$28,934 - $38,981

2017 Nissan Armada Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Nissan Armada was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2017 Nissan Armada acquits itself well in the performance department. Its V8 engine produces more horsepower than some rival engines, and it can move the Armada without feeling strained during acceleration, on the highway, or while towing. And despite its large size, the Armada has a respectable agility that leaves you capable of taking turns and executing maneuvers without feeling like you'll roll. The steering draws mixed reviews, but the ride quality is pretty good.

  • "Instead of being truckish, the Armada is as tame and composed as any large unibody crossover. For Armada buyers and Nissan engineers, that's a triumph and a high compliment - not an easy task." -- Autoblog
  • "Nissan's new global SUV surprised us with its engaging, yet refined road manners and impressive acceleration." -- Left Lane News
  • "The overall experience is very much like driving the more expensive Infiniti QX80, which isn't a bad thing." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The Armada features a 5.6-liter V8 engine that puts out 390 horsepower, and it's mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine has more horsepower than rivals like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia, and it delivers plenty of power and good acceleration. It's not quite as good as it could be, however, because the transmission occasionally hunts for gears, holding the engine back a little. According to Nissan, the Armada gets an estimated 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, which are subpar ratings even for a V8-powered large SUV.

The engine has a good sound to it, though some enthusiasts may wish the growl were a little more forceful. It also allows the Armada to tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped, which is one of the highest towing capacities for a large SUV.

  • "The most notable sound the Armada makes while on the road proves very enjoyable. It comes when I step hard on the throttle and the seven speed automatic transmission downshifts to passing gear. The engine note makes a steady, rising growl, a pleasing sound of power accompanied by acceleration quick enough for highway passing maneuvers." -- CNET
  • In normal operation, the 5.6-liter engine is strong and quick, emitting a great V-8 burble under moderate acceleration but remaining quiet and in the background when power demands are lighter. However, with steady-state cruising over only slightly hilly terrain, the transmission constantly hunts for gears, there's a little surging in the throttle and an odd behavior to the overall experience that shows evidence of some jumpy throttle mapping. It's not as smooth as it could be in around-town operation and strangely doesn't feel as well sorted out as the same powertrain combination in the new Titan half-ton pickup." -- Cars.com
  • "The V8 is strong and quiet; you can feel it pulling, but it never sounds loud or harsh. There's not much of an exhaust note, and that's probably a good thing, but it would be nice to hear a little of the V8's rumble." -- AutoTrader

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available. You may not intend to use the Armada's four-wheel drive all that much, but if you do, you'll find it's a capable off-roader that handles most terrains with ease.

On the road, the Armada handles better than most vehicles of a similar size. There's not too much body lean, and the ride is generally comfortable. Opinions about the steering response are mixed, with some test drivers arguing that the steering is plenty sharp, whereas others think it's vague and say that it takes concentration just to stay in your lane on the highway.

You might think that only giant trucks are good for towing, but the Armada aims to challenge that notion. The Armada's maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds gives you the capability to pull your boat or trailer on weekend excursions.

  • "Though we didn't tow during our time with the Armada, we did do some mild off-roading, and the truck is as capable as you'd expect even with one wheel off the ground. The Rubicon Trail may not be in its future, but we can safely say a 4WD-equipped Armada can power through anything an American buyer is likely to throw at it." -- AutoWeek
  • "Any vehicle weighing close to three tons isn't likely to be particularly handy in quick maneuvers, and the Armada is no exception. On the other hand, in the course of a half-day drive the Armada established itself as more willing than most of its contemporaries to make rapid maneuvers with modest body roll and consequent prompt recovery in hurried transitions from extreme left to extreme right. The chassis engineers have done a commendable job of tuning the Armada's all-independent suspension -- double wishbones and coil springs front and rear -- to strike a nice balance between respectable dynamic responses and supple ride quality." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Steering effort belies the vehicle's size as you maneuver through traffic. Highway ride is smooth. On rougher secondary roads, the suspension doesn't so much eliminate rough patches as round them off and smooth them. Yes, it handles like the truck it is, but these days that's an acceptable condition, not the put-down it once was." -- Automobile Magazine

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