- Torquey, responsive powertrain
- Impressive tow rating
- Good driving position
- Clumsy handling
- Very low fuel economy
- Some interior materials look and feel subpar
The 2008 Nissan Armada has hunky good looks and a buff V-8 engine, but there are more roomier and more useful options among the big utes.
The 2008 Nissan Armada full-size SUV caters to those who need serious towing ability along with space to haul up to eight passengers. The sturdy full-size 2008 Nissan Armada is based on the Titan pickup, so it's built on a fully boxed truck frame.
The 2008 Nissan Armada comes with a 317-horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8, fitted to a five-speed automatic transmission and offered with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The powertrain affords a class-leading towing capacity of up to 9,100 pounds and has the capability to drive on ethanol-blend fuel. With 385 pound-feet of torque, it can move the 5,300-pound Armada quite authoritatively, even with a full load of passengers, thanks to the very responsive five-speed automatic, which doesn't hesitate to downshift when needed. Fuel economy is a shameful 12 mpg in the city, which seems optimistic next to single-digit real-world results.
The 2008 Nissan Armada can handle up to eight passengers with standard second and third-row bench seats; second-row captain's chairs are also offered for a seven-passenger capacity. When the third-row seats are up, there's very little cargo space left. The front seats are quite good, and it's easy to find a good driving position with the available adjustable pedals. In general, though the design of the instrument panel is eye-catching, the materials and plastics inside still lag those used in top rivals. For 2008, new gauges have also been added, along with a lockable glove box. The front seats are perched quite high, which gives good forward visibility, though rearward visibility is impaired by the thick rear side pillars. The Armada rides firmly but quite smoothly, soaking up most major bumps, but all of its heft is felt in corners and when braking.
Automatic dual-zone air conditioning, a 60/40 split fold-flat third-row seat, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, and the ability to play MP3-formatted CDs are all standard features on the Armada, which is offered in SE and LE models. For 2008, there has been slight styling changes to the Armada that match those given to the Titan pickup, plus some alterations in standard equipment. LE models add a load-leveling suspension, fog lamps, a power rear liftgate, leather trim, front parking sensors, a rear camera system, and an upgraded sound system. Power heated folding mirrors have been made standard on 2008 Nissan Armada LE versions, and the Tow Package is now standard on the SE Off-Road edition.
The 2008 Nissan Armada also gets 20-inch wheels as an option, as well as a power folding third-row seat, wood-grain trim, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system with XM NavTraffic information, and the available Music Box audio and DVD navigation system.
Side curtain airbags and stability control are standard, along with anti-lock brakes. The LE model adds front side airbags, which are also available in the 2008 Nissan Armada SE model's Premium Package option. The Armada hasn't been crash-tested by the insurance-industry-affiliated IIHS, but in the federal government's tests, it received four- and five-star results in frontal impact protection.