First introduced in 2004, the Nissan Armada has racked up some pretty impressive awards since that time. Among them have been SUV of the Year by Popular Mechanics, along with Kelly Blue Book’s Five-Year Cost to Own Award. That doesn’t mean that everyone is happy with their Armada.
As Consumer Reports notes, the 2019 and 2020 model years both leave a lot to be desired. Here are a few ways in which this sport utility vehicle comes up short.
Handling and driver experience
The Armada is available in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, neither of which is likely to provide you with a smooth operating experience. Consumer Reports noted that the 2019 was “clumsy” to handle, and that it has “slow steering and pronounced body roll.” The same was said for the 2020 model, which offered no noticeable improvement over the previous year.
Although the Armada absorbed small bumps, you will notice some jostling in the cabin as well. Reviews from Edmunds seem to reinforce this, as some drivers claim the vehicle is not smooth when going over rough terrain and that stability was poor.
Interior design and features
Consumer Reports notes that the Nissan Armada does have a spacious cabin, and that its Platinum trim has a nice appearance. At the same time, they claim that the “controls are a bit dated and cluttered, and it’s a far reach to some buttons and knobs.”
The cargo area is also difficult to access. This is in part due to the SUV’s design, which includes a protruding rear bumper that you must reach across when loading and unloading. Owners noted that people of average height were unable to do so comfortably.
The Armada’s technology leaves a lot to be desired as well. Drivers offered numerous complaints about the navigation and infotainment system. In particular, the 2019’s navigation system is updated yearly with a disk provided by Nissan. This has led to one driver claiming the system was outdated the minute she purchased it.
Another common complaint with the Nissan Armada had to do with gas mileage. Drivers of full-size SUVs know that great fuel economy isn’t something vehicles in this class are known for.
Even so, many were put off by the gas-guzzling Armada. The 2019 Armada got an estimated 14 mpg according to Consumer Reports, who called it rather “paltry.” The 2020 model has an expected fuel economy of 14 mpg in the city as well. This means that buyers won’t notice any relief with the latest model either.
More affordable SUV alternatives
Those looking for a bigger SUV in the same price range have plenty of options other than the Armada. One is the Chevy Suburban, which features a 5.3 liter V8 engine that is capable of 355 hp and provides 383 lb.-ft. of torque. Like the Armada, this SUV offers third-row seating. However, the Suburban has more than double the cargo space and is much easier to access than the Armada.
The Ford Expedition comes with a 3.5 liter V6 engine that provides 375 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. It offers a much smoother ride, thanks to its 10-speed automatic transmission which delivers even power to all four wheels. With the newly-redesigned Expedition, you’ll enjoy more modern, updated controls as well.
Buyers of large SUVs tend to have high expectations. Unfortunately, the Nissan Armada does not deliver, leaving many drivers disappointed with their purchase. Hopefully, Nissan will make some improvements with the 2021 model year, but right now it is too soon to tell. Until then, you are probably better off going with one of the Armada’s competitors instead.