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2021 Nissan Armada Review: First Drive

2021 Nissan Armada Review

2021 Nissan Armada Review: First Drive

The 2021 Nissan Armada brings a refreshed style and significant technology upgrades to a large, luxurious SUV that also boasts a healthy towing capacity.

Nissan’s most noticeable exterior changes include a taller grille and a redesigned rear with new taillights and a chrome strip on the back.

Inside, we get a new infotainment system and a redesigned center stack, the middle of the dash where controls are. At the top is a 12.3-inch display that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. This is a much-needed update, and it elevates the experience of driving the 2021 Armada.

Another fun upgrade is the Nissan Concierge service that allows you to push a button and talk to a live assistant who can help you with directions, schedule appointments, find gifts and loads of other tasks.

Driving the 2021 Nissan Armada

What you need to know about driving the 2021 Nissan Armada.
Josh Smith

The 2021 Armada uses the same 5.6L Endurance V8 as the 2020 Armada. This means that the driving experience is very similar. The V8 delivers 400 horsepower, and it can tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped.

The large SUV handles well, and we felt confident while driving thanks in part to the stability and lack of body roll. Body roll is what you feel when you take a curve or a corner, and the vehicle feels like it is leaning or rolling to the side.

We took the Armada on a road trip to Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor to get a feel for the highway driving experience. The Armada still needs a decent number of small corrections on the highway, but overall it is comfortable and suited for a road trip.

We didn’t tow with the 2021 Nissan Armada, but the previous generation proved quite capable.

This large SUV doesn’t sip gas, but that is expected. The EPA rating for the 2WD Armada is 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. The 4WD Armada we tested is rated at 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined.

2021 Nissan Armada Interior and Design

2021 Nissan Armada Interior
A redesigned center stack is the major upgrade for 2021.
Josh Smith

The 2021 Armada looks more modern and a little sportier thanks to the new grille, front bumper and headlights. This is a much-needed change and sets the tone for the vehicle. The side profile is similar, but the redesigned front and tapered back upgrade the looks significantly. Nissan also sculpts the Armada’s back to create a sleeker look for the rear window from the side. The updated taillights and chrome accent complete the look. While it’s not an all-new Armada, it is an essential update for 2021.

The 2021 Armada is roomy, comfortable and features a premium look and feel. The most significant interior change for 2021 is the center of the dash, which is entirely new. The new design feels more modern, and we like the dark colors on our Armada loaner.

You can fit up to eight passengers in the Armada and still use the rear cargo area. The second row is spacious, and the third row is usable but may be cramped for adults. With the seats folded flat, the middle row console is still slightly higher, which is an obstacle to navigate if you are loading something wide and deep.

2021 Nissan Tech and Safety

2021 Nissan Armada infotainment
The 2021 Armada includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Josh Smith

The redesigned center of the dash includes a much-needed update to the infotainment system. With the update, users get a 12.3-inch display, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our loaner was equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay, which is handy for short trips. It also includes a wireless charger hidden in the center console and USB and USB-C connections in the front, and charging ports in the second row.

The Armada’s large screen is easy to see, responsive to touch and vastly better than the screen in the 2020 model. The screen’s right side shows a Nissan infotainment option, like the clock or music playing while using Apple CarPlay. It would be nice to use CarPlay on the full screen.

Nissan Concierge is on the new Armada. This service connects you to a live assistant that can help you manage your busy life. We used this service earlier this year to plan a safe outdoor birthday party for a friend. The assistant tracked down a restaurant with vegan options, had a patio and took patio reservations. They even arranged for a special dessert for his birthday. Other tasks included tracking down hard to find items and scheduling appointments.

The 2021 Armada includes Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and rear automatic braking. The Armada also includes features like forward collision warning, radar cruise control to keep you in the flow of traffic and both lane and blind spot intervention.

Another useful feature is the rear door aAlert, which lets you know if you may have forgotten something in the back seat.

Nissan provided Newsweek with the vehicle, insurance and a full tank of gas for the purpose of this review. Opinions are our own.

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