Surprisingly luxurious and easy to drive, the 2018 Nissan Armada offers ample power, room and utility. With three rows of seats, robust towing limits and sophisticated four-wheel-drive capability, the Armada capably handles both the daily grind and the road less traveled.
Some of the Armada's special sauce comes from the Armada sharing its bones with the upmarket Infiniti QX80. It's the same SUV from Nissan's luxury division. There are some differences between the two models, and certainly the Armada lacks the Infiniti's more refined details, but overall the design and fit-and-finish rises above those of a standard SUV.
There's also plenty of room to highlight all that interior goodness. The Armada's total cabin space is larger than many of its competitors, and offers 16 cubic feet of luggage space behind its upright third row. Folding all rows opens up nearly 95 cubic feet of cargo space, which is better than average — less space than a Ford Expedition, but more than a Chevrolet Tahoe. The Armada also brakes, steers and handles with surprising coordination, and the 5.6-liter V8 engine delivers hearty acceleration.
There are a few drawbacks to the Armada. Fuel economy is poor even for a big SUV, the third-row isn't that roomy (for adults at least), and the infotainment interface is dated. But as an overall package that can tackle outdoor pursuits or the suburban mean streets with equal aplomb, the 2018 Nissan Armada is a heavyweight.
The 2018 Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV that seats eight passengers. Second-row captain's chairs are available on the top Platinum trim and reduce seating to seven. All Armada trims use a 5.6-liter V8 engine (390 horsepower, 394 pound-feet of torque) paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. The Armada's trim levels start at the SV, move up to the midgrade SL, and finish with the nearly fully loaded Platinum.
The standard SV trim starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, roof rails, side steps, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a reclining second-row bench split seat and a 60/40-split third-row seat.
Tech features include Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen display, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, two USB media inputs and two USB charge-only ports.
The optional Driver package adds a power liftgate, foglights, a power-adjustable third-row seat, an auto-dimming mirror and a trailering package.
The SL trim level includes the Driver package items plus 20-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, remote engine start, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-preferences memory, leather upholstery, leather door trim, a 120-volt power outlet, and an enhanced 360-degree top-down parking camera with moving-object detection and warning.
The SL's optional Premium package adds a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, forward and rearward emergency automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The range-topping Platinum adds the SL's optional equipment along with different 20-inch wheels, speed-sensitive steering (requires less effort at slow speeds), heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear-seat entertainment system and an upgraded rearview mirror than can display a constant video feed from the rearview camera.
Two packages are available for the Armada Platinum. The Captain's Chairs package replaces the second-row bench seats with two bucket seats and a center console with a padded armrest, and the Platinum Reserve package adds special exterior trim and two-tone leather upholstery.