Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Nissan’s 2014 Armada is a big SUV designed for big jobs. With seating for up to eight people, a smorgasbord of electronic media and navigation equipment, and a tow rating of 9,000 pounds, the Armada is a good choice for large families on the go. That is, if they can afford the monthly fuel bill.
You'll Like The 2014 Nissan Armada If...
If your full-size SUV must have all the cutting-edge media electronics found in most high-end luxury cars, but you simply can’t do without 8-passenger seating and a 9,000-pound tow rating, the 2014 Nissan Armada should fit you like a glove.
You May Not Like The 2014 Nissan Armada If...
If you’re not able to deal with the size and poor fuel economy afforded by the 2014 Nissan Armada, there are many front-drive-based SUVs with slightly smaller interiors and much better fuel economy. GMC’s Acadia is one, as is the Ford Explorer.
With a major makeover on the near horizon, the Nissan Armada rolls into 2014 unchanged, but with substantial price reductions across the board.
Nissan’s 2014 Armada’s interior is designed to adapt to multiple needs, able to shuttle up to eight passengers, or just two people and 97 cubic feet of assorted cargo. The Armada’s second row can be outfitted with either a 3-person bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs divided by a removable center console creating a clear and easy pathway for 3rd-row passengers to enter and exit. Passengers in the Armada’s 3rd-row seat have real adult-size legroom, plus a slightly elevated perch designed to provide a good forward view and to make the area feel less claustrophobic.
Unchanged for 2014, the Armada’s expressive body arches and door frames stand out from the 90-degree-angle designs common among competing SUVs, as do its raised roof and enormous fender flares. Nissan’s 3-opening chrome grille, so familiar on the company’s truck line, distinguishes the Armada SUV as well, adding a bit of ruggedness to 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 reach.
Like other traditional full-size SUVs, truck foundations, long wheelbase and substantial mass yield deliberate handling responses in the 2014 Nissan Armada. Independent double-wishbone suspension makes the Armada a little more agile than some, and ride quality is smooth on decent pavement, though it can become choppy on patchy surfaces and large expansion joints, or on washboard stretches of dirt road. The speed-sensitive steering reduces the work of maneuvering this big SUV in parking lots, but lacks tactile feedback in back-road maneuvers. While the Armada never lets the driver forget its dimensions, the torquey V8 engine does a good job of managing its hefty curb weights, which range close to three tons, depending on equipment. The 2014 Armada is quick off the line, and its 5-speed automatic transmission is smooth and kicks down readily for passing, (though competing SUVs have at least six forward speeds).
With prices reduced for all 2014 Nissan Armada models, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the basic 2WD Armada SV is $37,885 and $43,385 with 4WD. The SL ranges from $43,175 to about $50,000, while a fully loaded Platinum tops out close to $60,000. Before you negotiate, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see the typical transaction price paid for Armadas in your area. Also be sure to check the Incentives tab to see what deals the manufacturer may be offering. In resale, the 2014 Nissan Armada SUV is projected to retain an average residual value, slightly lower than the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition, and well below the Toyota Sequoia.
Highlighting standard equipment on the 2014 Nissan Armada SV are front and rear air conditioning, floor- and ceiling-mounted consoles, Vehicle Dynamic Control, rear privacy glass, heated power outside mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, head-curtain airbags (covering all rows), Bluetooth, 8-way heated power driver’s seat, 4-way heated power passenger seat and cruise control. The SL adds Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, leather seating, RearView Monitor, Bose audio, power-folding 3rd-row seat, power liftgate and auto-leveling rear air suspension. The Platinum Edition includes all these features plus heated 2nd-row seats and steering wheel, a power moonroof, a hard-drive-based navigation system and middle-row DVD entertainment.
Options for the 2014 Nissan Armada SUV vary by trim. The 2-wheel-drive (2WD) Armada SV can be equipped with the Driver Package ($2,150) that adds a 12-speaker Bose audio system, Bluetooth, power liftgate, RearView Monitor, fog lights and a power-folding 3rd-row seat. Also available on the SV is the Tow Package and a number of dealer-installed options. The Nissan Armada SL and SV can be equipped with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and to the SL, a power moonroof, while the Platinum Edition offers 2nd-row captain’s-chair seating. All models offer the option of 4-wheel drive (4WD).
REAR-SEAT DESIGNThe 2014 Nissan Armada’s versatile 3rd-row seats provide enough legroom to accommodate adults, and will fold absolutely flat to create a level loading floor.SELF-LEVELING REAR SUSPENSIONAvailable on SL and Platinum trim levels, the pneumatic rear suspension automatically adjusts ride height to compensate for heavy loads or the high tongue weight that goes with 9,000-pound trailering.
Under the Hood
Nissan equips the 2014 Armada SUV with its most powerful V8, and the engine performance is impressive. Rated to tow up to 9,000 pounds (with the available Tow Package), the Armada acquits itself well in maximum towing capacity among full-size SUVs.5.6-liter V8317 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg (gasoline, 2WD), 12/18 mpg (gasoline, 4WD), 9/13 mpg (E85, 2WD), 9/13 mpg (E85, 4WD)
Nissan’s 2014 Armada is a full-size traditional SUV for big families and big towing needs. Its small field of competitors includes the Chevy Suburban, Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia. In the Armada, you get a very well-engineered SUV with a powerful V8, a 9,000-pound tow rating and seats for seven or eight. The foldaway 3rd-row seat – power activated on SL and Platinum trims – makes it easy to exploit the massive cargo hold. For inclement weather and/or muddy roads, 4-wheel drive (4WD) is available. Though prices have been reduced for 2014, this big SUV doesn’t come cheap (from $37,885), and it’s not cheap to feed. But, if you’re not put off by the pricing, another hundred bucks per fill-up probably won’t be of much concern.