2020 Nissan Armada Review

The Armada is the largest SUV in the Nissan lineup. The current generation as well as its upscale cousin, the Infiniti QX80, are based on the same sixth generation Nissan Patrol platform. Over the years, the Nissan Patrol has gained a reputation as one of the most capable off-road SUVs in the segment, and some of those off-road capabilities are inherited by the Armada.

The current generation of the Armada can haul up to 8 passengers and tow up to 8500 lbs with its powerful Endurance V8 engine. The car has all the specifications to rival the Toyota Land Cruiser, but also competes with the Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Ford Expedition.

Thanks to Nissan Canada, I was loaned the 2020 Nissan Armada Platinum for one week to test drive. Below is my unbiased review.

Compared to the more refined looking QX80, the exterior of the Armada has a tougher, more muscular appearance. It is a boxy design thanks to its Body-On-Frame Chassis. The front fascia of the Armada features large grilles and thick chrome trims. The headlight housings are accompanied by lines of LED signature lights for a slightly more modern look. The bumper consists of a lower air intake, round fog lights, and a large skid plate. 

On the side, the boxy nature of the exterior becomes more prominent. I actually quite enjoy the silhouette of the car except for the protruding rear bumper. The Armada looks like a proper off-road cruiser with high ground clearance and larger interior space. The beautifully crafted 20" dark alloy wheels, the chrome mirror covers, and the distinctive chrome air vents add some sophistication to the side profile.

The rear view of the Armada is perhaps my least favorite. It looks dated with square tail lights, awkwardly positioned decorative chromes, and a bulbous bumper. 

While the Armarda is not the most modern looking SUV on the market, its muscular exterior and the retro look should still appeal to many potential buyers.

The interior of the Armada looks almost identical to that of the QX80. The design of the dash and the center console look rather dated with the implementation of hard plastics and large rounded buttons. At the same time, high quality materials are appointed throughout the cabin. They include glossy wood trims, stitched leather surfaces and soft padded panels for your arms and knees. 

The 8-way power adjustable front seats are very comfortable even for those long road trips. The second row can be equipped with either a three-seat bench or two captain seats. The captain seats in our tester are separated by a huge center console that provides massive amount of storage space. 

Unlike what we see in many of the 3-row SUVs, the captain seats in the Armada do not slide forward. Instead, they can be folded forward to reveal large openings to the 3rd row seats. The downside of this design is that you can't have a child seat latched to the second row seat and still access the 3rd row cabin from the same side. The Pathfinder that we have reviewed before uses the sliding mechanism instead.

The third row seats of the Armada offer slightly less legroom compared to the Pathfinder. The floor of the third row is also raised, meaning the passengers have to bend their knees more when sitting. On the plus side, the seat backs can be reclined electronically, and there are dedicated air vents on the side of the roof. While the second row cabin of the Armada is a very comfortable place to be, the third row cabin should really be reserved for children only. 

Overall, while some parts of the Armada's interior may be archaic, the cabin remains quiet, upscale, and comfortable. This is especially true for the front two rows. 

The infotainment system of the Armada is based on the same interface we have seen in my Nissan and Infiniti vehicles for the last decade. The standard 8" touchscreen display is bright and visible even in harsh lights, but the touch response is slow, and the graphics look like they belong to Windows 95.

The huge array of buttons dedicated to the CD player only reminds us that this infotainment system is really designed for vehicles in the last decade. Of course, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are not supported. Thankfully, every Armada includes navigation, Bluetooth audio, and a fantastic 13-speaker Bose audio system. 

The small monochromatic instrument display, while useful, looks like it is copied from the first generation iPod. The menu is easy to control via the buttons and toggle switches on the steering wheel.

Our Platinum tester comes with a dedicated rear entertainment system that includes two screens behind the front headrests, wireless headphones, and a dedicated remote control. A quick reference guide is thoughtfully included for the rear passengers.

Safety and Driver Assistance
While the infotainment system of the Armada may seem obsolete, the added safety features certainly brings the car to the present. 

The 2020 Armada comes with the following standard safety features:
  • Intelligent Emergency Braking
  • Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
  • Intelligent Distance Control
  • Intelligent Backup intervention
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
The following features are optional:
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Intelligent Lane Intervention
  • Intelligent Blind Spot intervention
  • Lane Departure Warning
It earns 4 star safety rating from NHTSA.


The Armada comes with a powerful 5.6L V-8 engine that produces 390hp of horsepower and 394lb.ft. of torque. All that engine power is coupled to the wheels via a 7 speed automatic transmission. The Armada can be paired with either a standard Rear Wheel Drive or an optional All Wheel Drive system. The powertrain combination propels the Armada from 0-100km in only 6.8 seconds. It can tow up to 8500 lbs, 2500 lbs more than the Pathfinder. Driving the Armada around town, it is easy to notice the ample low end torque and the satisfying exhaust sounds from the V-8. 

For a car this size, the Armada has decent stopping power thanks to the larger and wider wheels. The steering is not particularly responsive and lacks feedback. The soft suspension helps to deliver a comfortable ride, but the handling suffers. Without the hydraulic body roll control system like the one in the QX80, the Armada does tend to experience more body roll in corners. However, the independent rear suspensions help to keep the car under control despite the body roll.  

Taking the Armada through rougher terrain is quite a pleasant experience. Combining high ground clearance with soft suspensions, and the intelligent 4x4 system,  The Armada cruises through the bumpy sandy road with ease.

The added off-road fun comes at a price. The Armarda is one of the least fuel efficient SUVs on the market. It is rated at 17.7L/100km city, 12.9L/100km highway, and 15.4L/100km combined.

Cargo Space & Storage

The Armada has 16.5 cu.ft. (467L) of cargo space behind third row seats, 49.9 cu.ft. (1413L) of space behind the second row seats, and 95.4 cu.ft. (2701L) of space with all the rear seats folded. While the cargo space might not be class leading, it should still be more than enough for most trips. 

Inside the cabin, storage options are plentiful. The side door pockets are deep and nicely partitioned. The glove compartment is huge. The front center console storage bin is on the smaller side, but there are two additional trays beside the cup holders in the center console. The second row center console houses two cup holders, a storage compartment under the armrest, and a flipped tray at the bottom. The third row cabin accommodates two cup holders on each side

The Armada is best suited for buyers intent to take the car off the beaten path. While it is pleasant to be driven around town, the thirsty V-8 is better suited for towing, or for taking the car off-road. For that intended purpose, the superior off-road performance, the high towing capacity, and the semi-luxurious interior of the Armada offers excellent value for money. 

Test Vehicle
2020 Armada Platinum

$75,148 CAD

Hermosa Blue


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