The 2023 Nissan Armada Review: The Most Lovely Troop Transport

The 3-row Nissan Armada will please you with its exceptional cargo space, but the softer exterior lines and well chosen interior details encourage solo driver serenity.

Nissan Armada Profile. I Like The Chrome Details. Photo: Sara Lacey
Nissan Armada profile. I like the chrome details. Photo: Sara Lacey

You May Also Love it When You’re Alone

If there is anything a car called an “Armada” has to deliver, it’s carrying you and all your stuff wherever you go. With this in mind, I packed up some of my family members and went on a road trip. And because my test 2023 Nissan Armada was a Platinum trim level, my army was transported in a very posh manner. The base price of my test 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD was $69,720. Then I had a captain’s chairs package ($750), premium paint ($395), roof cross bars for racks ($380), and carpeted floor mats ($380). Add in another $1695 in destination charges, and the total price was $73,320.

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Nissan Armada Front Corner Angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada front corner angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

This Nissan Armada Has a Soft Side

The outside of the Armada is very distinctive, and I appreciate that it looks different than most of its competitors. It’s very much a softened rectangle, like a room-temperature stick of butter. It’s definitely geometric, but it’s soft around the edges and feels a bit more sculptural than its competition. That vibe is present mostly in profile and on the rear of the car, where there is a bit more creased metal at the belt line, bumpers, and even a little bling air vent on the side.

Nissan Armada Grille. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada grille. Photo: Sara Lacey

The front of the Armada is mostly linear, with a bright chrome grille that is set off by big LED headlights and a black metal slatted grille. The rear is, too, but the liftgate and bumper provide more dimension. I love the look of the Armada from the side the most. My test car had 22” wheels and chrome all around the windows, so it had some additional visual interest.

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Nissan Armada Second Row Seating. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada second-row seating. Photo: Sara Lacey

A Sleek and Chic Interior

The Armada absolutely did deliver my family in comfort. The exterior was metallic burgundy, which is all the rage in fashion and manicures right now. Maybe I should bring a picture of the Armada to my next mani/pedi. The interior was posh and plush, with creamy off-white leather-appointed seats that had quilted inserts and black piping around the outsides. The gathered leather above the doorsill armrests was such a chic detail, and the setup made me feel like I was in a boutique (minus the crystal chandelier). We’ve seen these details before, and though they’re not new, they are just as appreciated as ever. Who doesn’t like to feel a bit pampered in their car?

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Nissan Armada Cockpit. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada cockpit. Photo: Sara Lacey

If you’re at all worried about such a light-colored interior, Nissan has it all worked out. The carpet and bottoms of the doors were black, hiding gross dirt and slush during a storm. In addition, the dashboard was dark and had a beautiful curved detail embedded with its wood-grain-looking material. It was a pretty touch, and that material was also found in the control center and in the fancy second-row console that came with my upgraded captain’s chairs. More on that in a minute. The heated steering wheel is wrapped in leather, as is the gear shift. The control center has covered cupholders, the gear shift, drive mode knob, and controls for the multimedia system.

Nissan Armada Door Opens Wide For Car Seats. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada door opens wide for car seats. Photo: Sara Lacey

A More Intimate Look at the Second Row

Okay, let’s get back to that second row. Here’s what I loved. The doors opened really wide, so installing a car seat or shuttling kids in there was easy in that way. What I found surprising was that those second-row captain’s chairs did a flip-and-fold to move out of the way to allow passengers into the third row. I thought for sure they would do the old tip-and-tilt in order to allow an installed car seat not to need to be moved. If you can’t move the captain’s chair to get into the third row, then people are going to have to step on or over that beautiful center console. It all seems so odd knowing that the Armada would surely be transporting kids in car seats. Also, I was glad my Armada had running boards, as they made it much easier to get into that third row. It’s a little tricky.

