Nissan’s full size adventure craft entered 2019 ready for family adventures both on and off road. The 2019 Nissan Armada beefed up its standard equipment inventory for the entire Armada stable with the addition of the following important safety features: Rear Door Alert (RDA); Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC); Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB); and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW) to all grade levels. The RDA feature is the industry’s first such system that utilizes the horn, in addition to door sensors and a message display in the center instrument panel. It was designed to remind drivers to check the back seat after the vehicle is parked. The system also detects if a rear door is opened prior to driving, and if it is not opened again at the end of the trip, the system can remind customers that something might be left in the rear seat. The system is simple and unobtrusive and may be turned on or off as desired.
The flagship Armada accommodates up to eight along with ample, flexible cargo space and it’s the largest and most powerful vehicle in the Nissan’s SUV and crossover portfolio, with a design that hearkens back to the Patrol, one of Nissan’s most beloved global off-road vehicles. For 2020, Armada adds a new 22″ Wheel Package with 22×8-inch 14-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels and 275/50R22 all-season tires (standard on Platinum Reserve grade). In addition, heated outside mirrors are now standard on all grade levels.
POWER TO SPARE
Providing power for all grade levels is a front longitudinally mounted, 5.6-liter Endurance DOHC, 32-valve V8 engine with Direct Injection that produces 390 horsepower at 5,800 rpm along with 394 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Energy is geared to the driving wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The Armada has a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds for both 4WD and 2WD models (when properly equipped). Armada meets the current J2807 towing certification standard.
Trim levels include: the base Armada SV starting at $50,100 available as a 4×4 only, an upscale Armada SV, the Armada Platinum, and the Armada Platinum Reserve. All trims except the SV level are available in either 4×2 or 4×4 drive configurations. The Platinum Reserve 4×4 starts at $68,030. Destination and Handling for all is $1,395.
In addition, there’s an impressive array of other standard features, including Nissan Navigation, NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM®, an 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control, heated front seats and 13-speaker Bose® audio system. Kudos for old school, easy to use round sound system knobs for tuning and volume.
As with the Armada’s first-generation, the 2020 Armada features a rugged body-on-frame construction, for a balance of strength, durability and utility. Its persona is both powerful and refined, with an aggressive stance and leading off with Nissan’s iconic V-motion front grille and standard LED low-beam headlights with halogen high beams and LED Daytime Running Lights – maintaining the previous generation’s rugged image but with added contemporary style. In the rear, bold combination lights include LED taillights.
Front fenders include functional air intake vents. Chrome-plated, electro-chromic anti-dazzle side mirrors with memory, heat and puddle lamps are standard on SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve grades. The liftgate includes an auto-closure feature and available power function (standard on SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve, optional on SV).
Other exterior features are body color front and rear bumpers, a black color grille with chrome trim accent, chrome trim accent side window moldings, chrome door handles, privacy glass, dark-painted overfenders (SV and SL models) and side step rails, dark-painted roof rails and front and rear parking sensors. Also available are rain-sensing front windshield wipers and front wiper de-icer.
The Platinum Reserve grade adds a dark chrome front grille, door handles, outside mirrors and 22-inch dark chrome wheels.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Entering the spacious cabin, the Armada blends style, roominess and premium interior comfort, with particular emphasis on quietness and rapidly responsive interior cooling and heating. The interior offers 40.0 inches of 2nd row headroom and 41.0 inches of 2nd row legroom. The standard seating configuration includes front heated 8-way power-adjustable bucket seats with large center console, 2nd row fold flat 60/40 split bench seat and 3rd row 60/40-split folding bench seat, which folds flat into the floor for extra cargo carrying flexibility. A 3rd row seat power-folding feature is standard on SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve grades. Armada SL and Platinum models are also available with optional 2nd row Captain’s Chairs with removable 2nd row console. The Platinum Reserve comes with standard Captain’s Chairs. Also included is a standard Intelligent Rear View Mirror (I-RVM)4, which uses a high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle to project a clear image onto an LCD monitor built into the standard rearview mirror. A switch located at the bottom of the mirror allows the driver to access either the traditional rearview mirror system or the new Intelligent Rear View Mirror.
