- Willing acceleration
- Seating position
- Ability to tow 9,000 pounds
- Spacious interior
- High ingress/egress
- Poor handling
- Occasional cheap plastic interior pieces
- High load floor
- Poor gas mileage
The 2014 Nissan Armada has grown old in a segment that has improved its technology, safety, features and fuel economy.
The Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV, one with masculine looks and an imposing stance wrapped around its roomy interior. But it's also a decade-old vehicle that hasn't kept the blistering pace of new utes like the latest Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon. The Armada's still good for towing and hauling, but it's expensive to fill up, and has lackluster fit and finish.The Armada carries with it a kind of aging machismo that distinguishes it from more plain-Jane alternatives like the Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition. There's just something to its angled grille, rear door handles mounted in the pillars, and the arc of its roofline over the rear passengers. It's still well-organized inside, despite the fact that some of the buttons and plastics make it feel a little cheap by comparison to many of its competitors.
It's quite the climb to get into the Armada, but once you've mounted the seats, you'll find a cabin that is as spacious as the exterior is expansive.The first two rows are quite comfortable, with lots of headroom resulting from the bowed roofline. Ordering second-row captain's chairs cuts down the overall seating capacity by one, from eight to seven. The third-row seat doesn't have quite enough room for adults, and the tall floor makes it a scramble, getting in and out. It also makes loading cargo into the rear more difficult than it could be. There's not much cargo space behind the third-row seat, either, so you'll be leaving it folded down if you use the Armada regularly for family errands.
The Armada shows its age with interior materials. Nissan has dressed up the interior a bit better in recent years, but there are still too many dull plastic trim pieces inside. In multiple test vehicles over the years our editors have noted a fair amount of wind noise, and engine noise in these vehicles is cranked up to an almost ever-present level. While the V-8 sounds good, it can get wear on you on long mountain passes, or when towing.
Nissan's "Endurance" V-8 still takes up every nook and cranny in the engine bay, and though it sounds richly powerful and unabashedly an American-at-heart, its 317 horsepower is now down against the competition. The rumbly 5.6-liter eight kicks out strong acceleration off the line--Nissan claims 0-60 mph times of about seven seconds--thanks to a five-speed automatic that's a gear behind some other utes. The combination pairs up with either rear- or four-wheel drive. Passing ability is impressive, and the Armada 4WD tows up to 9,000 pounds.
It has strong brakes, but the Armada's handling and its in-town maneuverability are not its strong points. Quick changes in direction will make you well aware of its mammoth size and heft. Ride quality in the Armada is firm but smooth, soaking up most bumps, but it isn't the most refined experience.
Three different Armada trim levels are offered: SV, SL, and Platinum. Each can be had with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Armada has a limited list of options, compared to the Tahoe and Expedition. At the top of the line, the Platinum gets heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a moonroof, power rear liftgate, DVD entertainment, and a nav system with real-time traffic capability and hard-drive space for music storage.