In the full-size SUV class, the GM family of the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL dominate the class. Every other model in this group just seems to try for second or third place. But why is that? Well I spent a week with a 2014 Nissan Armada to try and answer this question.
The Armada happens to be the oldest model in the class, being introduced back in 2004. You wouldn’t know that by looking at the exterior as it still looks fresh with such design details as a large grille and headlights, flared out fenders, a unique roofline, and twenty-inch wheels. The interior got some much needed updates back in `08 with improved materials and a revised dashboard layout. These changes again make the Armada feel younger than it actually is. However the infotainment system does reveal how old this vehicle is with a somewhat dated interface and chunky graphics. Space is very generous for the first and second row, while the third row is best reserved for kids or being folded into the floor to increase cargo space from 20 to 57.7 cubic feet of space.
Under the hood is a 5.6L V8 engine with 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque, paired up with a five-speed automatic and optional four-wheel drive. The V8 does a fine job of moving the Armada’s curb weight of 5,841 pounds and the five-speed automatic delivers crisp shifts. But the downside comes in fuel economy as the EPA rates the Armada at 12 City/18 Highway/14 Combined. My week average landed at 12.4 MPG. As for the ride, the Armada is a comfortable highway cruiser, but does let in a slight amount of wind and road noise. On rougher surfaces, the Armada is very truck-like as it communicates every imperfection on the road.
There is one saving grace to the Armada and that is the price. A base Armada with 2WD will set you back $36,890. My as-tested Armada Platinum with 4WD was $53,595.00 and that included navigation, leather, heated seats for the first and second row, dual-zone climate control, a DVD player, and much more.
But even with that price tag, the Armada is just outclassed. While the value and nice interior are there, the poor fuel economy and ride quality just put it way behind the competition. Unless you get a smoking deal on an Armada, it's best that you pass on it.
Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Armada, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Trim: Platinum 4X4
Engine: 5.6L V8
Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 317 @ 5,200
Torque @ RPM: 385 @ 3,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 12/18/14
Curb Weight: 5,841 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Canton, TN
Base Price: $52,360.00
As Tested Price: $53,595.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
Floor & Cargo Mats - $240.00