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2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs Armada

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs Armada

2020 Pathfinder vs Armada - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

There’s a strong demand for three-row SUVs. When preparing to buy a new SUV, many people will be looking at Nissan’s latest lineup. Both the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder and the 2020 Nissan Armada prove to be great family haulers.

For years, the midsize Nissan Pathfinder has remained a popular pick. Drivers love its comfortable interior and class-leading towing abilities. Easy-to-use features also help make the Pathfinder a satisfying choice.

The full-size Nissan Armada is even more versatile. Its truck-based frame ensures effortless towing and a solid off-road performance. For 2020, heated outside mirrors are now standard. In this head-to-head SUV comparison, we’ll find whether you should buy the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder or the 2020 Nissan Armada.

Size and Styling

When first checking out these SUVs, potential buyers will immediately notice a big difference in size. The Pathfinder is about 198.5 inches long. By comparison, its full-size sibling measures out at 208 inches long. A wider body also highlights the Armada’s larger stature. Drivers who often need to park in crowded areas will prefer the smaller Pathfinder. Squeezing the Armada into a downtown parking space will be more difficult.

In terms of styling, the Pathfinder looks more like a crossover as opposed to a traditional SUV. Many people like the Pathfinder's refined look. Drivers who desire a more adventurous look will have their eye on the new Pathfinder SV Rock Creek Edition. A more rugged lower bumper and special wheels add another degree of toughness. Blacked-out accents also help the Rock Creek Edition to make its presence known.

In comparison to the Pathfinder, the Armada is a bolder-looking vehicle. It has the appearance of a genuine luxury vehicle. Larger headlights and a unique body design help the Armada to stand out. A new 22-inch wheel package is available as an option.

Both of these three-row models can accommodate multiple passengers. While the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has room for seven, the 2020 Nissan Armada can hold up to eight people. Despite the Armada being the larger SUV, it doesn’t provide more room to stretch out.

There’s 2.3 inches more legroom in the Pathfinder’s third row. This is a key benefit for drivers who need to accommodate adult family members. The Pathfinder also provides just a touch more legroom in its other two rows. However, a wider cabin does enable the Armada to provide more shoulder room.

The Pathfinder provides 16.2 cubic feet of storage space behind its third row, which is slightly less than the Armada’s 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the down all of the Armada’s rear seats increases maximum cargo space to 95.4 cubic feet. Nissan lists the Pathfinder with a maximum cargo capacity of 79.5 cubic feet. The Armada is perfect for parents who need to transport their child's college dorm supplies.

According to some car reviewers, the Nissan Pathfinder’s outward visibility is among the worse in its class. Because of the Pathfinder’s thick roof pillars, drivers must pay more attention to blind spots. Although the Armada’s tall hood somewhat hinders visibility of the road, large windows and large side mirrors give it an edge over the Pathfinder.


Nissan only offers the Pathfinder with a single powertrain. However, it proves to be quite effective. Rated to push out 285 horsepower, the Pathfinder’s V6 gets the job done without any issues. Fuel efficiency is enhanced by a continuous variable transmission.

Powering the Armada is a brawny V8 engine, which is rated by Nissan to churn out 390 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic gearbox helps the Armada to elevate its performance capabilities.

The Nissan Pathfinder is strong for a V6-powered family vehicle. However, there’s do denying the Armada’s beastly kick under the hood. It can hit 60 mph in about 5.9 seconds. Meanwhile, drivers can expect the less powerful Pathfinder to deliver a 0-60 time of 8.4 seconds.

When it comes to towing, the Pathfinder ranks among the best in the midsize crossover segment. It can easily handle the chore of pulling up to 6,000 pounds. However, a heavy-duty frame and a more potent engine make the Armada even more suitable for moving a big load. Drivers can use the Armada’s brawn to tow up to 8,500 pounds. An auto-leveling rear suspension also helps bolster the Armada’s towing abilities.

Drivers looking to spend less money on gas will prefer the Nissan Pathfinder. EPA estimates for the Pathfinder stand at 20 mpg town/27 mpg freeway on regular unleaded. Don’t expect the Armada to be nearly as economical. It returns an estimated 14 mpg town/19 mpg highway. When taking a road trip in the Armada, owners will have to stop far more frequently to refuel.

In terms of road handling, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder feels stable in most situations. A car-based platform helps limit body roll around curves. However, ride comfort is just fair when traveling over battered pavement. Although the Armada is bigger and heavier, many people say it drives like a smaller SUV. Because of the Armada’s excellent maneuverability, drivers aren’t intimidated. Its ride comfort is comparable to that of the Pathfinder.

Folks who plan to go off-roading will favor the Armada. Although the AWD-equipped Pathfinder will have no trouble going down a camping trail, the Armada’s extra ground clearance will come in handy when approaching tougher terrain. A sturdier frame also helps the Armada to better absorb rough ground. Both of these SUVs will deliver a solid performance on snow-covered streets.

