Shopping for a new Nissan Armada?
SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS
Altogether, the Armada gets just 5 points out of 10 on the FamilyCarGuide scale, because it's sorely lacking in refinement, not only next to modern crossovers but most other truck-based utes. Factor in so-so interior packaging, clumsy handling, and a good yet overly simplified feature set, and quite simply, busy households can do better.
The Armada is simply too much truck for most families. Its ride height makes entry and exit hard; rear door handles are hard for small kids to reach; and that high cargo floor doesn't leave much grocery space when the third row is up. It might as well be down, though, as the third row feels sandwiched in there, with only space for small kids, and it's hard to get to. Seating in the front two rows is good, though, and adjustable pedals help the driver get to a just-right position. However the Armada's interior feels cheapish compared to most other full-size SUVs, and you'll notice a lot of wind and road noise. That's on top of the constant burble of the V-8, which has been tuned to be a constant presence.
That 5.6-liter V-8 allows the heavy Armada to accelerate authoritatively, even with a full load, and it can tow up to 9,100 pounds. But its great thirst definitely kills the buzz; we've noted figures down near the 12-mpg city rating (4WD) in combined city/highway driving. The Armada works well enough in the exurbs and suburbs, provided roads are straight, but it feels completely out of its element in curvier, tighter, or more congested environs. Low-speed handling is on the clumsy side.
That height also complicates outward visibility and safety. While the view out ahead is good, it's head to see out behind or to the side when parking, and you're going to need the optional camera system in addition to the standard rear parking sensors. While the Armada hasn't been tested recently by either of the major safety agencies, it earns just three stars in rollover.
For more about this SUV's performance and available features, see the full review of the 2011 Nissan Armada at The Car Connection.