Nissan is wading through some troubled waters as the Japanese auto company tries to not only navigate its way through the fallout created by the ouster of former CEO Carlos Ghosn but also the unique economic challenges brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The recent unveiling of the Z Proto concept showed that the company was off to a good start, and it has now brought this renewed vigor to the flagship SUV segment with the unveiling of the heavily revamped 2021 Armada. Like the company, the Armada was adrift for a while, watching helplessly as rivals were updated all around it before it was updated back in 2017. But it now looks to reassert itself in the SUV ranks for 2021, and seems to be poised to make a name for itself once again. Here’s 5 things you should know about Nissan’s big power play.
Modern styling brings new character to Armada
As mentioned, the Armada was due for some new clothes and the third generation Armada benefits from a design that firmly places the big utility ahead of the times. The front fascia has been heavily updated and LED lights are now standard equipment and each corner of the bumper even features LED daytime running lights. The Armada retains its V-shaped grille but it’s now wider than before and it now has a design that aims to prevent the grille from looking to flat when it’s on the nose.
We researched its international cousin the Patrol earlier today, and while the Armada has always tended to follow closely behind the Patrol when it comes to design, it appears that the Patrol and its U.S. cousin are finally in sync when it comes to maintaining a common link. The rear fascia is not quite as extensively changed, but a newer set of taillights and a tweaked rear bumper helps keep things fresh and even adds a bit of elegance to the rear of the Armada. Like the outgoing model, the 2021 Armada can also be equipped as a Midnight Edition which as you would expect from a model with such a name replaces alot of the chrome work with blacked out accents for a sharper yet sporty look.
New interior is bursting at the seams with technology
While the exterior styling of the Armada is a welcome improvement over the outgoing model the biggest changes that buyers will notice lurk in the cabin of the 2021 Armada. The company went all out in its attempts to modernize the space and there’s a whole lot to dissect here as you look around its nicely appointed cabin.
For example the old 8.0 inch screen for the infotainment system has been pitched, with the company adding a bigger 12.3 inch unit that’s not only bigger but it now also boasts better resolution to match with 1920×720 pixels to work with. The Armada is also capable of receiving Over The Air updates (OTA) but the catch here is that the Armada needs a strong WiFi signal in order to receive them. The full color screen also supports wireless Apple CarPlay but Android Auto owners will be limited to a wired only setup. Hopefully, Nissan will eventually address this in a future update so both sides of the technological circle can co-exist and cut the cord.
The cabin also features higher grade materials with Nissan revising the leather and wood choices that are on hand. The instrument cluster itself now comes equipped with a 7.0 inch display and range topping Platinum models now have a 9.4 inch screen for the rearview mirror camera which is a nice improvement from the meager 7.5 inch unit that defined the old model.
Amid all the gadgetry though there are a few low tech changes that also make themselves noticed after you have a chance to get acquainted inside. The center console has been redesigned and it can now be opened and closed from the front and rear with the bin itself also benefitting from a removable tray.
New moves from an old engine
With all the changes that Nissan has made inside and out, the fact that it carries over the old 5.6 liter V8 from its predecessor might seem a bit odd at first glance. However the long running Endurance V8 has been tweaked somewhat and Nissan claims that it now produces a class leading 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. These figures allow the Armada to tow up to 8,500 pounds and that figure applies to both rear and four wheel drive variants. On the subject of towing, all 2021 Armadas gain an all new Trailer Brake Controller which is joined by Trailer Sway Control when buyers opt for an SL or Platinum model.
A seven speed automatic is still on board but it comes equipped with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching. These two features aim to maximize fuel economy and they will be welcomed since the Armada is capable of only 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg in freeway driving when equipped as a two wheel drive model with combined driving ringing in at 16 mpg. Adding four wheel drive knocks 1 mpg off all three categories, but there’s a 26 gallon fuel tank so the Armada will have plenty of brew to drink before it needs to have its tank refilled.
Safety from all angles
Safety is also paramount in the Armada and 2021 brings the addition of Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 technology to the big utility. Like systems from other automakers, Nissan’s setup is like getting a bundle from your cable provider and comes with a suite of safety and driver assistance features. They include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and even lane keeping assist. This finally allows the Armada to be up to speed with rivals such as the Toyota Sequoia and the Chevrolet Suburban which have rolled out a similar arsenal of safety tech as more and more customers place safety at the top of their wish list when buying a large SUV.
When can I buy a 2021 Nissan Armada?
Nissan has not formally announced pricing for the 2021 Nissan Armada, but the first models are slated to begin making their way to Nissan showrooms by the end of January. A base S variant is also coming to the lineup, but Nissan will be releasing that model later after the rest of the Armada family has a chance to create a foothold in Nissan showrooms. When the S eventually does arrive, it will round out the family, and give Nissan owners a value packed entry model that will let them work there way up the Armada range.
As a whole the 2021 Nissan Armada has plenty going for it. It’s still one of the roomiest big SUVS on the market today and the extra infusion of technology and safety will undoubtedly make it a hit with growing families. As a bonus, the 5.6 liter V8 is a very potent piece of old-school technology with a natural knack for towing really big loads.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.