Last year’s (2017) Nissan Armada slimmed down and beefed up at the same time when compared to its predecessors. Up to that point, the last Armada that I had reviewed was a 2010 model in Titanium trim. Its engine was a 5.8-liter V8 that produced 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic with overdrive. It had a longer wheelbase, but was slightly shorter in overall length, and tipped the scale at 5,841 pounds. The 2010 version carried 2 more gallons of fuel, was narrower and was also taller.
The new, full size, 8-passenger Nissan Armada was based on the heritage of the globally acclaimed Nissan Patrol, which has been around for decades. The motive force changed from the old 5.8-liter V8 to a more efficient 5.6-liter, direct-injected V8 delivering 390 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 395 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Energy reaches either the rear or all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The 2018 Nissan Armada offers the same three levels of trim from 2017: SV, SL, and Platinum. The 2018 Armada lineup also adds a new Platinum Reserve model. All versions are capable of towing up to 8,500 pounds when properly outfitted. When it comes to towing, the Armada meets the current J2807 towing certification standard. Also new for the 2018 model year, Nissan Connect Services and Intelligent Rear View Mirror as standard features.
The I-RVM comes standard on both the Armada Platinum and Platinum Reserve. The innovative mirror uses a high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle that projects a clear image onto an LCD monitor built into the standard rearview mirror. A switch located at the bottom of the mirror allows accessing either the traditional rearview mirror system or the new Intelligent Rear View Mirror. Its benefits include “removing” interior obstacles such as oversize cargo and rear headrests, improving visibility in low-light conditions, reducing glare and providing an expanded field of view.
My 2018 Nissan Armada came in Platinum trim with a Brilliant Silver metallic exterior finish and a Charcoal interior with polished wood trim accents. The base price was set at $61,590. While the as tested price total came to $63,095.
Visually, the Nissan Armada displays an overall athletic stance, starting up front with Nissan’s signature V-motion grille and standard low-beam headlights and familiar LED running lights that contribute to a more contemporary image. The boldness continues in the rear with combination lights including LED taillights.
COMFORT AND COINVENIENCE
The Armada’s interior blends tasteful styling, ample space and luxurious comfort. Cabin noise levels are library quiet at idle, thanks to acoustic glass and extensive use of sound absorption materials. Second row headroom is best in class at 40 inches, as is the legroom at 41 inches.
The 2018 Nissan Armada provides an impressive suite of available advanced safety and security systems. For over $60,000, you get Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Distance Control Assist. That safety suite also features Forward Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Prevention and Lane Departure Warning. Other visibility features include Blind Spot Intervention and Blind Spot Warning, RearView Monitor, and Around View Monitor. Convenience features include power liftgate, a remote engine start system and a power 60/40 3rd row seat. For a bit of style, you also get 20-inch wheels.
The Platinum trim level adds a power sliding roof, front climate controlled seats, and a Family Entertainment system along with Nissan Safety Shield technologies. Only four option packages are offered: a Driver’s Package, Moonroof Package, Technology Package and 2nd row Captain’s Chair Package. Both Nissan Armada Platinum and Platinum Reserve models add a standard DVD Family Entertainment System. That entertainment system includes dual 8.0-inch DVD monitors, USB and HDMI ports, two VTR jacks, and wireless headphones. The wireless headphones offer three types of virtual surround modes (cinema, music and game) to match optimal sound for each media.
Oddly, the Armada does not offer Hill Start Assist or Hill Descent Control, as does the new Pathfinder, which are beneficial in off-road operation. Nissan posited that more Pathfinder customers will go off-road than Armada customers, so it isn’t necessary.
The full-sized 2018 Nissan Armada SUV has managed to stand out in a crowd since its 2004 introduction. While many Nissan admirers tend to think of it as an enlarged Pathfinder, it is actually a great deal more.
The Armada is high, wide and handsome and the power delivery is impressive from the potent 5.6-liter, Endurance V8 engine. Acceleration is instantly responsive, and handling is surprisingly nimble, despite the Armada’s “bigger-than-a-breadbox” mass. It corners well, with minimal body roll, and the ride quality is extremely comfortable.
The functionality and versatility of the Armada are outstanding, as is the standard inventory of equipment and features. It serves as Nissan’s most worthy flagship SUV. Nissan Shatai assembles the 2WD and 4WD drive configuration Armadas in Kyushu, Japan. Its Endurance V8 engine is all-American, as Nissan assembles that in Decherd, Tennessee.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum
|Price as Tested:||$63,095|
|Engine:||5.6-liter Endurance V8 w/ Direct Injection|
|Horsepower:||390 hp @ 5,800 RPM|
|Torque:||394 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 RPM|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed automatic w/ overdrive, manual mode and Synchronized Rev Control|
|Drivetrain:||Longitudinally-mountained front engine; All-Mode AWD|
|Suspension:||Front: Independent double-wishbone w/ 36 mm stabilizer bar and twin-tube shock absorbers|
Rear: Independent double-wishbone w/ 26.5 mm stablizer bar, automatic self-leveling and twin-tube shock absorbers
|Brakes:||Hydraulic power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, EBS, BA and TPMS|
|Tires:||Bridgestone Dueler H/T 275/60 R20 BSW 864II all-seasons|
|Fuel capacity:||26.0 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined MPG|
|Turning Circle:||41.3 feet|
|Curb Weight:||5,963 pounds|
|Approach Angle:||20.9 degrees|
|Breakover Angle:||22.3 degrees|
|Departure Angle:||20.7 degrees|