The standard Bose® audio system features AM/FM/SXM/MP3/CD with 13 speakers and subwoofer and a digital amplifier providing rich and realistic sound reproduction. All 2020 Nissan Armadas also include SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) and standard Nissan Navigation System with NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM®, an 8.0-inch multi-touch display, HD Radio, SiriusXM® Travel Link with three years of trial access (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), Enhanced Voice Recognition and Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant.
Armada Platinum and Platinum Reserve models add a standard DVD Family Entertainment System with dual 8.0-inch head restraint DVD monitors, USB and HDMI ports, two VTR jacks , two wireless headphones and remote controller. The wireless headphones offer three types of virtual surround modes (cinema, music and game) to match optimal sound for each media.
My test 2020 Nissan Armada was a Platinum Reserve model in the 4WD configuration. The exterior finish was Pearl White Tricoatmetallic, while the interior was executed in Almond and Charcoal tones with wood trim accents and contrasting double stitching. The base sticker was set at $63,630. While the addition of the Platinum Reserve Package, Captain’s Chair Package, 3-row carpeted floor mats and carpeted cargo mat, and Destination charges elevated the final tally to $71,730.
In addition to comfort and convenience, The Armada delivers utility and functional versatility. Available is a power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory, front footwell and step lamps, a rear step lamp, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Remote Engine Start System. A large sliding moonroof with front tilt and rear slide is standard on Platinum and Platinum Reserve.
The full sized Nissan Armada SUV lineup has managed to stand out in a crowd since its 2004 introduction, and the Platinum Reserve ups the ante. Despite many Nissan admirers tending to think of the Armada as an enlarged Pathfinder, it is actually a great deal more.
The Armada is high, wide and handsome and the power is plentiful from the potent 5.6-liter, Endurance® DOHC, 32-valve V8 engine with Direct Injection. Acceleration is instantly responsive, and handling is surprisingly nimble, despite the Armada’s “bigger-than- a- breadbox” mass. It corners well, with minimal body roll, and the ride quality is extremely comfortable.
The engine also incorporates Nissan’s advanced VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) technology, which combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake and exhaust sides to provide high performance and crisp response. Throttle response is enhanced by directly controlling the intake valve (rather than using the traditional method of controlling intake with a throttle valve) and valve timing and opening with non-variable camshafts.
The advanced 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching aids in enhancing fuel efficiency through use of its wide gear ratios, ATF (automatic transmission fluid) warmer and adoption of idle neutral control. A 26-gallon fuel tank provides an ample driving range. Fuel economy is rated at 13-mpg city/18 mpg highway 15 mpg combined for Armada 4WD models.
The All-Mode 4-wheel drive system features Auto/4H/4LO modes, electronically controlled part-time transfer case and 2.70:1 4LO gear ratio. Under normal driving conditions, the system operates in two-wheel drive mode, but it can distribute torque to all four wheels when road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent of torque can go to the front wheels on demand).
Responsive braking is provided by a 4-wheel disc brake system with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Also standard are 2-wheel or 4-wheel limited-slip (ABLS) and a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system (which includes a deactivation switch). Steering is provided by an engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system.
Armada’s independent double-wishbone front and rear suspension provides smooth ride comfort and responsive handling for both on-road and off-road driving. The front stabilizer bar is 36 mm in diameter, while the rear measures 26 mm.
THE FINAL TAKE
The 2020 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve 4WD represents an ideal choice in a full-size, content loaded SUV at a lower cost than several competitors.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Nissan Armada Reserve 4WD
Base Price: $63,530.
Price as Tested: $71,730.
Engine Type and Size: 5.6-liter Endurance DOHC, 32-valve V8 with Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 390 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 394 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / 4WD
Suspension: Front – Independent double-wishbone with 36 mm stabilizer bar and Hitachi twin-tube shock absorbers.
Rear – Independent double-wishbone with 26.5 mm stabilizer bar, automatic self-leveling, Hitachi twin-tube shock absorbers and Hill Start Assist
Brakes: Hydraulic power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, EBD, BA, HSA and TPMS.
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 275/50 R22 111H mounted on 7-“V”-spoke dark chrome alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 121.1 inches
Length Overall: 208.9 inches
Width: 79.9 inches
Height: 75.8 inches
Curb Weight: 5,963 lbs.
Turning Circle: 41.3 ft.
Approach Angle: 20.9 degrees
Departure Angle: 22.3 degrees
Breakover angle: 20.7 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 26 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 13 mpg city / 18-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.37
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
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