Nissan has redesigned their flagship SUV, the Armada, adding a plethora of family-friendly features and technology to give every parent a reason to take a second look.
Even us — as empty nesters — would enjoy having an Armada in the garage, as it proved to be easy to drive and maneuver, with loads of extra space.
This year, the Armada has a mostly-redesigned exterior, with changes that include a new grille, hood, front fenders, and front and rear bumpers along with all new LED headlights and taillights. This new look came with a more rugged personality.
This is by no means a bad thing as we loved the new look. As the company moves away from some of the curves that have dominated some of their past products, the new Armada is set to appeal to many, bringing a rugged appeal without compromising the vehicle’s upscale vibe.
Another side note to the launch of the 2021 Armada is that it will be the first of Nissan’s new vehicles to carry the new logo. The recently-released design is sleeker and will be easier to read on a flat surface.
Nissan has done a great job of incorporating the LED headlights into the surfaces and coming up with some great angles that create a fierce look while driving at night. The new aesthetic really moves one’s eyes around the vehicle, not just staying focused on a large lights up front.
The new Armada comes as one of the last body-on-frame SUVs on the market and is more than ready to take on any challenge. Equipped with 5.6-liter Endurance, V-8 engine with a class leading 400 horsepower and 413 foot-pounds of torque.
To go with all that power comes the ability to tow up to 8,500 pounds with a standard integrated trailer brake control on trim levels SV and above. This goes to show just how dedicated Nissan is to making their SUV a complete package for any family.
We have purchased a couple of different full-sized SUVs when our family was all still at home and would have loved to have had the trailer brakes included in the vehicle.
Higher trim levels, like the SL we were given for a week, also add a standard tow hitch receiver and trailer sway control that will automatically apply the brakes if the trailer starts to move around, giving the driver more confidence in his ability to tow a trailer behind the Armada.
Inside, the designers have really stepped things up with a new standard 12.3-inch center display screen that dominates the front console. We found this high-definition screen to be an awesome addition as it was easy to see and use with great graphics that helped when we were backing out or getting into tight parking spaces.
This screen is definitely the largest we have ever seen in a Nissan, and we loved using it throughout our week with the Armada. Even though it was stretched across the dashboard, it was easy to use and navigate, and Nissan has included a rotary knob in the center console that also moves through the menus.
Our favorite part of the included technology was — again — the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that comes with the new system.
Below the screen, our test ride came with a compartment that opened up and contained a wireless charger and could be closed with a phone on the charger, keeping it safe and secure no matter what we were navigating in the SUV. This would be especially helpful to keep one’s phone charged while up in the mountains or doing some off-roading.
Of course, the rest of the interior in our SL test drive was top notch. The seats were clad in leather and heated to make those cold winter mornings easier to cope with. We could only have wished for a heated steering wheel, as well.
Other creature comforts included the easy-to-fold second row captain’s chairs that allowed access to the third row of seats and dual-zone temperature control along with the premium Bose audio system that came in the Armada.
Over the past few years, Nissan has made safety more of a priority, moving their Safety Shield 360 into all vehicles, and this year, it made its way to the Armada. This system includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and rear automatic braking — all great safety features to have and included standard.
Forward collision warning, intelligent cruise control, intelligent lane intervention, intelligent blind spot intervention, rearview monitor and intelligent driver alertness monitor also come standard in the new vehicle.
Since our week with the new Armada included the New Year’s holiday, on New Year’s Day, we took the chance to head up to Spanish Fork Canyon, continuing up Diamond Fork as far as we could before the closed gates stopped us from getting into some real snow.
The new Armada handled extremely well, even when we got onto snow-packed roads. With the four-wheel drive engaged, it was almost like traveling on the dry pavement.
It was a beautiful day for a ride and was made even more enjoyable with the new SUV.
The Armada would make a great family addition with the ability to hold everything necessary for any adventure while keeping mom and dad even more in control during every driving condition possible.
Base price: Preproduction vehicle price to be determined
Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville.