2018 Nissan Armada-In Depth Review

Voluptuous is a compliment for some SUVs, but we cannot say this for the 2018 Nissan Armada because of its dowdy exterior.  It is the big bruiser of the Nissan family and also the most expensive SUV of the Japanese automaker. It however shares its bones with its upmarket cousin the Infiniti QX80. There are differences between the two and Armada certainly lacks Infiniti’s refined details.

It is a luxurious three-row family hauler that can seat up to eight passengers and has the power to tow up to 8,500-pounds. Unlike the GMC Yukon and Ford Expedition which also have an extended wheelbase version, the Armada comes in only one size, while there are four trims to choose from. You only get a 5.6-liter V-8 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that is standard across all the trims.

There are certain flaws in the 2018 Nissan Armada that cannot be underestimated. It gets a poor fuel economy even for a large SUV, cramped third-row seats and the infotainment system lacks basic smartphone integration like the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Prices for this mammoth SUV starts at $46,090 (2WD).

What we like

  • Zesty V-8 engine
  • Excellent towing capacity
  • Well-built interior
  • Spacious interior

What we don’t like

  • Third-row cramped
  • Outdated infotainment system
  • Fuel guzzler
  • Below average cargo capacity

What’s New with 2018 Nissan Armada

Nissan redesigned the Armada last year, so for the 2018 model year there has been minor upgrades in the SUV. Armada gets a high-tech rear-view mirror that streams a constant video feed from the rear camera. Some of the other new features include:

  • An 8-inch touchscreen display
  • HD Radio
  • Hands-free text messaging along with additional USB charging points

2018 Nissan Armada Trim Level and Features

The 2018 Nissan Armada seats eight passengers and there are four trims to choose from. Trim levels start at SV, move up to mid-grade SL, and finishes with the fully loaded Platinum and Platinum Reserve. The second row comes standard with three-seat bench in all the trims however Platinum and Platinum Reserve can be dressed up with individual bucket seats and a full center console.

A 5.6-liter V-8 engine paired with the seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive is standard on all trims. While, you have the option choose the four-wheel drive.

Trims SV SL Platinum Platinum Reserve
MSRP (2WD) $46,090 $50,850 $59,190 $62,190
MSRP(AWD) $48,990 $53,750 $62,090 $65,090
Features Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine

8,500 lbs max towing and up to 1,724 lbs max payload

18″ aluminum-alloy wheels

LED low-beam headlights with integrated signature

NissanConnect with Navigation and Services

Bose Audio System


20″ machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels

Power liftgate

Intelligent Around View Monitor

Leather-appointed seats


20″ Machine-finished tinted aluminum-alloy wheels

Intelligent Rear-View Mirror

Intelligent Cruise Control

Tri-Zone Entertainment System

Climate-controlled front seats (heated and cooled)


20″ dark chrome-clad aluminum-alloy wheels

Dark chrome exterior trim

Premium two-tone leather-appointed seats with contrast stitching

Open-pore wood-tone interior trim

Platinum Reserve badging

Confused? We will help you find the best trim

There are two trims that you can consider if you are planning to by the 2018 Nissan Armada-the SL and the Platinum. The Platinum is just one notch below the top trim and gets almost every feature that the Armada has in store. This trim adds:

  • Moonroof
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • AEB (automatic emergency braking)
  • A dual-screen entertainment system

You can also upgrade to second-row captain’s chair for $450. Meanwhile, if you think the Platinum is a pricier option to go with then the SL is for you. It offers almost every feature that the Platinum does, except for some premium features like heated second-row seats and a rear-seat entertainment system. Prices for the SL start just over $50,000.

2018 Nissan Armada Power and Performance

There is not much to choose from as the 2018 Nissan Armada leaves us with a sole V-8 engine. It feels zesty and quick, and also delivers more horsepower than many of its rivals. Despite its heft the Armada never feels sluggish and offers smooths ride over most road surfaces. Fuel economy is not at all impressive considering it is a full-size SUV as rivals offer better mileage. Towing capacity is however impressive as the Armada when equipped properly can tug up to 8,500-pounds.

