$15,592 - $22,131

2013 Nissan Armada Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Nissan Armada was new.


Performance: 7.2

Reviewers agree that the Armada’s engine is powerful, but disagree on its handling, steering and ride quality. Test drivers say it maneuvers horribly in tight spaces because of its large turning circle, has dead steering and has a bumpy ride over uneven pavement.

  • "The 2013 Nissan Armada SUV's hefty bulk and truck-like build might have you thinking that handling and ride comfort are not going to be its strongest attributes, and you would be half right. Nissan's adept double-wishbone suspension and speed-sensitive power steering make the Armada as easy to operate as a mid-size Nissan Pathfinder." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2012)
  • "Not only is it a pain to maneuver the Armada past errant shopping carts, it's tough to find a parking space that can accommodate the giant SUV. That said, the overall driving experience is actually very good." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)

Acceleration and Power

All Armadas come with a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The engine is connected to a five-speed automatic transmission. Armadas with two-wheel drive get up to 13/19 mpg city/highway, which trails the fuel economy of rivals like the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition. Models with 4x4 get slightly less.

The majority of reviewers think the Armada delivers great power and acceleration. One critic says no matter the situation, the Armada never feels underpowered. Another reviewer notes that the throttle can be a bit touchy, jerking the SUV forward unnecessarily. Test drivers say the transmission is smooth.

  • "The 2013 Nissan Armada SUV's 317-horsepower V8 engine delivers great power and never feels tepid or short of breath, and its 5-speed automatic delivers decisive, nearly imperceptible shifts." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration is more than adequate thanks to a standard 5.6-liter V8 that pumps out 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft." -- Left Lane News
  • "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 (2012)
  • "Arguably, the latter doesn't need a whole lot of revision: the V-8 powertrain is fairly potent, and the towing capacity -- especially on the 4x4 model like our tester -- is almost otherworldly." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)

Handling and Braking

The Armada comes in either two- or four-wheel drive configurations. Reviewers say the Armada is smooth on the highway but has a bumpy ride over uneven roads. Additionally, critics note that it handles poorly in tight spaces like parking lots. One critic says the Armada’s steering is firm and unresponsive to driver input. There’s mixed opinion regarding the brakes. One test driver finds them to be strong, while another says they don’t respond promptly.

  • "On smooth pavement, the Armada sails along with little drama, but upon encountering rough seas like uneven pavement or large expansion joints, the Armada's Titan-based roots quickly make themselves - and the offending road surfaces - known." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Armada is based the platform used by Nissan's Titan full-size pickup. While these roots give the SUV its hauling and mudding capabilities, they also make for a clumsier driving experience than most crossovers offer." -- Left Lane News
  • "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. …" -- Consumer Guide (2012)


The 2013 Nissan Armada can tow up to 9,000 pounds when properly equipped. The base SV model with rear-wheel drive can tow 8,200 pounds. While this isn’t as much as rivals like the Chevrolet Suburban can tow, reviewers are impressed with the Armada’s towing ability.

  • "Built on the same underpinnings as the automaker's burly Titan pickup, the full-size … Nissan Armada certainly has the goods if it's towing and hauling you're looking for." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The 9000-pound towing capacity is pretty impressive for an SUV. It wasn't long ago that 9000 pounds was pushing the limits of a ton pickup truck." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)

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