Underneath the new facelift and updated interior is a powerful V8 that generates 400 hp.
In its current state, the JDM truck platform supporting the Nissan Armada dates back to 2010. That was when the then-new Nissan Patrol debuted for the global market. Soon after, the United States would get a refreshed Infiniti QX56 (now QX80). The North American Nissan didn’t get a new Armada until 2016 and has since been playing catch-up. Now, the Armada has been brought up to date for 2021.
Extensively Redesigned For 2021
Despite a chiseled front-end that benefits from new LED lighting complementing a new grille that displays the updated company logo, this is not an all-new vehicle. Instead, it’s an extensive refresh that sees a visual reworking inside and out without making changes that are more than skin-deep.
This means the Armada sees reworked headlamps and taillamps that come with LEDs standard. The V-shape grille gets some tinkering and there’s a new badge. Nissan is quick to put an effort on rebranding now that the company is under new leadership after Carlos Ghosn’s tumultuous tenure.
Interior Refinements Include 12.3-Inch Infotainment
Inside is where the Armada begins to look familiar, namely showing its age. Much of the interior remains unchanged, with the exception of adjustments made to the center console. The key highlight here is a new 12.3-inch infotainment screen sitting atop the dash. Nissan is proud to claim it as the largest in its class, ahead of the Toyota Sequoia, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and Ford Expedition.
That screen is now able to support split-screen compatibility along with smartphone mirroring. Wireless Apple CarPlay is featured while Android users will require a cord connection. A wireless phone charger is also available along with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Platinum-spec Armadas get a camera-feed rearview mirror with a sharper image resolution. Also updated is Nissan’s Family Entertainment Center consisting of screens in the back of headrests and wireless headphones. Bigger wheels, quilted leather, and a Bose stereo with 13 speakers, among other things, are included in the top-of-the-line model.
V8 Engine Bumps Up Horsepower To 400
Beyond cosmetics, little changes elsewhere. The naturally aspirated 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 gets a slight power bump to 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque—an increase of 10 and 19 from the 2020 Armada. That number minutely drops if you run it on Regular instead of Premium. This is just as well because fuel economy remains unchanged at 14 city/19 highway for rear-drive Armadas. The sole engine choice uses a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Despite improvements, the 2021 Armada’s tow rating remains at 8,500 pounds. This puts it ahead of Chevrolet’s 8,300-8,400 (depending on wheelbase length) and just behind the Dodge Durango R/T with the Tow N Go Package (8,700) and the Ford Expedition (9,300) with the heavy-duty trailer package. A trailer brake receiver and tow hitch are now standard on every Armada except on the base S trim level.Also standard is Nissan’s en suite of collision prevention tech that includes Safety Shield 360, as well as forward collision warning, active cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and driver alert detection.