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The spacious Nissan Armada is a vehicle that will catch the attention of customers who need three rows of seating and prefer to drive powerful models. For this model year, the Armada has been given a lot of refreshing upgrades. The SUV looks modern on the interior and exterior, and it has many high-tech components that people will appreciate on a regular basis.
Four trims are available with the 2021 Nissan Armada. The SV is the base model, and the SL and newly available Midnight Edition are the mid-level options. Keep in mind that the jump from the SV to the SL is more significant than the jump from the SL to the Midnight Edition. At the high end of the spectrum, there's the refined Platinum trim. It stands out in several ways.
While the trims are distinct from each other in many areas, they all share the same powertrain. The Nissan SUV runs on a V8 that has a displacement of 5.8 liters. This engine provides the vehicle with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This amount of capability is quite impressive, and it gives the SUV the ability to tow up to 8,500 pounds.
If anyone plans on driving in rough conditions, he/she should strongly consider getting an Armada with four-wheel drive. The 4x4 system is ready to engage at any moment and can redirect power to the wheels that can most effectively grip the road or trail. Whether the Armada has 2WD or 4WD, it uses a seven-speed automatic transmission. It comes with manual shift mode.
With a relatively tall cabin and wide frame, the Armada gives passengers a good amount of room to move around in. Leg room in the second row, which is 41 inches, is on par with what the front-row passengers have. In the third row, there's about 28 inches of leg room. This might not be ideal for adults on long road trips, but having those extra seats can be important to many potential buyers.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Armada SV vs SL Trim Levels. What is the difference?
As mentioned, all of the trims of the Nissan Armada have the same mechanical components. The SV, like the other trims, has an auto-leveling rear suspension to smooth out the ride. This is an advanced system that's not typically found in regular vehicles. Handling is great with this model, and despite its large size, it feels responsive and relatively agile.
The SV is the only trim to ride on 18-inch wheels. The others have 20-inch wheels, with the SL having dark machine-finished aluminum-alloy versions. On the outside of the SL, there are LED fog lights to improve visibility when it's hard to see outside. The side mirrors on both of these trims are heated and have LED turn signals integrated into them, but only the SL's have puddle lights and an auto-dimming function. The puddle lights can welcome people to the cabin when the vehicle senses that the key fob is getting closer.
The SL has several other exterior features that make it feel more upscale than the entry-level SV. For instance, its power liftgate is very useful and can make it much easier to load up the cabin when someone's hands are full. The SL's power moonroof brings in more natural light into the seating area, and it can slide or tilt open to let in natural light.
Moving to the inside of the cabin, it's evident that there are many nice features that are standard in the Armada. The SV can treat people to heated front seats and power-adjustable front seats. It has leatherette upholstery on its seats, and its shift knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather.
On the SL, the cabin is upgraded with leather seats. There's even leather on the door trim, and this complements the wood-tone trim that's elsewhere in the cabin. Another difference from the base model is that the SL has a memory system that can remember someone's preferred positions for the driver's seat, steering wheel, and outside mirrors. This can save people from having to fiddle with controls every time someone else has been in the driver's seat.
A few other elements are in place to make the SL more attractive. It has a HomeLink transceiver (which can act as a garage door opener) as well as remote engine start and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Both the SV and SL have a power-adjustable steering column, multiple storage compartments, adequate cabin lighting, intelligent vehicle access, and push-button start.
Looking at the technology in these trims can be helpful when deciding which trim might be best. Nissan has been quite generous with the components that it has made standard in the Armada. They include a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and smartphone compatibility. Both trims have SiriusXM and and Bluetooth as well. Only the SL, though, has a Bose premium audio system with technology that can enhance the sound quality. It has 13 speakers, to include a subwoofer, while the SV only has six.
There aren't too many ways in which the SL has an advantage over the SV in terms of safety. The Armada comes standard with automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking that can slow the SUV down whether it's in drive or reverse, and intelligent lane intervention. Further, there are multiple sensors that can help keep drivers aware of what's around them. Those sensors can keep an eye on blind spots and rear cross traffic. The SL is enhanced with trailer sway control and a 360-degree camera that takes the place of the SV's rear view camera. Having more information is always a positive thing when it comes to staying safe.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Armada SL vs Midnight Edition. What is the difference?
