The Armada is the biggest and baddest SUV in Nissan's lineup. Based on the same mechanical bits that underpin the Infiniti QX80, the Armada is a large three-row SUV that employs classic body-on-frame construction. These bones don't make for the most comfortable or exciting driving, but if you have to tow or venture off-road, the Armada gets the job done.
2021 Nissan Armada
But first, the powertrain, which carries forward to the 2021 Armada. The burly 5.6-liter V8 now produces 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, but only if you fill the tank with 93 octane fuel. Otherwise, it churns out the same 390 hp and 394 lb-ft as last year. A seven-speed automatic remains the sole transmission.
The driver's seat is spacious and well cushioned, and it should allow for hours of comfortable touring. Unfortunately, that doesn't hold true for the second or third row seats. The second-row captain's chairs have only an adequate amount of legroom and the seat cushions are a bit low and short, resulting in a lack of thigh support even for average-size adults. The seatbacks recline but there's no sliding function to get more legroom. The third row should be for kids only, and even then, we don't expect they'll be comfortable. The seat cushion is mounted almost right on the floor, forcing passengers relegated back there into more of a knees-on-your-chest position.
The cabin of the Armada receives the lion's share of updates. Gone is the center stack stuffed with an array of buttons and a dated dash-mounted infotainment controller. Instead, the refreshed Armada presents a center stack that is less monolithic than before. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is perched on top, with a slim but clearly labeled row of climate controls underneath. There's also a cubby that conceals the newly available wireless charging pad.
The new touchscreen will go a long way toward making the Armada feel like a modern SUV. The addition of a wireless charging pad and standard wireless Apple CarPlay further cements that impression, though Android Auto remains a tethered affair.
Like many three-row SUVs, the Armada has limited cargo capacity behind the third row, measuring just 16.5 cubic feet. That's about what you'd expect from a midsize family sedan on paper, but in practice it's not nearly as accommodating. That space is mostly vertical and assumes you'll be packing it to the headliner.
To be blunt, it isn't. For the money, the Armada falls short when it comes to interior quality, infotainment and cargo space. Nowadays, we expect more in all of these metrics. Fuel economy is also disappointing. Nissan estimates the Armada will get 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway) for the rear-wheel-drive variant. Getting 4WD drops those estimates by 1 mpg across the board.
The 2021 Nissan Armada's refreshed exterior and up-to-date tech offerings help extend this big SUV's longevity. But even with these improvements, the Armada faces an uphill battle against the Ford Expedition and the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon.