Go big with the 2018 Nissan Armada
Full-size SUVs are hot this year. With a soaring stock market and relatively low fuel prices, automakers are ready to satisfy buyers who want something truly substantial to drive, with top-grade luxury and plenty of engine power. Among the heavyweights on the road, the Nissan Armada offers a great package at an attractive price.
Like most full-size SUVs, the Armada is built using a traditional body-on-frame architecture. The Armada shares its chassis with the full-size Titan pickup truck, but Nissan goes all-out for luxury with this model. The Armada is comfortable, quiet, and fast.
The 2018 Armada comes with Nissan's 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine, rated at 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. You can tow up to 8,500 pounds with this SUV. The V8 engine is mated to a smooth 7-speed automatic transmission, with your choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive. Nissan's 4X4 system is advanced, with an all-wheel-drive mode that is constantly active.
Nissan gives you a console dial to control the 4X4 system. The default setting is Automatic, which will engage the front drive wheels as needed to give you traction. You can also turn the dial to 4H for high-range four-wheel-drive to engage all the wheels if you're headed off-pavement. For really heavy-duty driving, you can engage 4L for low range. There are also buttons for Snow and Towing, which will optimize the Armada's programming to deal with those conditions.
So while the Armada is certainly a capable all-purpose SUV, the Platinum trim is also a luxury vehicle. It comes with three rows of seating for up to eight passengers. The front seats are both heated and ventilated, and the outboard second-row seats are heated. In Platinum trim, all the seats are upholstered in fine leather, and second-row passengers get video screens with the standard Family Entertainment System.
On the tech side, the Armada Platinum comes with an 8-inch touchscreen with Navigation and a 13-speaker Bose Premium audio system. All the pieces you expect are there, from satellite radio to five USB ports. Three of those ports will stream music, while two are charging-only ports.
As a family SUV, the Armada comes with every safety and driver assistance feature currently available. In addition to the usual features, there's Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control and Distance Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Intelligent Lane and Blind Spot Intervention, and a surround-view camera in addition to the backup camera. Those cameras are a godsend, because the Armada lives up to its name – it's big, and parking lot maneuvers really benefit from the camera views.
On the road, the Armada is easy to drive, smooth and comfortable, and powerful. If you're looking for a full-size SUV, the Nissan Armada definitely needs to be on your test-drive list.
2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD
Base price: $63,385
Price as tested: $66,695
Type: Full-size SUV
Engine: 5.6-liter V8 (390 hp, 394 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 13/18
Overall length: 209 inches
Curb weight: 5,963 pounds
Final assembly: Los Angeles, California