The verdict: The active 2021 Armada assets some much-needed improvements to accomplish it a added ample SUV, but Nissan went baby while competitors took big leaps.
Versus the competition: While the Armada may acquire beneath autogenous amplitude against its competition, it still offers a able amount hypothesis and absorbing towing accommodation — a accommodation it’s now bigger able to handle.
The additional bearing of Nissan’s Armada full-size SUV debuted as a 2017 model. For 2021, it gets a slight brace that updates its appearance, avant-garde and rear, while abacus sleeker dashboard controls and a beyond touchscreen. In ascendance order, trim levels accessible at barrage are the SV, SL and Platinum (a account S trim is advancing later), with rear- or four-wheel drive available.
While the Chevrolet Tahoe and accompanying GMC Yukon went with absolute redesigns for 2021, Nissan chose to accomplish baby but allusive improvements to its bigger SUV. After finishing additional in our aftermost allegory of full-size SUVs on the backbone of its amount and assurance features, are these updates abundant to put the Armada over the top, or is Nissan falling abaft its competitors? (Compare it actuality with the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia.)
Related: 2021 Nissan Armada Refresh: Added Plush, Added Punch
One of the Armada’s key changes for 2021 is a new look, avant-garde and rear. To my eyes, the added squared-off face and awning actualize a asperous actualization that doesn’t acquire as abundant of the faux exceptional attending of the 2017-20 design. It reminds me a bit of earlier ancestors of the Nissan Patrol, Nissan’s all-around full-size SUV, with which the Armada has aggregate a belvedere aback the 2017 archetypal year.
An artful highlight is the adapted Nissan badging in the signature V-Motion grille. The automaker aboriginal appear the new brand on the Ariya all-electric SUV, but the Armada is the abutting assembly agent accessible with the new badge. I like it alike admitting it’s a baby change — article of a active affair with the Armada.
Nissan has adapted the Armada’s centermost controls, with a abundant cleaner attending that replaces the assortment of buttons on the 2017-20 Armada. The buttons in their abode acquire a faux touchscreen actualization acknowledgment to the piano-black accomplishment and about seamless appearance. It looks good, admitting I anticipate the redesigned Rogue SUV does it alike better.
The centerpiece of the new autogenous is the 12.3-inch touchscreen. It works well, with automated controls and brittle graphics, alike if it aloof appears to be a modern-looking adaptation of Nissan’s earlier touchscreen. Unfortunately, best functions are relegated to a two-thirds allocation of the screen, which I begin frustrating. Native aeronautics gets the absolute screen, but if you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (wireless CarPlay is now standard; Android Auto is still wired), you alone get the two-thirds portion.
More confusingly, the abate one-third ancillary of the awning has functions that assume bombastic or extraneous. In the Armada Platinum I drove, amid the 10 choices of what to affectation in that breadth are analog or agenda alarm displays, turn-by-turn directions, the currently arena audio (even if it’s in the beyond allotment of the screen) or six altered acclimate forecasts. I’d rather acquire an absorbed screen.
A brace of other, accessory quibbles: The affability bulge at the lower appropriate of the affectation was a bit of a amplitude for me to reach, and the driveline selector for four-wheel drive is up and to the appropriate of the accessory selector, which makes it difficult to see all of the choices from a accustomed active position.
Front-seat abundance and afterimage are still able suits, but the second-row captain’s chairs in the Platinum brand I activated are the best seats in the house. There you get admission not alone to the Platinum’s accepted rear ball arrangement but a centermost animate with storage, cupholders and a adequate armrest. Legroom and allowance in the additional row are additionally exemplary.
Not so abundant in the third row, however, at atomic not for adults. The second-row animate compounds legroom further, but clashing in accomplished generations, this animate is at atomic removable, which additionally improves third-row access. If you appetite to accumulate the animate in place, the second-row captain’s chairs additionally tumble and bend to acquiesce cartage to ascend into the back, admitting it’s not as accessible as it could be. The abridgement of amplitude in the third row is a botheration back best competitors — including the Tahoe and abnormally the Expedition — action adult-sized, if not adult-friendly, third-row seating.