Engine and Transmission

The 2018 Nissan Armada comes mated to a 5.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 390-horsepower and 394-pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission along with rear-wheel drive is standard while four-wheel drive comes optional. The seven-speed automatic transmission holds the engine back as it constantly hunts for gears. The engine makes steady, rising growl, which feels pleasing and is accompanied by brisk acceleration.

2018 NISSAN ARMADA | 5.6-Liter V-8 Engine

According to Cars.com, “ In normal operation, the 5.6-liter engine is strong and quick, emitting a V-8 burble under moderate acceleration but remaining quiet and in the background when power demands are lighter”.

Models Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
MSRP $46,090 $48,510 $51,695 $ 49,080
Engine 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine


3.5L EcoBoost

V6 engine



Gas engine

Transmission 7-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 10-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
Power 390 hp @ 5800 rpm 355 hp @ 5600 rpm 375 hp @ 5000 rpm 355 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 394 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 383 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm 470 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 383 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm


The V-8 engine provides the 2018 Nissan Armada with solid acceleration but at the expense of fuel economy, of course. Acceleration however is brisk and the SUV never feel slow on performance. Passing maneuvers are easy to execute as the Armada takes 6.5 seconds to make 0-60. Considering the rivals, these numbers put up a great show as the Armada also beats others when it comes to covering a quarter mile.

Models Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
0-60 MPH 6.5 sec 6.7 sec 7.3sec 6.5 sec
Quarter mile 15 @ 93 mph 15.1 sec @ 92.0 mph 15.6 sec @ 88 mph 16.7 sec. 15 @ 91 mph.
Engine 5.6L 5.3L 3.5L 5.3L

Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year

11.0 9.2 8.8 9.2

Braking and Handling

At nearly 6,000-pounds, the 2018 Nissan Armada is a gargantuan SUV. It manages its weight reasonably well on a curvy road and offers a smooth ride over jagged pavement. Armada unlike its pricier cousin the Infiniti QX80 with which it shares many characteristics comes with a fully independent suspension consisting of coil rather than air spring setup that soaks up most of the bumps in the road. The Armada also has a 20-inch wheel instead of a 22-inch wheel found on the Infiniti QX80 which only makes thing better for this Nissan hauler.

“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

Considering its 3-ton of weight it is hard to find any fault with the brakes. The pedal feels smooth while the 2018 Armada takes 128 feet in coming to halt form 60 mph. Ford Expedition leads the segment with 121-feet of stopping distance.

Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Brake pads-front(in) 13.8 13.0 13.5 15.6
Brake pads Rear(in) 13.8 13.6 13.2 10.88
Curb weight(lbs) 6000 aprx 5466 5801 5466
60-0 MPH 128 ft. 125 ft. 121 ft. 137 ft.

Fuel Economy

With so much weight to lug around, the 2018 Nissan Armada is one of the thirstiest SUV in the market today. You get 14mpg city, 19mpg highway and 16 mpg combined with the rear-wheel drive. The number slides further when you opt for the four-wheel drive as it returns 13/18/15 mpg. These numbers are not great as the similarly powerful Chevrolet Tahoe manages 16/23/19 mpg.

Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
MPG (city) 14 16 17 16
MPG (highway) 19 23 24 23
MPG (combined) 16 19 20 19

Towing Capacity

The 2018 Nissan Armada is rated to tow up to 8,500-pounds when equipped properly. These are good numbers for large SUV, and its ample capacity for towing recreational vehicle like small boats, dirt bikes, or ATVs (all-terrain vehicle).

Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Engine 5.6L 5.3L 3.5L 5.3L
Drive Train 2WD 2WD AWD 2WD
Capacity (lbs) 8500 8600 9300 8500

2018 Nissan Armada Exterior

Armada does not look pretty from outside in fact it looks dowdy. It resembles the QX80 in one way or the other but with less chrome work and fender flares. Nissan designers have although worked hard to make things more interesting by adding a lot of curves around the body but still failed to impress.

