Nissan Pathfinder vs. Nissan Armada: The Choice For You Is as Obvious as It Seems

If you’re a Nissan fan with a large flock, there are two clear options. There’s the  Nissan Pathfinder and the Nissan Armada. And fortunately, deciding between these two SUVs is relatively simple.

The Pathfinder and the Armada have distinct capabilities 

A blue 2020 Nissan Pathfinder driving down snowy road
2020 Nissan Pathfinder | Nissan

Generally speaking, the Pathfinder and the Armada earns points as comfortable cruisers. They also receive some of the same criticisms. Neither SUV is remarkably agile, and they can feel extra jittery on bumpy roads.

The Pathfinder is a midsize SUV that competes against heavyweights, including the Toyota Highlander and Kia Telluride. Nissan hasn’t officially launched a 2021 version of the Pathfinder, but new 2020 models are still for sale. All Pathfinders from the current generation feature a 284-hp, 3.5-liter V6, and a continuously variable automatic (CVT). 

Overall, the Pathfinder is a decent choice if you want a car-like driving experience. Its fuel economy ratings aren’t that impressive for the segment, though. The standard Pathfinder with front-wheel drive can get up to 23 mpg. Opting for all-wheel-drive only sacrifices fuel economy by a point. 

A red 2021 Nissan Armada off-road.
2021 Nissan Armada | Nissan

Conversely, the Armada boasts more power and notable updates. For 2021, the Armada has a new chiseled exterior and more tech. The 2021 Armada features a 400-hp, 5.6-liter V8, and a seven-speed automatic. You also have the choice between rear- or all-wheel drive. 

The Armada is a full-size SUV that can tow up to 8,500 pounds; that’s 2,500 more than the Pathfinder can haul. Although, one of the biggest downsides of the Armada is fuel efficiency. It can only get up to 16 mpg overall. 

The 2021 Armada will give you more space and tech than the 2020 Pathfinder 

Front seats of the  2021 Nissan Armada.
2021 Nissan Armada | Nissan

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Both the Pathfinder and the Armada are three-row SUVs. The Pathfinder can seat up to seven people, and the Armada can accommodate up to eight. An advantage the Pathfinder has on the inside is versatile cargo space. On the flip side, the Armada’s trunk space is more like what a midsize sedan offers, as Edmunds notes. 

You can customize either of these Nissans with upscale touches such as leather plus heated and cooled seats. However, the Armada is far more impressive when it comes to tech. The Armada’s updated standard infotainment features include a 12.3-inch touchscreen, wifi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wired Android Auto. 

The 2020 Nissan has a comfy cabin but its brown trimmings look outdated.
2020 Nissan Pathfinder interior | Nissan

The Armada’s touchscreen is now the largest in the class. A wireless smartphone charger is also available, and there’s a new 7-inch Advanced Driver Assist Display. The Pathfinder is still far behind in this category. The 2020 model doesn’t offer CarPlay or Android connectivity. Some people have also complained that the Pathfinder’s 8-inch touchscreen display looks outdated.

Regarding advanced safety, the Armada wins out too. It now comes with blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer as many driver-assist functions, but it does come with forward-collision warning. 

What matters most to you?

An image of the 2021 Nissan Armada off-roading outdoors.
2021 Nissan Armada | Nissan

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The 2020 Pathfinder begins at $31,980, and the 2021 Pathfinder starts around $50K. You might want the Pathfinder because it’s smaller, easier to access, and more efficient. If you want more performance capabilities and tech, the Armada is the better pick.