Behind the Wheel

2020 Nissan Armada Review: High on comfort and capability, low on tech

The 2020 Nissan Armada is already passed its prime.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2020 Nissan Armada has a reputation for being a strong and capable vehicle but in an increasingly competitive field, it's not the stunner it could be. As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 begins, the three-row full-size SUV will be competing against completely redesigned Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon models for buyer dollars.

Both the Armada and the 2020 Infiniti QX80 offer a similar driving and handling experience. They're powered by the same 5.6-liter V8 engine that is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission. The engine is thirsty and competent but both SUVs suffer from lane wandering habits that make a driver's arms tired and patience wear out in a jiffy.

2020 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve rearview camera mirror The SUV does have a nifty rearview camera mirror. It's distracting in the daytime but helps mitigate headlight blindness at night.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Both can tow up to 8,500 pounds and have enough off-road prowess to more than satisfy the average owner.

Seating is especially comfortable in both of the vehicles' front rows. Second row seating is decently comfy with enough leg- and headroom for adults to be comfortable. The third row is best only for short trips as adults feel easily squished.

Nissan introduced the Platinum Reserve trim level for its Armada for the 2018 model year. Designed to be the top-tier offering, the Armada Platinum Reserve features all the bells and whistles including Dark Chrome exterior trim, Dark Grey skid plate and tow hatch cover, two-tone leather-appointed seats, interior trim with unique stitching, and 22-inch wheels and tires. It also gets a standard rearview camera mirror.

interior Nissan Armada 2020 screen shifter The center stack immediately dates the Armada.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

But, and this is a big but, it still includes Nissan's outdated infotainment system and driver information screen. There are large buttons galore on the center stack in a time where most SUVs at the Armada Platinum Reserve's price point have gone to either one large infotainment screen and a minimalist button setup or a dual-screen setup with buttons only where absolutely necessary.

The driver information screen is a relic of another generation of vehicles. Despite technically only being in the second year of its second generation, the screen looks much older.

Nissan Armada instrument cluster driver information screen The driver information screen in the Armada looks a decade old.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

With a $68,030 starting price for the 2020 Armada Platinum Reserve 4x4, it's easy to see potential buyers looking elsewhere for more updated equipment.

If you're set on getting a Nissan but want a more modern SUV, take a stroll over to the other side of the lot to the Infiniti dealership where a fresher 2020 Infiniti QX80 sits.

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The QX60 is all-new for 2022.

Infiniti

Infiniti has released detailed specs and features for its all-new QX60 SUV. The upscale family hauler will land later this year with a reasonable starting price, updated tech, a nicely appointed cabin, and plenty more. The automaker offers its new SUV in four trims, each of which is available with all-wheel drive: Pure, Luxe, Sensory, and Autograph.

The QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available, and all models get a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti says that the gearbox has a low first gear that helps deliver better acceleration and power off the line, and taller upper gears for smoother cruising on the highway. The revised all-wheel drive system is more responsive and engages more quickly than the system in the previous model.


2022 Infiniti QX60 The QX60 gets leather and several luxury features as standard kit. Infiniti


An upgraded interior is in the cards for the new QX60, as all models now get leather, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel as standard equipment. Front passengers' backsides are treated to Infiniti's excellent zero-gravity seats and a stiffer second-row seat frame reduces vibration and noise in the cabin. Infiniti says that the cabin itself has more sound-deadening materials and thicker glass in the second row, which together yield a 7 percent improvement in noise on the highway.


2022 Infiniti QX60 A digital gauge cluster comes on all but the base model.Infiniti


A 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six USB ports, nine speakers, HD Radio Bluetooth, voice commands, and SiriusXM radio are also standard. All but the base Pure trim level come with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and the top Autograph model gets a 10.8-inch full-color head-up display and a smart rearview mirror.

The new QX60 goes on sale this fall in the U.S. and Canada. Pricing starts at $47,875 for the base Pure model and tops out at $64,275 for the top Autograph AWD trim.

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Initial quality study

Nissan Maxima earns top spot in J.D. Power study

The Maxima earned the best model score in J.D. Power's 2021 quality study.

Nissan

J.D. Power has released the results of its 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS), and found that the Nissan Maxima achieved the highest score of any single model. The car earned a score of just 85 problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) and Nissan performed well overall in the study. The Maxima entered its sixth generation in 2016 and has remained on sale relatively unchanged since, though Nissan has updated the car with new tech and safety equipment over the years.

Nissan's scores landed it at fourth among mass market brands. The Altima, Maxima, and Murano took the top spots in their respective segments as well. The automaker also took home a top score for its Smyrna Assembly facility in Tennessee, which houses production for the Murano SUV. The six-million square-foot plant earned a gold award for producing vehicles with the fewest defects in the Americas.


2021 Nissan Maxima Infotainment was cited a a major problem area for new car owners.Nissan


Nissan's results are impressive, but Ram has an even bigger reason to celebrate. With a score of 128 PP100, the automaker was the highest-ranking brand in overall quality for the first time ever. Sister company Dodge earned the number-two spot with 139 PP100. Lexus tied with Mitsubishi at number three with a score of 144 PP100, which also made Lexus the highest-ranking premium brand.

J.D. Power surveyed over 110,000 purchasers and lessees of new vehicles for the 2021 study. Owners were asked 223 questions across nine categories on vehicle features, infotainment, seats, and others. On average, scores for the industry as a whole improve by about 3 percent each year, but progress slowed in 2021 to 2 percent. J.D. Power says that infotainment issues were the primary cause of slowing quality improvement levels.


2021 Nissan Maxima Three other Nissan models scored well in the study.Nissan

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