2020 Nissan Armada Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The Nissan Armada is not a vehicle you hear a lot about. This is both good and bad. Good, because the full-size SUV hasn't run into many troubles since its introduction in 2014. Bad, because it doesn't have the same name recognition as the Chevy Tahoe or the Cadillac Escalade.
Nevertheless, the Armada continues to sell well for the Japanese auto manufacturer. To the point that the design is now in its second generation. There are several good things about the SUV for consumers to pick up on. However, there are also a few issues that may pull them elsewhere.
What's New for 2020?
There are minor changes to this model year of the Nissan Armada. For instance, its four trim levels have received small tweaks in their standard features and options. For instance, there is now an ability to upgrade to a 22-inch wheel package. In addition, across all trims, heated outside mirrors are standard.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 Nissan Armada – The Pros
1. Solid Reliability Rating
The 2020 Nissan Armada has much the same profile as the company's other vehicles when it comes to reliability. Its current rating is 3.5 out of 5.0. This makes it second in a group of 14 full-size SUVs. In total, the average annual repair costs hover around $600, much lower than similar vehicles by other manufacturers.
2. Appealing Interior
Today's consumers are looking for performance as well as comfort as they drive. The 2020 Nissan Armada provides that with a high-quality interior. The standard trim features leatherette-trimmed seats and soft interior lights. Higher-end trims add more seating features, wood trim on the dash, and separate climate controls for the driver and passengers.
3. Sound Absorption for a Quiet Ride
While comfort is key for the interior, soundproofing is as well. Without it, road noises and those of the engine seep in. The 2020 Nissan Armada has fixed that by increasing the insulation in the dash. In addition, sensors built into the exterior detect noises and filter them out. The result is a quiet, real-time ride for the driver and passengers.
4. Ample Engine Power
The 2020 Nissan Armada is no slouch when it comes to engine capability. No matter the trim, each version comes with a 5.6L V8 engine with dual overhead cams and 32 valves. With 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, the SUV can tow a maximum of 8,500 pounds.
5. Smooth Ride No Matter the Surface
When it comes to powertrain technology, the 2020 Nissan Armada has the tools that keep the ride not only smooth but also smarter. It comes with a 7-speed automatic transmission that allows the driver to switch from standard driving to sport mode. It also gives an option to switch to all-wheel-drive if they have that capability.
In addition, the transmission is designed for maximum operations. It has a wider gear ratio and an automatic transmission fluid warmer. Together, these allow for more power at lower speed as well as a quieter engine when it's being pushed.
6. Small Price Increase Between Trims
There are some full-size SUVs out there, particularly those in the luxury category, that feature huge price jumps between their standard and upper-end trims. This can be as much as $10,000 between two versions.
How the 2020 Nissan Armada works these increases to maintain a consumer’s budget is through an even distribution of price increases. For instance, the difference between the S and SL trims is $5,000, and this is likely due to all-wheel-drive being standard. While there's a $7,000 span between the SL and Platinum, it's only $4,000 to go from the Platinum to the Platinum Reserve. In the end, consumers can stay within their budgets for the two trim categories.
7. Enhanced Speed for a Full-Size SUV
The Armada is a three-ton SUV that seats seven and can haul several cubic feet of material. Yet, it has a pickup that some full-size sedans can't match. On average, it can go from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds -- 5.9, to be exact.
8. Eight-Seat Option
There are two seating options for the 2020 Nissan Armada. The first is a standard second-row of captain's chairs and a third row of bench seating. The second is two rows of bench seating. While this may seem awkward, the Armada offers automatic second-row seat folding to allow the third-row passengers to exit with ease.
9. The Intelligent Mobility Suite
Nissan's Intelligent Mobility technology is their version of driver assist packages. It features several options to keep the vehicle safe while helping to move toward a zero-collision environment.
For instance, Intelligent Cruise Control adjusts the vehicle's speed, so the driver doesn't have to constantly brake and accelerate in fluctuating traffic. When sensors detect a sudden slowdown, the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning alerts the driver to slow down. Other Intelligent items in the suite include tools to detect blind spots and cars or other objects when backing up.
10. Connecting with Alexa
Many SUV manufacturers now include Android Auto and Apple Car Play as connectivity standards. The 2020 Nissan Armada goes one step further. Its NissanConnect Services packages allows the driver to interact with some of the vehicle's features through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Therefore, consumers can remote lock or start the Armada via voice recognition.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 Nissan Armada – The Cons
1. Limited Engine Choices
Frankly, there's only one engine choice. Though it is a powerhouse, some consumers want the option to choose something that's more economical. Perhaps an engine similar to Chrysler's EcoDiesel. Not only is it fuel efficient, but the EcoDiesel is more powerful than some V8 engines.
2. Poor Fuel Economy
The reason some consumers want another engine is the powerhouse V8 is a gas-guzzler. It gets a paltry 14 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway. Compared to this, The Armada's cousins, the Nissan Pathfinder and Murano, get an average of 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.
3. Cramped third-row seating
Being a full-size SUV, the 2020 Nissan Armada should have legroom in both the second and third rows. However, while the middle row may be roomy, in either the captain's chairs or bench seat style, consumers find the last row to be cramped. This can be an issue on long trips.
4. Below-average cargo space
It's understandable a full-size SUV like the Armada would have a small amount of storage space with the third row of seats active. However, even with both rows down, the amount of internal storage, 95 cubic feet, is below average of other SUV on the market. The potential reason for this is its boxy design that somewhat shortens its length.
5. Dated Infotainment System
For a car manufacturer that has normally moved ahead of its competitors with its technology, the 2020 Nissan Armada has an infotainment system that is outdated. The system’s plain graphics and clunky interface don't compare to other companies that feature touch screens with smart device capabilities like pinch-and-zoom.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
There's no beating the 2020 Nissan Armada when it comes to towing capacity. It's 8,500-pound maximum towers over competitors like the Ford Expedition and Chevy Tahoe. It also beats them in driver assist technologies.
Another place the Armada rivals the competition is in audio entertainment. All trims come standard with at 13-speaker Bose audio system that is Bluetooth and SiriusXM compatible. SUVs like the Toyota Sequoia have these options as add-on packages.
If there's one place where the Armada falters is in fuel economy. Compared to the other vehicles mentioned here, the Nissan comes in nearly last with is gas-eating V8 engine.
The 2020 Nissan Armada is not the leading full-size SUV out there. Nor does it trail far behind the others. It's somewhere in-between as a vehicle that’s not well known but has good qualities to it.
The best of these is the towing capacity. It's 8,500 pounds is nearly a match for powerhouses like the Ram 1500 pickup. It does this through a 5.6L V8 engine with 32 valves.
Unfortunately, to allow for this power, the Armada's fuel economy suffers. Without any cargo or towing, the SUV gets an average of 13 mpg on the city and highway. When the SUV is fully packed and/or carrying a maximum towing load, that mileage is greatly reduced.
Overall, it will be up to consumer to decide if the Armada is right for them, particularly when Nissan has other SUVs on the market that are more fuel-efficient. The buyer needs to take a test drive to determine if it's a smooth a ride as the company says on their brochure. In addition, they'll have to determine if the Intelligent Mobility options match the driver assist packages of other manufacturers.
When done, it might be best to review and/or drive the other SUVs Nissan makes to determine if one of them is a better fit than this full-size model.
• Why buy a 2019 Nissan Armada? w/ pros vs cons