Armada Second Row Console. Photo: Sara Lacey

Armada second-row console. Photo: Sara Lacey

The second-row seats have access to climate controls on the back of the front center console. The second-row center console has two cupholders and a giant bin. A fun feature is that the center console that is between the two front seats has a button on the back of it so that rear passengers can access it. Watch out if that’s where you keep your snacks! If your Armada comes with the rear seat entertainment system, there is a bin in that console large enough to hold two headsets with plenty of room to spare. The system allows you to connect wirelessly using an app called Miracast. Or you can plug in with an HDMI cable or USB-A cable in the screen housing. 

Nissan Armada All Full. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada all full. Photo: Sara Lacey

In the Back of the Nissan Armada (All the Way Back)

The third row of seats had three seating positions, but the center one would be tight, and you’d want to check how comfortable it would be if you were planning on using it regularly. The Armada had one sunroof, and it was in the front, so I was glad for the light-colored interior and bigger windows to keep that third row from feeling like a dark cave. The seats are split 60/40 and fold flat. The Platinum trim has a power-folding feature in the cargo area and also has a button in the third row to recline.

I was able to fold those third-row seats and put in skis, ski gear, and bags for a several-day ski vacation for three people. Everyone was happy and comfortable, and I could even see out the rear window. That was awesome.

Nissan Armada In-House Apps. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada in-house apps. Photo: Sara Lacey

Delving into the Multimedia System in the Nissan Armada

The 2023 Nissan Armada Platinum comes with a 12.3” touchscreen in the center of the dash. Beneath the screen are some simple stereo controls. Below those are climate controls and a covered cubby. So, you can use the multimedia touchscreen for a lot of commands, or you can use the buttons. The cubby has a wireless charging pad and a cigarette-lighter-style power outlet. Below the cubby is where the Armada’s towing controls are located, and it also has a USB-A and USB-C charge port.

And, in case you wanted more choices, the steering wheel has a bunch of buttons and toggles to control the stereo, driver-assist systems, and the modes on the driver information system. The Armada has conventional dials for RPMs and speed but also has a screen between them where you can set your trip odometer and fuel economy, see what drive mode you’re in, and observe navigation directions.

The Nissan multimedia system is fairly easy to use once you remember where all the icons are that you want to use. Voice recognition worked well, and it was easiest to use that feature to program a drive route. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m always running late and can’t pull over to put an address in.

Nissan Armada Surround View Camera. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada surround view camera. Photo: Sara Lacey

Drive Modes and More

Let’s talk about the drive modes. You’ll mostly be in Auto mode. But if you’re in rocky, sandy, or snowy conditions, you can switch to 4-high. The Armada can go into 4-low for muddy conditions or steep terrain. Then, if you are on snow, ice, or wet road conditions, you can put the Armada in Snow mode. Snow mode minimizes the engine output to prevent wheel spin.

The Armada has a V8 engine that creates 400 horsepower. Fuel economy estimates are 13 mpg in the city, 18 on the highway, and a combined 15 mpg. That can be a lot of trips to the gas station depending on how you drive, and it’s something worth comparing with its competitors if you drive a lot of miles.

Nissan Armada Looks So Nice From This Angle.

Nissan Armada looks so nice from this angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

What to Know about the Nissan Armada

  • The Nissan Armada’s fuel economy is not great
  • The Armada had a makeover in 2021
  • The Armada is really big
Nissan Armada Charging And Drive Mode Dial.

Nissan Armada charging and drive mode dial. Photo: Sara Lacey

What We Loved about this Car

  • It’s so pretty
  • Seating is very comfortable
  • The Armada has a ton of storage
Nissan Armada Surround View Camera. Photo: Sara Lacey

Nissan Armada surround view camera. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Nissan Armada Made Me Feel a Certain Way

All the horsepower and fuel economy talk notwithstanding, I never found power a problem in the Armada. I drove on highways, up and down mountain passes, and ran some basic errands. It’s a big SUV, so you must plan on that when parking in the city or taking tight turns, but none of that should be a surprise.

The Armada does a lovely job transporting your troops, but the second-row seats are worth noting if you think child safety seats are going to be a problem. But what I loved the most was that the Armada pampered me and made me feel special with its design details. I think my favorite part was spending time in this pretty SUV all by myself.

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Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey