Nissan Armada returns for 2019 with a few updates

G. Chambers Williams III
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Nissan Armada full-size sport utility, now in its second generation, returns for 2019 with a few updates, including new standard safety technology.

Now included on all trim levels are Rear Door Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning.

There are four trim levels for 2019: SV (base price $46,790 plus $1,395 freight), SL ($51,590), Platinum ($59,690) and Platinum Reserve ($62,690), a new top-of-the-line model added last year. All of these come with rear-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive can be added to any trim level for an additional $3,000.

Also for 2019, the Armada comes with NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM, including an eight-inch multi-touch display, HD Radio, SiriusXM Travel Link with three years of service (SiriusXM subscription sold separately), Enhanced Voice Recognition, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant and additional USB ports.

The Platinum and Platinum Reserve models come with the Intelligent Rear-View Mirror, which uses a high-resolution camera at the rear exterior to transmit a rear-facing image onto a monitor built into the center rearview mirror. But there is a switch at the bottom of the mirror that lets the driver change between camera and standard mirror views.

This camera system eliminates blind spots in the rearview mirror image caused by such interior elements as headrests, body panels and large cargo items.

Armada’s second generation is based on the architecture of the Infiniti QX80 luxury SUV.

Since the midsize, seven-passenger Pathfinder was shifted to a car-based crossover format five years ago, the Armada is the only three-row, truck-based SUV left in the Nissan lineup.

Inside, there is seating for up to eight people, and it still has a conventional body-on-frame design rather than the unibody construction of a crossover.

The Armada can be configured for seven passengers by replacing the standard three-person second-row bench seat with two captain’s chairs ($450 extra). That lowers the capacity to two in front, two in the middle and three in the rear.

We tested the Armada SV with all-wheel drive and the standard eight-passenger arrangement (base price $49,790). We didn’t need the third row in a week with the Armada, but it can easily accommodate big kids or average-size adults.

The Armada is high enough off the ground (9.1-inch ground clearance for the SV, 9.2-inch for the other trims) that it can be a bit difficult to get into from outside. To help, there are steel side step rails with rubber pads on each side.

Armada competes in the full-size SUV class along with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and its siblings, the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, as well as the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia. Also in the mix is the Lincoln Navigator, which also is a direct competitor to the QX80.

EPA ratings are 14 city/19 highway/16 combined for rear-drive models, and 13/18/15 for four-wheel-drives.