Mid-Cycle Makeover: The 2021 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Nissan, about to launch a major product initiative including a new Z and an electric crossover called the Ariya, has done a major mid-cycle refresh on the full-size Armada SUV.
A more contemporary front end, a smoother back end and a refreshed cabin are all part of the deal.
There's a temptation, when writing about the Armada, to focus on its age---or, actually, its perceived age. While the Armada is in its 18th model year, the current-generation model (its second) has only been around since 2017. When you consider its Asian arch-rival is Toyota's Sequoia, which is in its 21st model year, and which has been running on refreshes to its second-gen since 2008, the Armada's a relative youngster.
Under the hood of the 2021 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD is the same 5.6-liter V8 as before, bumped up to an even 400 horsepower from the previous 390. There's also 413 pounds per foot of torque, making the Armada not only quick for its size and an effortless highway cruiser, but also an excellent choice for towing (where it's rated up to 8500 pounds). Those power numbers put it ahead of the Sequoia, which is 381 horses and 401 pounds per foot. But---the Armada's curb weight of 5,958 pounds is a 228-pound chunk more than the Toyota, so it's really a wash. As is the EPA fuel economy estimate---13 city/18 highway to the Sequoia's 13/17.
While nothing is cutting-edge, it's clear Nissan put time, money and effort into making the 2021 Armada's cabin as contemporary as possible. And in the top-of-the-line Platinum model we drove, most everything is standard for the $68,000 base price (see the window sticker at the end of this review for particulars).
The package is so complete, there were only a few extra-cost options: $320 for carpeted floor mats, $390 for illuminated kick plates, $395 for welcome lighting and $650 for the second-row captains chairs package. So with $1,495 in destination charges, the as-tested price of the 2021 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD is $71,250.
The Sequoia we tested last summer was $67,029. The '21 Chevy Tahoe I reviewed in January came to $68,940. But both of those were more off-road spec. Optioning either of them in full-luxe trim like the Armada Platinum 4WD would very likely result in a number within walking distance of $71,250. And that makes the new Armada by definition competitive. At least to a point. The Tahoe is all-new, with a more efficient V8 that moves the big SUV quicker while using less gasoline. But you can't really option a Tahoe up to Armada Platinum opulence, either. And that's a factor for a significant number of buyers. The refinements, upgrades and updates to the Armada strike me as a wise investment in the brand.