The 2021 Nissan Armada Is Still Missing a Vital Feature

The 2021 Nissan Armada got some refreshing updates. In fact, people who love this large family SUV are likely happy to discover that it didn’t lose its naturally aspirated V8 engine. In addition, the new Nissan Armada gets more power than its previous model. But this three-row Nissan SUV is still missing a vital feature. A feature that keeps it from truly competing with V8 models of other full-size SUV options like the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and 2021 GMC Yukon.

While most V8 engine enthusiasts aren’t wildly concerned about fuel economy, it’s still a massive selling point in the industry. The 2021 Nissan Armada was supposed to get a transmission upgrade. If it had, its fuel economy would have been improved just a tad.

Is the Nissan Armada a good large family SUV?

Yes, the Nissan Armada is a good large family SUV. It’s big and powerful and families who choose this option seem happy with their decision. In fact, the 2020 Nissan Armada earned the top spot in the J.D. Power quality SUV survey.

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

If you are shopping for a full-size SUV, the 2021 Nissan Armada is one to test drive. It should start somewhere in the $50,000 price range. According to Nissan USA, the 2020 Armada has a starting price of $47,500. Congruent with its competitors, the 2021 Nissan Armada SUV will offer multiple trim levels that range in price over $60 grand.

For 2021, the Armada received some overdue updates. Not only did Nissan please Armada fans by keeping the V8 engine, but the powertrain got some tweaks that increase its strength. According to Car and Driver, the 2021 Nissan Armada engine now has 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This is bumped up from 390 and 394 respectively.

A 2020 gray Nissan Armada towing a trailer.
2020 Nissan Armada | Nissan

A new transmission is still missing but on the horizon

In a report from CarBuzz, we’re told that the 2021 Nissan Armada SUV is missing something. While the updates on this full-size SUV are welcome, the redesigned Armada won’t get the upgraded 9-speed transmission we saw in the new Nissan Titan. Buyers of the new Armada will have to be content with the 7-speed transmission that we see in the outgoing 2020 Armadas.

An image of the upgraded interior
2021 Nissan Armada | Nissan

While this feature isn’t going to make it faster or that much better, it would increase the fuel economy by an estimated 1 mpg for both city and highway driving. This is obviously not a massive leap. However, this minor improvement is vital for the 2021 Nissan Armada to gain more ground on its fiercest competitors.

Fuel economy has become more important in the full-size SUV class. With the 9-speed transmission in place of the former 7-speed, the V8 power in the RWD Armada would match the fuel economy of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and 2021 GMC Yukon. In a class of large SUV options with increasingly better gas mileage, this slight betterment is a game-changer.

The Yukon is GMC's full-size SUV and competes with the likes of the Chevy Tahoe.
2021 GMC Yukon Denali | GMC

The folks at CarBuzz report that in a recent interview with MotorTrend Brent Hagan, Nissan’s product planner hinted a strong likelihood that we’ll see this update on future Armada models. So it’s not here yet. But it’s on the horizon.

Nissan Armada fuel economy

While we certainly don’t mind a satisfying V8, improved fuel economy never hurts. The EPA reports that the outgoing 4WD Nissan Armada models get 13 mpg and 18 mpg in the city. This one won’t see a mileage improvement with an updated 9-speed.

The Chevy Tahoe is a full-size SUV.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe | Chevrolet

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However, the RWD Armada would improve from 14 mpg/19 mpg to 15 mpg/20 mpg. This matches the EPA rating for the 6.2-liter V8 engine option found in both the 2021 GMC Yukon and the 2021 Chevy Tahoe. By making the new Armada more competitive on paper, Nissan would gain more ground in the large family SUV class.