Need a sizable new SUV? Both the 2021 Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada seat eight, and their base models are comparably priced. But one of these full-size, three-row SUVs has the edge over the other in overall quality. Is it the responsive Ford Expedition or the powerful Nissan Armada?
Inside the 2021 Ford Expedition
The Ford Expedition comes with not only ample passenger room but also quite a bit of power. The base model features a 10-speed automatic transmission and a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It can hit 60 mpg in 6.2 seconds and gets 17/22 mpg city/highway. The standard model also comes with four-wheel drive and several advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beams.
What sets the Expedition apart is its interior. It boasts plenty of cargo room, with 19.3 cubic feet behind the third row and 57.5 cubic feet with the third row folded down. If you have a lot of stuff, you can fold down the second row for 104.6 cubic feet of space. The base model has a few extra perks too. An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard, as do Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility. Multiple USB ports and a six-speaker sound system also come standard.
If you need even more cargo space, the extended-length Expedition Max is the model for you. You’ll get 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 73.3 with that row folded down, and 121.5 with the second and third rows folded.
The Limited trim level and higher offer even more advanced safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and blind-spot monitoring. Plus, you can get an optional infotainment system installed in each seatback.
How the Nissan Armada compares to the Ford Expedition
The Nissan Armada outclasses the Ford Expedition in power with its 5.6-liter V8 engine harnessing an impressive 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The standard model comes with a seven-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, tow 8,500 pounds, and get 18 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. The Armada also comes with safety features, like adaptive cruise control, automatic rear braking, and blind-spot monitoring.
Rather than offering the 8.0-inch display that comes standard with many SUVs these days, every Armada model and trim comes with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. It also boasts built-in Navigation and satellite radio standard. There’s plenty of legroom and headroom too, but the third row is smaller and better for kids.
Higher trim levels add even more features. If you can afford the Platinum, you’ll get second-row captain’s chairs, a center-console cubby, and 8.0-inch infotainment screens in the back of each front headrest. Plus, higher trims come with options such as four-wheel drive and a trailer brake controller.
The Nissan Armada starts at $47,500 and can cost as much as $66,000 with all the bells and whistles.
Which of these two SUVs is better?
So which of the two will get you the most bang for your buck? Judging by each SUV’s strengths and weaknesses, we pick the Ford Expedition. And other automotive publications, such as Autotrader, agree.
The Expedition gets better fuel economy than the Armada. And the Ford offers more interior space. The Armada’s cargo capacity measures 16.5 cubic feet behind the back row, 49.9 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 95.4 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded. This is less space than even the standard Ford Expedition and much less the extended model.
It’s also worth noting the 2021 Expedition earned an overall 5-star rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The NHTSA hasn’t rated the 2021 Nissan Armada yet. But the 2020 model received only 4 out of 5 stars, including 3 stars for rollover resistance, overall frontal safety, and front passenger-side crashes. And it got an even more disappointing 2-star rating for front driver’s side safety.
With a starting MSRP of $49,025 (less expensive than prior models), the 2021 Ford Expedition offers more comfort and space than the new Nissan Armada for only $1,500 more.