Like the SL, the Midnight Edition has 20-inch wheels. The Midnight Edition has a dark color scheme and a more aggressive nature than the SL does, so it makes sense that its wheels are painted black. It also has black exterior accents and a black grille. Its side mirrors are black, too, and so are the roof rails and badging. Some people really prefer this dark aesthetic.
The SL has many of the same interior features that the SL has. Like the SL, it has a memory system and leather seats. It will likely come as no surprise that the Midnight Edition has dark floor mats, a black headliner, and a black interior trim. While the SL offers the option of getting captain's chairs in the second row, the Midnight Edition has these seats as standard. This takes away one seating position, but at the same time, it adds a greater feeling of spaciousness.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Armada Midnight Edition vs Platinum Trim. What is the difference?
The move from the Midnight Edition to the Platinum is associated with a fairly large increase in price. Once people learn this, their expectations about the Platinum justifiably increase. The good news is that the Platinum doesn't disappoint.
First of all, the Platinum has a higher quality power steering program. It can take the speed of the vehicle into account as it enhances steering precision.
The Platinum appears to be more sophisticated than the other trims when judging it from its exterior details. It's the only one to ride on 22-inch wheels, which have a dark finish. Plus, it has chrome exterior mirrors that help the model shine. The windshield wipers can sense when it's raining, and if so, they can automatically turn on. Also, those windshield wipers come with their own de-icers. Anyone who has driven in temperatures below freezing knows how important this can be.
There are many more impressive elements inside the seating area. The Platinum has heated and cooled front seats, and people in the second row get to take advantage of heated seats, too. The third row has a power-reclining and -folding function, and all seats are trimmed in quilted leather. The steering wheel has contrast stitching to make it look more elegant, and that steering wheel is another one of the components that has a heating element built into it. The Platinum's cabin is decked out with a bird's eye maple wood trim.
Nissan has managed to make the Platinum's infotainment system more appealing than the comprehensive packages on the other trims. In the Platinum, there are five USB ports instead of four. The biggest enhancement is the tri-zone entertainment system. It gives the back-seat passengers two eight-inch monitors to look at, and it comes with a remote control and wireless headphones.
From a safety standpoint, the Platinum has everything that the Midnight Edition has, plus a few more elements. It has the ability to recognize traffic signs so that it can remind drivers of key information. It also has intelligent back-up intervention and an intelligent rear view mirror. The back-up intervention can be useful in preventing certain types of accidents, like those minor fender benders that may occur in a busy parking lot.
The intelligent rear view mirror can be a regular mirror or it can act as a LCD monitor. As a screen, it can display the live feed provided by the camera mounted on the rear of the SUV. A driver can switch between the live feed and traditional mirror by just pushing a button. It can be nice to have this advanced mirror when the cabin is packed with passengers or people that may be blocking the driver's line of sight. Switching to the LCD monitor means that the driver can get a clear view of what's behind the Armada at any time.
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Which Trim to Choose?
With the Nissan Armada, the reality of the situation is that all the trims are appealing. The SUV has a powerful engine with available four-wheel drive, and all models have the size that many customers prefer. The Armada sits about nine inches off the ground, so it gives people a high perch and plenty of ground clearance. A real benefit of driving the Armada is that its rear seats can be lowered to expand cargo capacity to about 95 cubic feet.
All of that being said, the most affordable trim may be the best one to pick. If someone doesn't necessarily need all the extras associated with the higher trims, then the SV would be just fine. After all, it has multiple driver-assist systems, comfortable leatherette seats, and heated front seats to make things more cozy. Its infotainment system is more than adequate, with a large touchscreen and navigation.
However, if a customer really prefers leather seats, nicer wheels, and a power liftgate for convenience, then he/she will want to take a close look at the SL. The Midnight Edition is very similar to the SL, except it has the blackout features and monochromatic color scheme that some prospective buyers are drawn to. In addition, these two trims have a power moonroof, which could be on someone's "must-have list."
Finally, the Platinum is obviously the most luxurious trim, but it comes at a steep price. Its starting price is almost $65,000, and this just won't be reasonable for the average consumer. For all of that money, someone will get the most comprehensive technology and safety package, more elegant upholstery, and heated and ventilated front seats. It will definitely satisfy customers who have the budgets that allow them to splurge a bit.
• Compare the 2020 Nissan Armada Trim Levels