2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Exterior in Hermosa Blue
2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Exterior in Hermosa Blue

Dimension and Weight

The 2018 Nissan Armada is the tallest in the class and has an impressive 9.1-inches of ground clearance. Though it has the ground clearance of an off-roader it is not suitable for the job because of its massive body mass. The suspensions are also not strong enough to take those big rocks and the Armada also lacks the multiterrain traction control system which the Infiniti QX80 boasts.

Nissan’s Armada may be the longest in the segment with standard wheelbase but the GMC’s Yukon XL with an extended wheelbase and 224.4-inches in length beats every other vehicle in the segment.

Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Curb weight(lbs) 6000 aprx 5466 5801 5466
Length(in) 208.3 204 206.5 203.9

(w/o mirror)

79.9 80.5 78.8 80.5
Height(in) 75.8 74.4 77.2 74.4
Ground clearance(in) 9.1 7.8 8.7 8.0
Wheelbase(in) 121.1 116.0 119.0 116.0
Track width(in) F/R 67.5/67.9 68.7/68.7 67/67.2 68.7/68.7


The base model SV rolls on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with ample sidewalls while the SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve get a bigger 20-inch aluminum alloy wheel. Ride quality on the 20-inch wheel setup is a bit firmer but passable. Thanks to Nissan that it did not follow the footstep of some rivals with even larger wheels and tires which may look appealing but compromises on the ride quality and are pricey to replace.

2018 NISSAN ARMADA | 20" Machine-Finished Tinted Aluminum Alloy Wheel
2018 NISSAN ARMADA | 20″ Machine-Finished Tinted Aluminum Alloy Wheel
Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Size F/R (in.) 18*8/18*8 18*8.5/18*8.5 18*8.5/18*8.5 18*8.5/18*8.5
Quality Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Wheel type Alloy Alloy Alloy Alloy

2018 Nissan Armada Interior

Armada’s interior is good-looking and accommodating while getting in an out of the SUV is made easy by the big doors and grab handles. There are lots of physical buttons to master however they are all clearly marked but remains at a distance from the drivers reach. Meanwhile, the cabin remains roomy, and the interior fit-and-finish proves its worth for the money you pay.

Interior Seating and Comfort

The 2018 Nissan Armada gets a good amount of seat height adjustment in the driver’s seat which makes it easy for most to settle in and reach the pedals. Even the telescoping steering wheel comes with a substantial range of adjustments. Drivers enjoy a commanding view of the road and a 360-degree camera comes in handy while parking and backing up.

2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Interior Seating in Almond Leather with Captain's Chairs
2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Interior Seating in Almond Leather with Captain’s Chairs

Armada has a quiet cabin and the material quality is top-notch. The base Armada with a second-row bench has seating for eight while a second-row bucket seat in the top trim drops the capacity to seven. The front seats are comfortable and provide a good amount of head and legroom but still lag behind the GMC brothers. Space in the second row is at par with the rivals while the third row is only good enough to accommodate kids. Seating features include:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Reclining second-row seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather upholstery (Optional)
Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Passenger capacity 8 8 8 8
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(In.) 40.9/63.8/41.9 42.8/64.8/45.3 39.5/63.2/41.1 42.8/64.8/45.3
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(In.) 40.0/63.4/39.0 38.7/65.1/39.0 39.7/63.7/39.1 38.7/65.1/39.0
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(In.) 36.4/60.5/28.3 38.1/62.6/24.8 38.0/67.1/37.7 38.1/62.6/24.8



2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Infotainment System
2018 NISSAN ARMADA | Infotainment System

The 2018 Nissan was redesigned last year but still it has one of the most outmoded infotainment systems in the class. It looks and feel outdated and does not even support smartphones features like the Android Auto or the Apple CarPlay. The touchscreen is also at a distance from the drivers reach. Standard features include:

