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Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

| | | | | April 10, 2023

Words and Images by Paul Strauss

The Nissan Armada has been the Japanese automaker’s largest SUV for 20 years. We hadn’t spent time in one in a while and recently had the opportunity to live with the 2023 Armada for a week. Does the upscale Platinum model have what it takes to keep up in today’s crowded 3-row SUV market?

Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

Measuring 208.9" long, 79.9" wide, and 75.8" tall, there's no question the Armada has a presence. The Platinum model rolls on enormous 22" wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler all-season tires. Its boxy shape has been rounded at the corners, and numerous chrome accents elevate the exterior to a similar level of luxury as its pricier brother, the Infiniti QX80.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum


While most of today's SUVs have moved to turbocharged 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engines, the Armada still rocks a 5.6-liter V8 engine. With 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft. of torque, it's got enough get up and go to motivate the Armada Platinum 4WD's 6,000+ pound curb weight, plus tow up to 8500 pounds. There's a 7-speed automatic transmission, and the 4WD configuration includes a 2-speed transfer case in case you decide to take the Armada on rugged terrain. It's a solid powertrain, but it's not exactly fuel efficient, offering 13 MPG in the city, 18 MPG on the highway, and 15 MPG combined. Fortunately, it has an enormous 26-gallon fuel tank so that you can drive nearly 400 miles between fill-ups.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

The transmission shifts smoothly and predictably, and the engine accelerates with the forceful intent you'd expect from a big V8. As a tall and heavy vehicle built on a body-on-frame platform, the Armada handles much like you'd expect. It's got a soft and well-cushioned ride, but it also has lots of body roll and an overall imprecise feel to its steering. There's good isolation from road vibrations, and the cabin of the Armada is well insulated from wind noise.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum


The interior of the Armada Platinum offers premium materials, including quilted leather seats and a dark hardwood trim that can be found on the center console, dashboard, and doors. The high gloss finish on the wood and the gathered stitching on the door panels are a bit dated, though. They're the kinds of luxury details you'd find on a Cadillac Brougham in the 1990s. If Nissan had gone with less leather on the doors and a matte finish on the wood, it would look decidedly more modern. The front seats have both heat and cooling and are comfy and supportive.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

Nissan redesigned the center stack of the Armada in 2021, and it's a significant upgrade from the prior design. A 12.3" touchscreen display sits at the top, providing access to multimedia controls, with just the right number of tactile controls for volume, tuning, and climate controls. Safety and convenience tech includes a crisp digital rearview mirror that improves visibility, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and more. The backup camera includes a top-down surround view, which is very helpful for parking an SUV as big as the Armada. Wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa tech also come standard. There's also a wireless phone charging pad hidden behind a hardwood door.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

Depending on the configuration, the Armada seats 7 or 8 passengers. Our test vehicle came equipped with cushy second-row captain's chairs separated by one of the biggest armrests we've seen. It's like having a piece of living room furniture between the seats, providing lots of storage space for things like headphones and remotes for the seatback entertainment system. But with smartphones and tablets everywhere, does anyone use seatback screens anymore? Legroom and headroom are excellent back here, and passengers will enjoy heated derrieres, independent climate controls, and USB ports. One thing you won't find is a panoramic moonroof. Only the front seat passengers get to enjoy a view of the sky.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

Thanks to an easy-to-use tip-up mechanism on the captain's chairs, it's surprisingly straightforward to access the third-row seats. As is typical in 3-row SUVs, the back row gets the most basic seats. Headroom is good back here, but the kneeroom is tight; it's definitely a place for the kiddos. There aren't USB ports back here, but at least there are plenty of cupholders for their drinks.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

The Armada offers excellent cargo space. Thanks in large part to its boxy shape and relatively flat roofline, there's a whopping 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second-row seats flipped up and third-row seats folded flat. There's 49.9 cubic feet behind the second row and 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row. Lowering and raising the third row is quick and effortless thanks to a pushbutton power-folding system. A power liftgate also comes standard.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum

When Nissan refreshed the design of the Armada in 2021, it helped to modernize the SUV's looks. But the underlying platform still feels old compared to more recently released 3-row SUVs. We appreciate its powerful engine and spacious interior. However, fuel efficiency is poor, it handles like a truck, and some questionable aesthetic decisions inside contribute to its less-than-modern feel. The Armada is still a substantial and versatile vehicle, but we'd love to see a more comprehensive redesign to address the areas where it's fallen behind. The base RWD Nissan Armada S starts at $50,700, while the Armada Platinum 4WD starts at $70,020. Our fully-equipped 7-seat vehicle stickered at $72,925, including destination charges.Driven: 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum


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