In regard to long-term reliability, the Pathfinder receives a 2.5 rating out of 5.0 rating. On the other hand, J.D. Power gives the Armada a 3.5 rating. This could be a factor for drivers who prioritize dependability.

Comfort, Options, and Performance

With an estimated starting MSRP of $31,680, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder is priced competitively for a three-row SUV. Prices for the 2020 Nissan Armada are substantially steeper. It has an MSRP of $47,100. Pathfinder buyers stand to save more than $15,000.

The base Pathfinder’s strong list of standard equipment also makes it a good buy for the money. Its NissanConnect infotainment features an 8.0-inch color touchscreen. Family-friendly features, like six USB ports and tri-zone automatic climate control, are also standard on the Pathfinder. Satellite radio is another key feature.

Although the base Armada is more expensive, it allows families to experience more luxury. Heated front seats help to make cold winters less of an issue. Buyers will also receive a 13-speaker Bose premium audio system, which sounds much better than the base Pathfinder’s six-speaker stereo. Navigation is built into its infotainment system. On the downside, Nissan only equips the base Armada with four USB ports. Also, tri-zone automatic temperature control is not standard.

Upper Pathfinder trims rival the Armada’s luxuriousness. This is especially true for the range-topping Pathfinder Platinum. It provides heated/cooled front seats, second-row heating, and a touch-less tailgate. A rear entertainment system is optional. While the Pathfinder Platinum has an MSRP of $42,920, the top-of-the-line Armada Platinum has an MSRP of $60,530.

Although the Pathfinder is a good SUV, some automotive reviewers criticize its rather dated-looking cabin. However, the interior materials are of high quality. There’s also only a hint of wind noise at highway speeds.

The Armada is clearly focused more on luxury. Its cabin has an elegant feel. High-end touches, like genuine wood trim and metal accents, help separate the Armada from the Pathfinder.


In the event of a collision, the Nissan Pathfinder will provide great protection. It received good scores in the federal government's crash tests, including a five-star overall rating. Top Safety Pick honors from the IIHS further highlight the Pathfinder’s security.

Based on its NHTSA four-star overall safety rating, the Nissan Armada isn’t quite as secure as the Pathfinder. Aside from providing less frontal protection, it’s also more prone to experiencing a rollover accident.

The good news is that Nissan outfits the Armada with some features that will help drivers to avoid a crash. A pre-collision system with automated panic braking and smart cruise control come standard. Parking sensors also make this big SUV more manageable in crowded places. Meanwhile, standard Rear Door Alert reminds busy parents to check the backseat for children and pets. While the base Pathfinder misses out on adaptive cruise control, it does receive a pre-collision braking system and Rear Door Alert.

Both vehicles offer some optional safety tech. While blind-spot monitoring can save lives on multi-lane roads, the surround-view camera with Moving Objection Detection simplifies parking. Reverse automatic braking is exclusively available on the Armada.

Buying Tip:

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Which Model to Choose?

Drivers looking to spend less than $35,000 should strongly consider buying the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder. It’s a legitimate bargain in comparison to the 2020 Nissan Armada. However, there are quite a few reasons why someone would choose the Armada over the Pathfinder.

Nissan’s Endurance V8 engine allows the Armada to deliver a more muscular performance. It offers quicker off-the-line acceleration and has a higher towing capacity. The Armada’s truck-based design and higher ground clearance also enable it to better attack off-road trails.

The Pathfinder is the more practical SUV. A much higher fuel economy rating enables Pathfinder buyers to save a lot of money at the pump. This is especially true for folks who will be commuting on a daily basis. Although the Pathfinder may not be as rugged as the Armada, it’s still a great multi-purpose vehicle. Very few models in the segment can tow more weight than the Pathfinder.

Both of these SUVs are stylish in their own way. While the Armada has a bolder exterior, the Pathfinder Rock Edition looks just as tough. On the other hand, some people will love the Armada’s unique shape.

When it comes to overall passenger comfort, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder actually edges out the 2020 Nissan Armada. Families will have more legroom in all three rows. Whether traveling locally or heading out of town, adults will be far happier riding in the Pathfinder’s third row. Most people will also have no complaints about the Pathfinder’s cargo hold, which provides just a tad less storage space.

The Pathfinder yet again comes out ahead in the safety department. Some buyers will appreciate its greater crash protection from the front. Automatic panic braking is standard on both models. Although Nissan does not offer the Pathfinder with rear automatic braking, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

In conclusion, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder is the best choice for most families. It’s affordable and comfortable. There are also enough standard features to satisfy most people. Drivers seeking a cooler look should go for the Pathfinder Rock Edition.

The 2020 Nissan Armada’s higher price tag cannot be overlooked. Although the Armada is clearly more powerful than the Pathfinder, its stronger acceleration can’t mask its poor fuel economy. Most drivers will find the Pathfinder’s kick to be strong enough. However, people who simply need the capabilities of a truck-based SUV should pick the Armada.

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