Nissan has let the cat out of the bag for their top three SUV/crossovers for 2020, the Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada. As you would expect from an outfit like Nissan, they’re not nearly as expensive as the content would lead you to believe. Which one you put in your driveway will depend on what your family needs exactly. The Murano seats five, while the Pathfinder holds seven, and the Armada can accommodate eight. This short guide will help you if you are shopping for a Nissan SUV in the near future.
In you need something smaller than one of these three, we recommend the Nissan Kicks.
2020 Nissan Murano
Let’s deal with the lighter offering first, the Murano. Like the Italian city it is named after, the Murano aims for elegance and style more than off-road capability. Sure, you can take it down 10 miles of logging road, but you most likely won’t so why worry about that stuff? However, it’s ideal for commuting, running errands around town, and getting the family where they need to be during the week.
The 2020 Nissan Murano will start at $32,575 for the S front-wheel drive model. As you can probably guess, the S is the entry-level trim. The entire Murano lineup is available in four grades for 2020. There’s the S, SV, SL, and Platinum at the top of the heap. All of them are powered by a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter DOHC V6 mated to an Xtronic transmission. You get your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive across the range.
Safety Tech & New Colors
This third generation Murano has undergone a wide-ranging refresh over the 2019 model. The exterior and interior are revised with the expanded availability of Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, a suite of six advanced active safety and driver-assist technologies. New option packages are also on offer, and you can even get a new exterior color: Super Black.
Here’s a handy pricing and trim level chart for the 2020 Nissan Murano.
2020 Nissan Pathfinder
No one is going to accuse the Pathfinder of being a soft crossover only suited for picking up the kids after school. Sure, you’re probably going to be using the Pathfinder for just that, but if you want to (or have to) take the thing down some muddy, sodden track during the wee hours of the night, in the middle of a Roland Emmerich-level storm, the Pathfinder will handle it with a good-natured shrug.
Like it’s Murano sibling, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder starts at a completely reasonable $32,725. The Pathfinder is a seven-passenger, half-track-shaped ride that comes in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations. You have your choice of four grades: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. For 2020, Nissan will continue to offer the well-equipped Rock Creek Edition. The Rock Creek Edition is a special value package (maybe why it’s so popular?) with unique exterior and interior treatments. It is available for the SV and SL grades. Also standard on the Rock Creek Edition is a trailer tow hitch and splash guards.
Under The Hood & In The Cabin
All Pathfinders get a beefier engine than the Murano: a 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 with Nissan’s Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) system. Said mill is hooked up to an Xtronic transmission. This adds up to a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 lbs., giving it enough to move any two-axle recreational trailers you may have.
The interior of the Pathfinder features Nissan’s EZ Flex Seating System with “Latch and Glide,” a second row tilt-and-glide seat that gets you third row access easy-peasy, even with a car seat. Other available features include the Intelligent Around View Monitor; Bose 13-speaker audio system; Dual Panorama Moonroof; power liftgate with position memory; and NissanConnect with Navigation and Services.
Here’s a handy pricing and trim level chart for the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder.
2020 Nissan Armada
At the top of the heap (especially in terms of size) we find the 2020 Nissan Armada. Big and capacious, the Armada starts just shy of $48,500 but you do get a lot of features packed into what is an already sizable and capable SUV. Nissan’s flagship SUV is designed for large and/or growing families with seating for up to eight and tons of flexible cargo space in either a 4WD or 2WD setup. The 2020 Armada comes in a choice of four grade levels: SV, SL, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve.
Related: A guide to understanding your Nissan warranty and if you have enough.
Power comes from a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 cranking out 390 horsepower and offering up 8,500 lbs. of towing capacity. There’s a 22-inch Wheel Package with 22×8-inch, 14-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and 275/50R22 all-season tires. Heated outside mirrors are now standard on all trim levels.
The Laundry List of Features
The Armada has many, many advanced technology systems on offer for 2020. There’s the standard Intelligent Rear View Mirror that uses a high-resolution, rear-mounted camera. It projects a clear image onto the rearview mirror via an LCD monitor that’s built-in. Not to worry Luddites, a switch allows you to access either the traditional rearview mirror system or the Intelligent Rear View Mirror.
Nissan says the safety and convenience systems for the Armada are extensive and advanced, and they are not joking. There’s Intelligent Distance Control; Automatic Emergency Braking; Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Lane Intervention; Blind Spot Warning; Intelligent Back-up Intervention; Family Entertainment System; and the Intelligent Around View Monitor. See, there’s a lot of stuff. If that’s not enough, there are four option packages: Driver Package; Premium Package; Captain’s Chairs Package; and 22-inch Wheel Package.
Lastly, here’s a handy pricing and trim level chart for the 2020 Nissan Armada.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.
Photos & Source: Nissan North America.