$31,548 - $42,500

2018 Nissan Armada Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2018 Nissan Armada does 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. Despite its large size, the Armada has a respectable agility that leaves it capable of taking turns and executing maneuvers without much body roll. The ride quality is also pretty good.

  • "The Armada also brakes, steers and handles with surprising coordination, and the 5.6-liter V8 engine delivers hearty acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "Nissan's new global SUV surprised us with its engaging, yet refined road manners and impressive acceleration." -- Left Lane News (2017)
  • "The overall experience is very much like driving the more expensive Infiniti QX80, which isn't a bad thing." -- Cars.com (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Armada features a 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers a good amount of power, which is one of the reasons the Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped – one of the highest totals in the class. Acceleration is good whether you’re taking off from a stoplight or passing on the highway. The transmission could be better, though; it occasionally hunts for the right gear.

According to EPA estimates, the Armada earns 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. You probably don’t expect great gas mileage from a huge SUV, but those are below-average ratings even for this class.

  • "To look at it, you'd think the big Armada's engine has its work cut out for it. But the direct-injected V8 is more than up to the task. Acceleration is brisk, it never feels very sluggish, and it is easy to execute passing maneuvers. Ours accelerated to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds at our test track." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • 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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard in this Nissan, and four-wheel drive is available. The Armada rides smoothly most of the time, and it handles well for such a large vehicle. It’s poised and smooth when taking turns, and there isn’t too much body roll.

  • "The Armada's cornering behavior is composed and reassuring. There's a decent amount of grip, and body lean is moderate and well-regulated. It drives through turns more smoothly than you'd expect of something that weighs nearly 3 tons." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

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