By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
Despite the constant calls of its pending doom or complete abolition, the full-size SUV will likely always have a place in the American garage – at least as long as there are large families with large toys to tow behind them. The 2012 Nissan Armada is an excellent example of the full-size quarter-ton SUV families like the ones mentioned above can't live without. A bit more stylish than the boxy Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition, the Nissan Armada nonetheless has the muscle and strength to go toe-to-toe with its domestic competitors. Its 317-horsepower V8 can tow up to 9,000 pounds, and the available all-wheel drive is ideal for winter-weather states. However, as Nissan does not make a 3/4-ton variant, really heavy jobs will require moving to the Chevrolet Suburban 2500 model. If the Titan's $40,000 asking price isn't a detractor, odds are you'll be able to budget the $100-plus fill-ups required to keep the Armada afloat. For those who truly need what the 2012 Nissan Armada SUV has, the long list of luxury amenities, comfortable interior and cavernous cargo hold can make owning such a vehicle a little less painful on the paycheck.
If you're looking for a powerful, tech-savvy SUV with edgy styling that makes a bold statement, the 2012 Nissan Armada SUV outshines most competitors in its segment and even a few luxury models costing thousands more.
The term "full-size SUV" means just that. The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV is big, heavy and not much fun to drive in confined areas. If you need 6- or 7-passenger seating but not the ability to tow heavy loads, a GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango or Honda Pilot might be a better alternative.
The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV receives some minor upgrades including a power rear liftgate and heated front seats now standard on the SL trim. The Platinum trim receives standard heated second-row seats and a padded center armrest with the Captain's-chairs option.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's hefty bulk and truck-like build might have you thinking that handling and ride comfort are not going to be its strongest attributes, and you would...be half right. Nissan's adept double-wishbone suspension geometry and capable speed-sensitive power steering make the Armada as easy to operate as a mid-size Nissan Pathfinder. Tight confines are still a bit tricky given the Nissan Armada's length, but its short front and rear overhangs make maneuvering in tight corners a bit less worrisome. On smooth pavement, the Armada sails along with little drama, but upon encountering rough seas-uneven pavement or large expansion joints, for example-the Armada's Titan-based roots quickly make themselves known. The Armada's suspension isn't as efficient at isolating road imperfections as is the Chevy Suburban, choosing instead to send the slightest rude jolt or annoying vibration into the passenger cabin. The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's 317-horsepower V8 engine delivers great power and never feels tepid or short of breath, and its 5-speed automatic delivers decisive, nearly imperceptible shifts.
Rear Seat Design
The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's versatile rear-seat design includes fold-flat seats that create a level loading floor.
Standard Head-Curtain Airbags
The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's standard head-curtain airbags cover all three rows of seating.
The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's interior is designed to adapt to multiple needs, able to shuttle up to eight passengers, or just two people and 97 cubic feet worth of their stuff. The Armada's second row can be outfitted with either a 3-person bench seat or a set of Captain's-chair-style seats divided by a removable center console. The console is perfect for storing water bottles or video games, and when removed creates a clear and easy pathway for the third-row passengers to enter and exit. Passengers in the Armada SUV's third-row seat have a slightly elevated perch designed to give them an equally good view ahead as well as make the area feel less claustrophobic. Those concerned about safety can take solace in the Armada's many safety features, including side-curtain airbags covering all three rows. When cargo takes precedent over passengers, the 2012 Nissan Armada SUV's massive cargo area can be expanded to give 56.7 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seat and a whopping 97.1 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded flat.Exterior
Nissan took a bit of a risk with the 2012 Armada SUV, giving it styling themes usually reserved for sport sedans and small cars. Expressive body arches and door frames stand out from the 90-degree-angle designs expressed on the Armada's competitors, as do its raised roof and enormous side fender flares. Nissan's 3-opening chrome grille so familiar on their truck line is present on the Armada SUV as well, adding a bit of ruggedness on an otherwise luxurious SUV. Some of the styling cues actually hinder functionality, such as the high-mounted rear door handles that can be difficult for little kids to easily access. The 2012 Nissan Armada SUV offers a generous helping of side glass providing good 360-degree views out. The Armada's huge side mirrors (they feature auto dimming on Platinum models) further aid outward vision by revealing objects lurking close to the big SUV's sides.
