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Massive 2018 Nissan Armada offers near-luxury experience for families Featured

Apr 16, 2018 Hit: 280 Written by 
The Nissan Armada is a large, powerful ride that will fit even the biggest families comfortably.
The Nissan Armada is a large, powerful ride that will fit even the biggest families comfortably. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

For some people, bigger is always better.
Thankfully for them, several automakers have not given up on producing full-sized SUVs, the stunningly large vehicles which look like they could fit most of a traveling circus inside of them, and which you might hear an echo in if you yelled to the people in the back row..

One of those full-size SUV options -- the Nissan Armada -- recently went through a remodel, and I recently got to test out the 2018 version. I’m back with a full report on what it offers and how it compares to others in the class -- which also includes the Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe.

LOOKS

The big change with the redesign is that the Armada is now based off the same underpinnings as its more upscale corporate sibling, the Infiniti QX80.
And just like the QX80, the Armada can be described as big -- as in very big, wow that’s big!

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Nissan Armada
  • Price as tested:: $63,545 (starts at $46,090)
  • Best feature:: Extra roomy, plush interior, storage space
  • Rating:: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Families seeking a roomy three-row full-sized SUV with all the trimmings


Quite frankly, it’s bigger than most people need. You get a roomy third row that adults can sit in comfortably. Middle row is also very comfy and you can choose captain’s chairs or a bench (for either 7 or 8 total seating number). Oddly, the front row seats are a bit tight for tall drivers, as the driver seat didn't go back as much as I anticipated.

Stepping outside, the Armada features an attractive, tall and bold exterior look which has grown more sleek and less militaristic with the recent upgrades. A side step is offered, but it still may be harder for older people to get in and out of the Armada due to its height.

The Armada features privacy glass; plus chrome plated outside mirrors with memory and puddle lamps. You also get front fog lights and a power liftgate.

Back to the interior, it’s a beautifully designed ride with high-end leather-appointed seating and sharp wood grain touches. While it’s not quite as upscale as the Infiniti QX80, it’s also not that far behind.

The power front seats offer a memory feature; Front seats are heated and cooled, and you can add heated 2nd row seats. Third row folds down via a button in the rear, increasing maximum storage space. In addition to being able to carry a lot of people, the Armada can carry a lot of cargo too -- as much as any of its main competitors.

Other sharp touches include a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and leather-wrapped shift knob. A power sliding moonroof is also offered.

ENGINE, HORSEPOWER

When you’re talking about a 5,910 pound vehicle, you need something powerful to pull it along.

Enter the 5.6-liter, Endurance V8 engine, which is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission.  Numbers are 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. There are no other engine options; but really there’s no need for any.

The Armada also tows an impressive 8500 pounds, and the options are rear-wheel drive or full time four-wheel drive (I’d recommend the latter).

The reality when you get to this class of vehicle is that the massive size makes it hard to maneuver and park at times. It’s a whole lot of car you’re pushing down the road (209 inches long, 80 inches wide, 76 inches tall, 121 inch wheelbase). Something that large is not going to take turns the same as a smaller ride, and it might not fit in the parking spot you’d like to get. Just avoid the headaches and park it far and get a few more steps in on your FitBit.

One other side note: Driving in the Armada leaves you towering over almost every vehicle you'll see on the roadways, which is a great vantage point (though a bit unnerving at times as you get to see all the unsafe behaviors people are undertaking while cruising down the road).

The Armada is powerful too, of course … as the numbers would indicate. But it’s not nimble in the turns and it won't get up to speed quickly. The laws of physics prevent that.

But braking is impressive for the size, and it will merge into the next lane in a pinch very nicely with a quick burst of speed (or perhaps smaller cars were just wanting to avoid being near this intimidating behemoth and slowed down on purpose, sort of like how most people approach semi trucks).

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The overall Infotainment system was well-designed. Controls worked great by voice and by hand. Navigation worked well and adapted quickly to changes due to roadwork, and it’s featured on an easy-to-use 8-inch color display with touch control. Bluetooth connection also allows you to make phone calls by voice, and the Armada offers a hands-free text messaging assistant.

In terms of sound, a 13-speaker Bose premium audio is offered in the Armada. Options for music include: AM, FM, Satellite radio, CD, Aux jack, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity and 5 USB ports for connections.


On the down side, no compatibility for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay is included.

An excellent family entertainment system if an option, too -- with TVs well-positioning behind the front headrests. The DVD system was easy to use and wireless headphones are provided so the little ones in back can listen to the movie while the adults up front don’t.

And beyond the fun stuff, the Armada is very safe.


Among the safety features on the Armada (some optional) are: Front and rear sonar system; Rain sensing wipers; Airbags all around; Traction control; Anti lock brakes; Tire pressure monitoring; Anti theft system; Intelligent distance control; Auto emergency braking; Intelligent forward collision warning; Lane departure warning and intervention; Blind spot warning; Intelligent backup intervention; Aroundview monitor; and Intelligent cruise control.

In other words, basically every safety feature it could have.


MPG
As you may have anticipated with a vehicle this large, fuel mileage isn’t the high point of the Armada’s dossier. Official numbers are 13 city/18 highway/15 combined. I averaged about 14 mpg. Not exactly great.
What makes things worse is that the main competitors all outshine the Armada by about four miles per gallon … which is disappointing and could dissuade buyers.


PRICE
My test vehicle was at the high end of the scale and cost just over $63,000; base price starts about $46K. This is about on par with the competition, perhaps a bit more affordable if you go with a base model.

BOTTOM LINE

The 2018 Nissan Armada is more vehicle than most people need, but if you have a large clan and lots of cargo to carry and want to get around in style without going all the way into the full luxury realm, you have an excellent option available in the 2018 Nissan Armada.

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Matt Myftiu can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

His past reviews can all be seen online at autotechreviews.com.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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