Why Nissan’s Largest SUV Still Feels Like an Incomplete Package
The SUV market is full of capable vehicles, both large and small, that offer excellent performance and comfort. The Nissan Armada, the automaker’s largest SUV, seemingly checks all the boxes. However, a simple test drive reveals something else. So why does Nissan’s SUV behemoth feel like an incomplete package?
Overview of the 2023 Nissan Armada
The 2023 Nissan Armada comes in four trims: S, SV, SL and Platinum. The base trim starts at $52,495, while the SV trim starts at $57,095. The SL and Platinum trims have a starting price of $60,915 and $69,165 respectively. Under the hood is a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine that pairs with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The engine generates 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, 10 hp and 19 lb-ft more than the 2021 model. The vehicle has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds, which may not be comparable to the Jeep Wagoneer but beats its other rivals like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban.
The Armada’s interior is comfy and spacious, and its cabin is well-insulated from outside noise. The car’s interior is made from fancy material, with its Platinum trim offering quilted seat surfaces, emphasizing the luxury SUV atmosphere.
The vehicle seats eight passengers in three rows, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs bring the number down by one passenger. However, its third-row legroom may feel snug, especially to taller adults. The car comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with various standard connectivity options such as Android Auto, wireless charging, and Apple CarPlay.
The SL trim gets a 13-speaker Bose audio system, but the top trim takes things to the next level with dual 8.0-inch rear seat entertainment system screens. Every Armada has various standard driver assistance technology, including automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.
Despite a lot of high points, the full-size Nissan SUV comes up short
The Nissan Armada has a lot going for it, including its powerful engine and high-quality interior. However, it still comes up short compared to its rivals. For starters, the Armada’s powerful V8 engine provides a satisfying acceleration and capability to tow heavy loads, but this comes at a cost- fuel efficiency.
The vehicle has an EPA estimated 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway on rear-wheel drive. Upgrading to all-wheel drive reduces the city and highway numbers by one mpg. In comparison, the Wagoneer has an EPA rating of 17 mpg on city roads and 23 mpg on the highway, while the Tahoe is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
The Armada’s touchscreen may be bigger than most of its rivals, but the graphics look outdated. There are not as many USB and power ports as you can expect from a large SUV, with the second-row placement not ideal.
What can Nissan rework on the SUV to remain competitive?
Addressing the Armada’s fuel efficiency can be the first big step in propelling the vehicle’s success in the market. The automaker could explore more powertrain options to help reduce fuel consumption without compromising performance. Upgrading the infotainment display to catch up with modern times can help ensure the Armada doesn’t significantly fall behind its rivals.
The Armada tends to wander at high speeds, so Nissan could consider fine-tuning the suspension and chassis for a smoother ride to cater to those seeking a refined driving experience. Another factor the automaker could consider is making the vehicle bigger and increasing the third-row seating dimensions.
This would improve third-row passenger comfort and access, which would be beneficial and accommodating, especially for larger families.