When it’s time for the next family road trip, gather up the kids and tell ‘em to each bring a friend. If you’re driving a big, roomy SUV like the 2018 Nissan Armada, it’s the more the merrier. This is a full-size, three-row family hauler with space aplenty.
The Armada comes in rear- or four-wheel drive with a big V8 engine. It has seating for 8, and it can tow more than four tons. So go ahead, pile in the Armada and head to the beach one last time or head north to the mountains. The Armada will get you there in comfort.
All 2018 Armadas come with a 5.6-liter V8 and a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. The big V8 has plenty of power, but don’t expect the fuel economy to be Prius-like. You’ll get just 13 miles per gallon in city driving and 18 mpg on the highway in the 4WD Armada. Two-wheel-drive Armadas get one mpg better.
But unlike many newer engines, the Armada’s V8 doesn’t require premium unleaded gas. And the fuel tank is large at 26 gallons, giving the Armada a highway range of 468 miles.
New features on the 2018 Armada include standard NissanConnect Services, an 8-inch multi-touch display, HD radio, SiriusXM Travel Link with three years of access, enhanced voice recognition, hands-free text messaging assistant and additional USB ports. There are now five USB ports scattered through the cabin, two of which have connectivity in addition to charging capabilities.
A new Platinum Reserve model is offered this year, blurring the lines between the Armada and its luxury cousins in the Infiniti garage. The Platinum Reserve has dark chrome exterior trim, dark chrome 20-inch wheels and two-tone leather seating with contrast stitching.
The Armada comes in four trims – the SV, SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve, in 2-and 4-wheel-drive configurations. The SV starts at $45,600 and the SL starts at $50,350. The Platinum starts at $58,690 and the Platinum 4WD, which was our test car for the week, starts at $61,590.
Nissan and Infiniti have been innovators in the use of cameras around their vehicles, and Platinum Armada models this year get a standard intelligent rear-view mirror, which uses a high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle. With a button on the mirror, the driver can select the camera view or the traditional view. The benefit is that when the Armada is piled high with people and their stuff, the camera view provides an unobstructed look out of the rear window.
The cabin of the Armada is cavernous, filled with premium amenities like 8-way power front seats that are heated and cooled, a heated steering wheel, available heated second row seats, dual-zone air and standard Bose audio. Even the lower trims are very nicely appointed.
Roomy? Absolutely. Row two has 40-inches of headroom and 41 inches of legroom (captain’s chairs are available.) The third row has a power folding feature, something that’s really handy when loading things into the cargo area.
On the road, the 5,963-lb. Armada handles well for its size. It’s a big vehicle riding on tall wheels, and there is some lean in corners. But that’s typical for any large SUV, even more expensive ones. Suffice it to say you can’t drive the Armada like a sports car.
When it comes to safety, testing by the government and the insurance industry is not complete. But the Armada has a long list of sophisticated safety technology like intelligent forward collision warning, intelligent cruise control, available automatic emergency braking, lane keeping and blind spot warning systems, and the best surround-view camera system on the market today.
2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD
$61,590 ($63,545 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: