2021 Nissan Armada 14

2021 Nissan Armada Overview: Trim Levels, Engine Specs, New Tech Features & More

When you shop for a full-size SUV, the 2021 Nissan Armada might not top your “must-look” list. Perhaps it should. True, critics don’t often rave about this three-row SUV that seats up to eight passengers, but its owners do. The Armada topped the 2020 J.D. Power list for “highest-rated family SUV for quality,” based on verified owners’ feedback.

The Modern Xterra

And the latest Armada is poised for more kudos. Nissan boosted the capabilities, tech, and style of the 2021 model of its flagship SUV, which it first introduced to U.S. buyers in 2004. Nissan still designs the Armada for families and the gear they lug to school events, vacation destinations, and shopping trips.

Yet, the “box on wheels” design of the 2004 Armada is long gone. The 2021 model has a more athletic build that resembles the automaker’s discontinued Xterra. A new grille, hood, fenders, and new LED headlights add to its contemporary look.

The passing exterior resemblance the Armada shares with the discontinued five-passenger Xterra, which ended production in 2015, is basically all the two models have in common. The Xterra, which was a cross between the automaker’s Pathfinder SUV and its Frontier pickup, was built for off-roading adventures. That translated into a cramped back seat, difficult-to-exit rear doors, and low gas mileage. The 2021 Nissan Armada is all about high-tech comfort and safety, but it still delivers an off-roading prowess for those who want to camp, hike, kayak, or just explore unfamiliar roads.

2021 Nissan Armada.
2021 Nissan Armada. Photo: Nissan North America.

2021 Nissan Armada: Engine & Powertrain

Nissan equipped all trim levels of the 2021 Armada with a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 with 400 horsepower (5200 rpm) and 413 lb-ft. of torque (at 4,000 rpm). The seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching is standard. The 2021 Armada is available in rear-wheel drive or Nissan’s advanced Auto 4WD system, which features Auto/4HI/4LO modes, an electronically controlled part-time transfer case, and a 2.70:1 4LO gear ratio.

The power comes at a price, though. Like the aforementioned Xterra, Nissan reports low estimated fuel ratings for the 2WD Armada at 14/19 city/highway and 16 combined. The 4WD model will clock in at a gas hungry 13/18 city/highway and 15 combined. If you are towing, expect these fuel economy figures to drop even more. When properly equipped, the 2021 Armada can tow up to 8,500 lbs.

Chassis & Suspension

As is typical with large SUVs, the new Armada makes use of its body-on-frame construction made primarily of high-strength steel. From there, Nissan built the new Armada with an independent double-wishbone front and rear suspension. That suspension, combined with Hitachi twin-tube shock absorbers on each corner, should increase passenger comfort even when you swing it onto dirt and off-roading trails.

If you do happen to venture off-road, Nissan has included a standard skid plate for the radiator for added protection.

2021 Nissan Armada driving off-road through a small river.
The 2021 Nissan Armada has an additional skid plate for the radiator to protect it during off-road adventures. Photo: Nissan North America.

Interior Treatments

The front, 10-way, power-adjustable bucket seats are heated. The second row, which folds to a 60/40 split-bench, has a roomy 40 inches of headroom and 41 inches of legroom. One note: You can opt for second-row captain’s chairs in the two highest trim levels (SV and Platinum), but the capacity then drops to seven occupants.

Perhaps the best family-friendly feature of the third row is a 60/40-split bench seat that folds flat. That’s great when you need to carry anything from groceries to kids’ sports equipment. The downside – It’s tough to climb into the third row because of a large hump in the floor.

Tech & Connectivity Features

Armada’s tech is generous across all trim levels. Standard features includes:

  • Steering wheel audio controls.
  • Bluetooth hands-free phone system.
  • Nissan Door-to-Door Navigation with SiriusXM.
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto.
  • Traffic and Travel Link (with three-month complimentary trial access).
  • NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM (with five-year Plus and six-month Premium complimentary trial access).

One other interior improvement is the 12.3-inch touchscreen on the new center stack. The controls are clearly labeled, and the design allows you to stow the wireless charging pad.

2021 Nissan Armada: Pricing & Trim Levels

Currently, the 2021 Nissan Armada is available in S, SV, SL, and Platinum models. The MSRP figures below include the $1,395 destination and handling charge.


According to Nissan, the S is a “late availability” trim level for 2021. No other details have been released as of this writing.

  • Starting MSRP 4×2: $49,895
  • Starting MSRP 4×4: $52,895


The base model rides on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 265/70R18 BSW all-season tires. It includes AM/FM and auxiliary audio with six speakers, a Rearview Monitor, push-button start, and heated adjustable front leatherette seats. The driver’s seat is 10-way powered.

Optional SV Appearance Package: fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal garage door opener, a power liftgate, and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 275/60R20 all-season tires.

  • Starting MSRP 4×2: $53,895
  • Starting MSRP 4×4: $56,895


The SL rides on 20-inch, machine-finished, aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 275/60R20 BSW all-season tires. It includes a 13-speaker Bose Audio System, Intelligent Around View Monitor, push-button start with a remote-start feature, a power-sliding moonroof, and trailer sway control. The seats are leather-appointed. Each front seat is 10-way powered.

Optional Armada Midnight Edition Package: This includes what Nissan calls “unique Midnight Edition 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels” with 275/60R20 all-season tires. From there, the Midnight Edition lives up to its name with a number of blacked-out exterior elements: mirrors, grille, roof rails, rear LED lamps, front and rear skid plates, and the exterior logos. It also includes a black interior headliner, black interior trim, black leather-appointed seats, cargo mat, and Midnight Edition floor mats.

Optional Captain’s Chair Package: second-row captain’s chairs and second-row center console with padded armrest (as noted above, seating goes from eight to seven passengers).

  • Starting MSRP 4×2: $57,295
  • Starting MSRP 4×4: $60,295
  • Midnight Edition Package MSRP: $1,990


The Platinum rides on 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 275/60R20 BSW all-season tires. It includes a family entertainment center with dual eight-inch headrest display screens and two pairs of wireless headphones. It also includes the 13-speaker Bose audio system and HDMI input. Other tech features include an intelligent rearview mirror, wiper de-icer, front rain-sensing wipers, rear step lamp, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Backup Collision Intervention, illuminated cupholders, and third-row power recline and folding seats.

Optional Captain’s Chair Package: second-row captain’s chairs and second-row center console with padded armrest (as noted above, seating goes from eight to seven passengers).

  • Starting MSRP 4×2: $66,295
  • Starting MSRP 4×4: $69,295

2021 Nissan Armada Safety Features

The new Armada has many standard safety technologies, including Nissan Safety Shield 360, and features like Intelligent Lane Intervention, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Blind Spot Intervention.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had posted crash test ratings for the 2021 Armada at the time of this writing.

Warranty Coverage

Every 2021 Nissan Armada comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and five years, 60,000 miles worth of powertrain coverage. Depending on how much you drive, a Nissan extended warranty might be of benefit to you. 

2021 Nissan Armada Availability

If you are in the market for a new Armada, this free and helpful search tool* will show you dealer inventory in your area. That tool will also help you secure the invoice price, which is beneficial to have if you are negotiating with the dealership. 

Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.

2021 Nissan Armada Gallery

 Photos & Source: Nissan North America.

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