The 2012 Nissan Armada SV has a 317-horsepower V8 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), front and rear air conditioning, floor- and ceiling-mounted consoles, Vehicle Dynamic Control, rear privacy glass, dual power heated outside mirrors, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, power-adjustable pedals, AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability, front and rear head-curtain airbags (covering all three rows), front side-impact airbags, running boards, 8-way power driver's seat, cruise control, tire-pressure monitor and a rear wiper and washer. The SL adds Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, leather seating, RearView Monitor, Bluetooth, Bose audio, power-folding third-row seat, power liftgate, heated front seats and auto-leveling rear air suspension. The Platinum Edition includes all these features plus heated second-row seats and steering wheel, a power moonroof, a hard drive-based navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Options for the 2012 Nissan Armada SUV vary by trim. The Armada SV can be equipped with the Driver Package that adds a 12-speaker Bose audio system, Bluetooth, power liftgate, RearView Monitor, foglights and a power-folding third-row seat. Also available on the SV is the Tow Package and a number of dealer-installed options. The Nissan Armada SL can be equipped with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a power moonroof, while the Platinum Edition offers second-row Captain's-chair seating. All models offer the option of 4-wheel drive.
Nissan equips the 2012 Armada SUV with its most powerful V8 engine and the results are impressive. Tow rated at 9,100-pounds (with the available Tow Package), the Armada credits itself well in maximum towing capacity among lighter-duty, full-size SUVs.
317 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 (gasoline, 2WD), 12/18 (gasoline, 4WD), 9/13 (E85, 2WD), 9/13 (E85, 4WD)
By mmm on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"the only thing I wish was different.... on occasion, I'd like more storage space in the rear with all 3 rows in use."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By B on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 195,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "Mileage. 16-17 on the highway tops."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Less than $4000 in lifetime repairs. Bought the car new in the fall of 2005. It has towed a 30 foot camper through the mountains many times."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By janstx on Friday, January 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,750overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, smooth ride, comfy seats"
Cons: "wind noise, no AUX port"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"In 2012 I purchased a preowned 2011 Armada SV & LOVED it. The one I purchased had a lot of miles on it & I decided since I loved it so much, it was time to upgrade. I traded it in for a 2013 Armada SL. There are two major complaints I do have...#1 at just 2700 miles my check engine light came on. Took it in & they said the O2 sensor needs to be replaced. I wasn't too happy that my brand new car need to go in the shop already. #2 Is the wind noise. I noticed it in my precious armada but not as much as I do now. I've actually got an appointment next week at the dealership to check it out & see it the seal around my driver door is messed up because the noise is significatly louder there & the door rattles when I hit a bump. One other thing I'm dissapointed in is that there is no place to plug in an auxillary cord to listen to my iphone. There is a USB port to plug in an ipod, but not an iphone where I can listen to Pandora or internet radio like I could in my 2011. So, for the most part yes, I do love my new car, but I do have a few dissapointments that hopefully were just minor hiccups that will be resolved soon."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Papa on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The best vehical Ihave ever owned. My previous vehical was a Toyota 4 Runner, which was a great ride. It was a 2000 I liked it but it was the model year before 4 Runner were enlarged, the interior was just too tight, I always felt crowded. The Armada is big, my wife loves it says she always feel safe in it. It pulls my 18 foot bow rider or utility trailer like they are not there. I usually trade ever 3or4 years, but cannot justify spending in excess of 40K just to have a newer model, when BIG RED has served very well."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Lena on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 212,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, safe and reliable, roomy"
Cons: "MPG, higher maintanence costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is our current family SUV and we LOVE it. We had previously driven a Ford Explorer and a Chevy Tahoe. We had thoroughly shopped around dealerships comparing prices and features between various makes and models, and I've never liked anything better than my Armada. We have the 8 passenger model which has been great for our family of 6 (and large furry friend)! Obviously the MPG aren't the greatest, but you don't buy an SUV if you're worried about fuel efficiency but on road-trips I've gotten up to 24mpg which is awesome. The interior is roomy and practical and it drives great. Great acceleration, good stopping capabilities, and a very stable ride - I feel very safe and the 4WD/AWD is an amazing feature. Currently there is 212,000 miles on our odometer and it's still running great, I've never had any major issues mechanical or otherwise. We are currently shopping around for a newer SUV with less miles and plan to upgrade to a newer Armada."
14 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By SPIDEY on Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I own this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of power. Very comfortable ride front & back"
Cons: "New model with fewer aminities?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I was dissappointed in a few ammentities that were absent from this model that were on previous models. 1. The Music Box was gone and replaced with an access port for an ipod with a single disc player. There used to be an active port for a cigarette charger (that stayed on even when the car was off) and there was a normal 110 outlet in the console that has also been removed. You would think with the top of the line model that they would have kept up with some of the other makers and added a cooled seat option. There should be more control of the rear dvd players up front. For the most part the vehicle drives great. It is a smooth ride with great control and a heafty amount of power under the hood. The back seats comfort level are supreme with plenty of leg room. Adequate bose stereo and navigation system. Good iphone5 control and the microphone works well per those I've called."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful