2018 Nissan Armada: A comfortable, attractive alternative to the minivan

    2018 Nissan Armada (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

    I know I’m petite. But I rarely feel small.

    Unless I’m driving the 2018 Nissan Armada. Then I feel Lillipution.

    The aptly named Armada makes a driver feel like she could conquer the world after the Zombie Apocalypse with the ability to drive through – or over – any situation.

    What I really appreciate about the Armada, however, is that the unassuming façade encases a luxurious and comfortable interior with a plethora of available amenities.

    If you’re going to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, you may as well do it with panache.


    In an era of swoopy and aerodynamic SUV designs, I find the Armada’s upright structure a refreshing change from the norm. It looks handsome and rugged. And with the capacity to seat eight comfortably, it provides a nice alternative to the minivan as a family hauler.

    The test vehicle was the top-tier Platinum model with the “Reserve” package, so the interior and exterior added a lot of extra accouterments that fed into the overall up-level look and feel of the vehicle.

    I particularly appreciated the two-tone leather seats, but the dark chrome exterior accents included with the package were sophisticated without being blingy.

    While I appreciate the level of comfort offered by the Armada, my one design complaint would be the explosion of buttons and dials on the center stack. At first glance it’s a bit overwhelming, and I’m not convinced the redundant audio presets are necessary. Frankly, other than the volume and tuning dials, I think the rest of the audio controls could be integrated into the infotainment screen.

    Ride & Handling

    Like a bull in a China shop, the Armada is both large and lumbering in tight spaces, which makes it somewhat impractical as an urban vehicle. When equipped with the available around-view monitor, it’s doable, but not ideal.

    Where the Armada shines, however, is on the highway or wide suburban streets. It is comfortable, smooth and surprisingly fast.

    With a drive height that is level with a bus, you’re not going to feel a huge connection with the road in the Armada. But you’re also not going to feel any potholes, bumps or grooves either.

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    Equipped with a 5.6-liter V-8 engine, the Armada delivers a 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This is the right amount of power for such a large vehicle, and fast-paced highway merges are easily accomplished.

    Fuel economy

    The trade off to smooth and fast acceleration is going to be fuel economy. EPA estimates that you should get 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. I averaged 13.1 mpg in combined driving.

    Tech & gadgets

    Nissan always does a great job of making luxury-level tech available in its vehicles – even though it’s not a luxury automaker.

    Some of the available convenience features you ought to look forward to in the Armada include an 8-inch color touch screen display, 5 USB ports, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear outboard seats, push-button start, passive entry and rear-seat entertainment.

    Plus, in addition to the cool – and necessary – around view monitor, the Armada has an extensive list of safety features that includes some intervention technology such as blind-spot intervention and automatic emergency braking.