You could strut into any number of automaker showrooms and go home with a luxuriously appointed sassmobile with heated bun warmers, saturating audio, and the underpinnings to hike through mountains. While it might not be the first club on your list, the Nissan Armada flaunts its butch style and proves you don’t have to be the newest boy on the block to make an impression. Dolled up in posh Platinum Reserve trim, the 2020 Armada continues to find favor with enthusiasts who know how to throw attitude.
If the Armada looks a little too familiar, that’s because it is essentially the same big wagon as the Infiniti QX80 domestically and Nissan Patrol, that you usually see with white paint and UN logos, globally. If it seems large, it’s actually smaller than the previous Titan-based edition. Still, it’s a pretty solid all-terrain platform that’s nattily dressed with a big bad grille, LED headlamps, and chrome window trim with upturned line at the rear. Sculpted step bars help raise you inside.
There are acres of ritzy woodgrain on the dash, doors, and console. Caress the layers of stitched padded coverings that are pretty posh. Heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row outboard seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone auto climate control, and 13-speaker Bose audio add luxury – as do air vents for the rear seats, power folding third row seats, and a power hatch. Navigation gets you to the ball. Safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, forward collision alert with auto brake, lane keep assist, and blind spot intervention systems.
That would all be nice enough, but our Platinum Reserve luxury package elevated the Armada’s style to that of a leather-lined, all-capable motor tank. The bedazzled with dark chrome grille, door handles and outside mirrors while the interior is trimmed in ranch-ready two tone brown/charcoal leather with rough texture, middle row captain’s chairs separated by a center console, and illuminated kick plates. Add to that dark painted roof rails and 22” wheels for the full wig.
A leather-laden truck deserves an equally sumptuous powertrain, and the Armada gets one: A 5.6-liter V8, delivering 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque, connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission and electronic all-wheel-drive system. It has a nice purr under full throttle and that’s plenty of muscle to get the big truck up and moving while empty or towing 8,500 lbs. of weekend toys. But, you’ll pay if you flex the big pedal too much as fuel economy rates 13/18-MPG city/highway.
There’s no mistaking the Armada is a tough heavy truck when you drive it, but the independent rear suspension and meaty tires do their best to take the rough out of roads and to keep it from wobbling its way through dance steps. At the end of the day, it’s a butch off-road machine dressed up for the symphony, ski lodge, or just shuttling your posse to the club.
There are younger luxury-focused SUVs on the market, but the big Armada carries its head and brows high, spoiling seven lucky queens wherever they go. A base price of $47,100, or $71,730 as tested, makes it pricy competition for the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Dodge Durango.
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