The second- and third-row seats can additionally be power-folded from the burden breadth for added burden space. According to Nissan’s measurements, amplitude abaft the third row measures 16.5 cubic feet. Bend bottomward the third row and that increases to 49.9; bend the additional row bottomward forth with it and Nissan says you acquire 95.4 cubic feet.
Also adapted for 2021 is Nissan’s allegiant 5.6-liter Endurance V-8, the Armada’s alone accessible engine. It boasts added application and torque ratings of 400 and 413 pounds-feet, respectively, up from 390 hp and 394 pounds-feet in the 2017-20 Armada — up, that is, if you ample the Armada’s catchbasin with exceptional gas. Use 87-octane approved and application dips to 390. Our analysis agent was abounding with exceptional and … we didn’t absolutely beam a apparent difference. Owners ability be astute to save a few bucks at the pump and stick to approved gas.
Paired with a seven-speed automated transmission, the big V-8 still provides affluence of ability for burghal and artery driving, admitting the manual seems afraid to downshift back you charge added ability while already in motion, and accidental assignment can absorb a abrupt but apparent adjournment as it begrudgingly complies.
Ride and administration are actual trucklike, which is to be accepted for a big body-on-frame SUV. I like the feeling, but competitors action added accord and bluff handling. Steering, meanwhile, requires almost ablaze effort, but it’s not too vague. The Armada doesn’t absolutely feel nimble, but (despite the name) it doesn’t feel like council a boat.
Another key change is the accession of an chip bivouac anchor controller. Previously, the Armada was alone prewired for one, and in our aftermost full-size SUV comparison, we had to acquirement an aftermarket ambassador to cautiously tow our analysis trailer; it concluded up abominably installed by the driver’s larboard knee. The chip ambassador is a baby but acceptable addition. Maximum towing accommodation charcoal 8,500 pounds, which should be added than abundant for weekend toys or a ancestors vacation trailer.
Even with an economically absent transmission, ammunition abridgement was never a able clothing for the Armada, and Nissan estimates that the 2021’s ratings won’t change from antecedent generations, acceptation rear-wheel-drive models are rated at 14/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined and 13/18/15 mpg for 4WD — accumulated abstracts that aisle analogously able rivals by a cogent 2 to 4 mpg.
As a new vehicle, the 2021 Armada has not yet undergone any blast tests, and we additionally acquire yet to analysis its fitment of child-safety seats as allotment of one of Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks.
The Armada does appear with a assembly of accepted avant-garde assurance features, however, as allotment of Nissan’s Assurance Shield 360 suite. That includes advanced blow admonishing with automated emergency braking, dark atom admonishing with blow abstention and rear cross-traffic alert, rear automated emergency braking, and lane abandonment admonishing with braking intervention. The Platinum I collection adds accepted Intelligent Backup Action to abate collisions while reversing.
A camera-based rearview mirror and 360-degree camera arrangement are additionally accepted on the Platinum.
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While we don’t yet acquire appraisement for the 2021 Armada, one of its celebrated strengths has been a almost lower amount compared to best competitors. Previously, a absolutely loaded Armada was absurd to amount abundant added than $65,000, and alike if these updates advance that envelope arctic of $70,000, best competitors can calmly cantankerous the $80,000 mark after blinking an eye.
With that in mind, the Armada charcoal a solid best for those gluttonous a three-row SUV for accidental towing or accustomed about a ample family, alike as the Tahoe and Expedition present added ample options. Alike if the Tahoe’s redesign overshadows the Armada’s improvements, Nissan’s updates for 2021 absolutely accomplish the SUV better, and the abeyant for amount ensures a acceptable best for some.
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