To feed the big-SUV market with big power, Nissan stuffs every Armada with a 400-horsepower V-8. That gives even the base model plenty of scoot, and it comes with an impressive 8500-pound towing capacity. Offered in either rear- or four-wheel drive, the Armada is a three-row barge of entertainment and poshness. At the upper edge of the Armada trim levels, quilted leather heated seats, headrest-mounted display screens, and open-pore wood trim pieces give this Nissan a bit of Bentley energy. Recent updates have gifted the Armada with more power and freshened-up styling, but there’s no avoiding the fact big power requires solutions by the gallon. While it’s not the best of the mondo-SUV bunch when compared to the Chevy Tahoe, Jeep Wagoneer, or Ford Expedition, the Armada’s style and powerful engine make it strikingly charming.
What’s New for 2023?
After the Armada received a major refresh for 2021, the 2023 Nissan SUV’s changes are subtle. Nissan adds Amazon Alexa to Armada SV, SL, and Platinum. Remote start, LED fog lights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror have all been added as standard equipment for Armada SV. The 2023 Armada SL adds a heated steering wheel to its bevy of standard luxuries.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the SL trim is the best value. In addition to all the desirable standard features it inherits from the base SV model, it comes with a 13-speaker Bose audio system, 20-inch rims, leather interior appointments, a power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and a sunroof. The SL also unlocks the optional second-row captain’s chairs, which we’d add.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A powerful 5.6-liter V-8 with a civilized seven-speed automatic transmission is the Armada’s only powertrain. The engine, which gained 10 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque in 2021, makes 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel. It pairs with either rear- or four-wheel drive. We haven’t track-tested an Armada with the revised V-8, but we have driven one and appreciated its effortless thrust. Despite its large proportions, the Armada drove surprisingly well thanks to its fully independent suspension, but its handling doesn’t match that of the nimbler Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Our test vehicle had a smooth and hushed ride even though it rolled on 22-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard). Its soft-riding nature didn’t negatively affect our sense of control, but its steering was imprecise and slow to react, which allowed the SUV to wander on the highway like a member of its Spanish namesake.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The maximum towing capacity for the 2023 Nissan Armada is a hefty 8500 pounds. That’s true for rear- and four-wheel drive models alike. That’s not as much as the Jeep Wagoneer, but it’s above rivals such as the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
All Armadas are powered by the same V-8 engine and automatic transmission, a combination that makes the Nissan less fuel efficient than most of its rivals. The EPA estimates the rear-drive version will earn 14 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway. Adding four-wheel drive into the mix reduces both numbers by 1 mpg. Once we can run one on our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the Armada’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
A cushy and spacious interior supplements the Armada’s classy outer shell. Its cabin is well insulated from outside noise, and most materials are attractive and soft. The Armada has three rows of seats and can accommodate up to eight passengers, but capacity drops to seven with the optional second-row captain’s chairs. These fold easily and quickly with a handle that springs the seat forward; resetting the seat must be done manually, however. The power-folding third row (standard on the SL and up) can be raised and lowered via buttons in the cargo area or on the third row’s armrests, but snails move faster. Compared with newer rivals, the Armada feels equally fancy—if not fancier— but its third-row legroom isn’t as generous. The top-of-the-line Platinum model has quilted seat surfaces and imitation open-pore wood trim, accentuating the luxury-SUV ambiance.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Armada features a large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with rotary controls for volume and tuning. The unit sprouts from the top of the center stack and comes with built-in navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio (subscription required), standard Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless smartphone charging. The mid-level SL model adds a 13-speaker Bose audio system, and the top-of-the-line Platinum trim features a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 8.0-inch screens.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every Armada has a host of standard driver-assistance technology. For more information about the Armada’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Armada’s warranty coverages are more or less average. Nissan also doesn’t offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance, unlike the Tahoe and Yukon.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Nissan Armada
front-engine, rear- or four-wheel-drive, 7- or 8-passenger, 4-door wagon
BASE PRICE (C/D EST)
Trim level 1, $49,000
DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
339 in3, 5552 cm3
400 hp @ 5800 rpm
413 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Wheelbase: 121.1 in
Length: 208.9 in
Width: 79.9 in
Height: 75.8 in
Passenger volume: 156–157 ft3
Cargo volume: 17 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 5700–6000 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.8–5.9 sec
1/4 mile: 14.6–14.7 sec
Top speed: 130 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 15–16/13–14/18–19 mpg
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