2012 Nissan Armada Performance

7.0
Performance

The Armada's burbly V-8 engine makes all the right noises, but its suspension and steering don't always make the right moves.

The Armada was one of the first Nissans to use the "Endurance" engine, a 5.6-liter V-8 that churns out 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. It's a muscular-sounding powerplant, but its ultimate output has paled over the past eight years as competitors have drilled out amazingly powerful V-8s--or even V-6s--with more power and torque. Teamed with a five-speed automatic, the big eight gives the Armada a lively feel from take-off, and it's smooth, with impressive passing ability--what the transmission gives up in number of gears, it gives back in quick response.

A strong V-8 is the Nissan Armada's best asset; its handling and ride are products of its weight and size.

The Armada's been clocked from 0-60 mph in about 7.0 seconds, great numbers for a vehicle its size. And when equipped with a towing package, the Armada can tow up to 9,100 pounds.

A carlike steering wheel and shifter hint that the Armada driving experience is going to be more carlike, but it isn't. Brake feel is good, but steering, handling, and maneuverability are sore spots for this mammoth truck. Try to make any quick change in direction, and you're woefully aware of this vehicle's tremendous heft. The tall body and tall-sidewall tires don't help either, leading to a somewhat detached feel when making abrupt lane changes and the like.

Ride quality in the Armada is firm but smooth, soaking up most major bumps, but it isn't the most refined experience.

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