the company’s new LCD review mirror, which uses a high-resolution camera in back to transmit a clear image, regardless of lighting, weather or a full load of cargo.
Our Opinion: Now in its second generation, the Nissan Armada ditched its pickup truck roots and is now the body-on-frame SUV known overseas as the Nissan Patrol. This is exactly the sort of thing I should be geeked about; finally, we’re getting one of those storied vehicles — like the Toyota Hilux — that Americans have only ever been able get their hands on after the 25-year import window has passed.
Thing is, the modern Patrol is about as far removed from the boxy, utilitarian Patrols of yore as the modern Toyota Land Cruiser is from the vintage FJ40s now pulling six figures at auction. Model bloat is real, and it seems like it hit this truck hard. I’m sure it has off-road chops aplenty, but as a pavement-bound family hauler, I’m not feeling the love.
Size-wise, it’s actually a bit of an in-betweener. Larger than a Chevrolet Tahoe or Toyota Sequoia, it’s shorter than a Ford Expedition or Chevrolet Suburban. Yet it projects massiveness. I know the dimensions, but it feels bigger than anything else out there. Its rather cubelike proportions have something to do with this, I suspect.
The interior is quiet and nicely trimmed — so nicely trimmed that you might be wondering why you’d ever step up to an Infiniti QX80. There’s a trim level a half-step above this (dubbed “Platinum Reserve” — see the interior gallery above) that blurs the line even further. This isn’t unique to Nissan, though; really nice Chevrolet Suburbans give Yukon Denalis a run for their money. In the end, it depends at least in part on what kind of badge you want your car to wear, and whether you’re willing to pay a modest premium for the fancier key fob.
I’m curious about why Nissan decided to abandon the Titan platform for this generation of the Armada, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the truck as it stands. Still, at least on-road, it doesn’t do anything exceptionally well — not well enough to recommend it over its American competition. If a major part of the SUV experience is driving a big honkin’ (but well-insulated) box down the road, the Armada is a respectable option. Beyond that, it’s hard to nail down anything the Nissan does to stand out in the crowd.
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On Sale: Now
Base Price: $62,785
As Tested Price: $63,095
Powertrain: 5.6-liter DOHC V8, 4WD, seven-speed automatic
Output: 390 hp @ 5,552 rpm; 394 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 5,963 lb
Fuel Economy: 13/18/15 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Pros: It’s a quiet, well-equipped and comfortable box for traveling down the road
Cons: Nothing about it helps it stand out in a very competent SUV field