  • 13-speaker audio system
  • HD Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • An 8-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Four USB-ports
  • Voice recognition

“Our loaded Armada Platinum test vehicle came standard with tech that looks good on paper. But the reality is these systems feel nearly a decade old because the 2018 Armada is essentially the same as the 2011 Infiniti QX56. A lot has changed since then, but the Armada seems like a time capsule.” Edmunds

Cargo Space

The 2018 Nissan Armada offers 16.5 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 49.9 cubic feet with the third row folded and 95.4 cubic feet overall. These numbers are uninspiring for a full-size SUV. The second and third-row seats fold flat making it easier to store longer items while a power liftgate and power-folding third-row seats are available. Loading heavy objects might take a toll due to high liftover height of Armada.

Model Nissan Armada Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Expedition GMC Yukon
Volume (ft.cube)

(Behind 3rd row)

16.5 15.3 20.9 15.3
Volume (ft.cube)

(3nd Row Folded)

49.9 51.6 63.6 51.7
Volume (ft.cube)

(2nd & 3rd  Row Folded)

95.4 94.7 104.6 94.7

Safety and Reliability

The car has not yet been tested by the independent or the federal agencies. We will update the safety score once it arrives. Meanwhile, Nissan has covered the 2018 Armada with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Safety features

Armada is well-equipped with standard safety features and offers more as optional. There are six airbags including a curtain airbag which runs all the way to the third row. The Platinum trim gets blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and active lane control. These techs are optional on the SL and SV trims. New for 2018 is a high-tech rear-view mirror that streams a constant video feed from the rear camera. It eliminates the visual obstruction caused by rear roof pillar, headrest and passenger’s head.

Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors
Driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags
Roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor help provide head protection for outboard occupants for all three rows
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS
Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS)
3-point ALR/ELR passenger seat belt system (ELR for driver)
Front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters
LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
Child-safety rear door locks
Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones
Hood buckling creases and safety stops
Energy-absorbing steering column
High-strength side-door guard beams
Tire Pressure Monitoring System

2018 Nissan Armada Competition Check

2018 Nissan Armada Vs 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevy Tahoe ranks high in the large SUV segment because of its plush interior feature and intelligent design. The Tahoe seats nine as compared to eight in the Armada although the third row in both these SUVs is cramped. Tahoe also scores ahead with its intuitive infotainment system which comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay unlike Armada. Chevy also offers better handling and fuel economy than its Nissan rival and is a better all-round vehicle.

2018 Nissan Armada Vs 2018 GMC Yukon

GMC Yukon boasts one of the nicest cabins in the class and it also has the capacity to seat nine, which is more than the Nissan’s Armada. The Yukon also boasts one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems and offers features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with a Wi-Fi hot spot-none of this is available in the Armada. GMC also offers a quiet ride and gets better fuel efficiency than the Nissan. The Yukon is a better SUV in long run and should be preferred over Nissan Armada.

2018 Nissan Armada Vs 2018 Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition is an outstanding SUV and it has best in class cargo capacity and towing capacity. It features a powerful V-6 engine which never feels short on power and also provides far better fuel economy than the Nissan Armada. The Expedition is also a capable off-roader unlike Armada which is not suitable for the job. Ford is a class leader in the segment but a fully-loaded Expedition can coast almost as much as a luxury SUV. Even the base model costs $5000 more than the Nissan. However, the Expedition justifies its price and offers a lot more than the Armada.

2018 Nissan Armada Final Verdict

The 2018 Nissan Armada is a muscular SUV but it has some notable flaws. It has less cargo capacity than most in the class while the infotainment system feels antiquated. However, there are certain things that this juggernaut is good at. It has a peppy engine and acceleration is quick. Armada also offers a higher towing capacity than some of its rivals along with a quiet and well-built interior. If you are out looking for a full-size SUV, there are definitely better options available in the market but still Armada is not a bad option to go with.


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