Can the 2021 Nissan Armada Compete With the All-New Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon?

2021 Nissan Armada 7 photos
Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
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For the 2021 model year, the Japanese manufacturer has recently revealed the facelifted Armada, a full-size, three-row SUV which has the tough task of competing for supremacy in the North American market against the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon.
The current Armada is based on the sixth generation of the legendary Nissan Patrol sold in the Middle East and select markets around the world, and it uses the same body-on-frame construction for increased strength and durability.

The high-stiffness frame structure has been designed to reduce noise and vibration while offering a smooth ride. To achieve this, engineers have stiffened the chassis mount points and increased the size of the side rails.

Nissan project tuned and tested 200 prototypes over a total of 13,265 hours through the toughest terrain of the Middle East and Australia to assure that the new chassis is as strong and comfortable as possible.

Unlike the Tahoe and Yukon, which offer GM’s Magnetic Ride Control and Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, the Armada only features a standard fully independent system with a double-wishbone configuration and twin-tube shock absorbers.

2021 Nissan Armada
Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
To reduce fuel consumption, Nissan chose not to offer the Patrol's Hydraulic Body Motion Control technology on the Armada, which would have exponentially enhanced its off-road capabilities. So, although the independent system is highly capable, the new Armada isn’t as technologically advanced as its rivals when it comes to the suspension system.

Under the hood, Nissan’s new SUV has a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 which has been in use on the Patrol for the last ten years. It produces 400 hp (298 kW) and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm) of torque. It's a proven, durable unit, though fuel economy is not its strongest point as it is rated at 15 or 16 mpg (14-15 liters per 100 km) combined, depending on the drive system.

The V8 uses a seven-speed RE7R01B automatic transmission developed with Jatco and updated with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching. These technologies improve fuel efficiency using wider gear ratios.

This is the only available powertrain for the Armada and while it is superior to any standard option in its class, it falls short of GM’s 6.2-liter L86 EcoTec3 V8 available on the Tahoe and Yukon which produces 420 hp (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque. Although it's more powerful, the combined fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg (15 l/100 km), which is the same as Nissan’s V8.

GM also offers other engine options on its full-size SUVs, which are also available with a far more advanced ten-speed Hydra-Matic 10L80 transmission.

Nissan prides itself on offering a standard 8,500 lbs (3,855 kg) maximum towing capacity which is 100 lbs (45 kg) more than what the GM's SUVs can haul, making the Japanese SUV superior, albeit by a very small margin.

2021 Nissan Armada
Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
The new Armada is available either with either rear-wheel drive or Nissan's advanced Auto 4WD system that features Auto/4HI/4LO modes and an electronically controlled part-time transfer case with a 2.70:1 4LO gear ratio. GM’s full-size SUVs are available with similar drive options, with the 4WD also including a similar two-speed transfer case.

Nissan’s Auto 4WD system operates in 2WD drive mode under normal driving conditions and can distribute up to 50% of the torque to the front wheels on demand. This would have been superior to GM’s system if it were coupled with the hydraulic suspension available on the Patrol.

2021 Nissan Armada Interior
Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
In terms of safety and available tech, the Armada offers a wide range of driver assists and now features an all-new standard 12.3-inch infotainment display, which is superior to the 10-inch version on the Tahoe and Yukon. However, GM’s SUVs offer an optional head-up display and 12.6-inch rear units, which are bigger than Nissan’s optional 8.0-inch head restraint monitors.

To sum things up, the 2021 Armada is a capable vehicle that may not offer a wide range of optional powertrains or features but is able to compete with the best SUVs on the market.

It is a worthy alternative for those who are looking for quality, comfort, and performance based on the proven capabilities of the legendary Patrol. It will be available in three trim levels, and although Nissan hasn’t released any official figures yet, we’re expecting base prices to stand in the same region as the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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