$13,738 - $18,993

2012 Nissan Armada Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Nissan Armada was new.


Performance: 7.3

The Nissan Armada’s V8 engine, though not the most powerful in the class, provides plenty of thrust for most situations. Reviewers are also impressed with its handling, given its size. However, the Armada’s fuel economy is pretty terrible, even for a large, truck-based SUV.

  • "A pleasure to drive, the steering is responsive and the Armada corners with ease. The V-8 provides excellent acceleration. For a big SUV, the Armada is agile.” -- Car and Driver
  • "Armada suffers marked full-throttle engine roar.” -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Nissan Armada comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that puts 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque to the ground via a five-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers say this is enough power for highway passing, though it’s no longer the class’ horsepower leader.

According to the EPA, two-wheel drive Armadas get 13/19 mpg city/highway with the base engine, though they suffer a penalty of 1 mpg in the city when equipped to run on E85. Four-wheel drive models net a dismal 12/18 mpg.

  • "While the once class-leading 317-horsepower V8 under the hood no longer outguns its competitors, it still provides more than enough acceleration to leave slower traffic in its wake.” -- Edmunds
  • "Armada delivers fairly strong takeoffs. One test model had overly sensitive throttle action, resulting in jerky progress around town. A handy tow-haul mode complements the alert, smooth-shifting automatic transmission.” -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Nissan Armada is fairly agile for a truck-based SUV, though it can’t compete with the car-like handling of crossover SUVs. The Armada comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and offers optional four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive system operates as a rear-wheel drive system for the most part, but can transfer up to half of the engine's power to the front under certain conditions. The Armada's brakes receive mixed reviews, with some saying the brakes feel too lose and others saying they feel fine.

  • "Nissan's adept double-wishbone suspension geometry and capable speed-sensitive power steering make the Armada as easy to operate as a mid-size Nissan Pathfinder. Tight confines are still a bit tricky given the Nissan Armada's length, but its short front and rear overhangs make maneuvering in tight corners a bit less worrisome.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Armada is as clumsy in close quarters as any big SUV. The steering has a firm feel, but this big SUV reacts slowly to inputs. Cornering behavior is generally good, with no undue noseplow or body lean. Good stopping control, but our testers are divided on pedal modulation. Some find too much free play, others cite fine response.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The ride is usually comfortable, but some ruts can send considerable impact harshness through the steering wheel and seats. Newer truck-based SUVs like the Tahoe and Sequoia provide a smoother on-road ride.” -- Edmunds


The Nissan Armada can tow up to 9,000 pounds in four-wheel drive SL and Platinum models. Even the least-capable model, the four-wheel drive Armada SV equipped with the tow package, can tow up to 6,500 pounds. That’s more than enough for a large boat or horse trailer.

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