The 2018 Nissan Armada pairs good towing performance with a roomy, comfortable interior worthy of a luxury label.
The 2018 Nissan Armada is a full-size, family-oriented three-row SUV that offers enough room inside for an entire army of rugrats.
The Armada is a kissing-cousin to the Infiniti QX80, so it feels something like a watered-down luxury SUV. That’s all right with us, especially since this SUV is a fairly good value for a family hauler that can tow your camper or boat. It’s a guzzler and not exactly brilliant to drive, which is why it’s a so-so 6.2 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Available in SV, SL, Platinum and new, range-topping Platinum Reserve trim levels, the Armada mostly stands pat for 2018. The Platinum Reserve comes dangerously close to QX80 pricing, although it’s far more of a luxury SUV than its Nissan badge suggests.
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The Armada is offered with rear- or four-wheel drive. All variants share the same 5.6-liter V-8 rated at 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. Separate body-on-frame construction means that the Armada is rated to tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped with an optional towing package.
At nearly 6,000 pounds, the Armada is a bulky SUV. It hides its weight reasonably well on a curvy road, although its handling is ponderous compared to lighter car-like crossover rivals including Nissan’s own Pathfinder. However, the big V-8 provides the Armada with solid acceleration—at the expense of fuel economy, of course.
Inside, the Armada is as curvy as it is outside. Overstuffed seats deliver a throne-like experience for the front and second rows, although the third row is best for children. The second row comes standard as a three-seat bench, but the Armada Platinum trim level can be dressed up with individual bucket seats and a full center console. Every version of the Armada is well-equipped and SVs stand out as high-value propositions thousands less than rivals such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition.
The Armada hasn’t been crash-tested, but it offers high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking on all but the SV trim level.