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  • 2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve Long Term Report

2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve Long Term Report

Dec 6, 2015
Photographers: Robert Guio
When we last left off our long-term ’14 Nissan Armada was headed to the shop for repair after being involved in a minor accident. After being separated for four weeks, the Armada returned to us fresh and ready to roam the highways once again. At first glance, the repairs were seamless, the new bumper matched perfectly, and there were no alignment issues with the headlights or hood. Over time, however, we noticed that the inner fender liners had began to rub the tires on tight turns. This issue only got worse over time and we suspect there was a missing screw or two, lost during or after the repair was made. By the time this issue became annoying enough to warrant our attention, it was time to turn the Armada back in to its rightful owners. Unfortunately, this meant that we never got a concrete answer as to what caused the fender liner to come loose after the repair.
Aside from that one little nuisance, our final quarter with the Armada was rather uneventful, which in this regard is fantastic. Over our 12 months of driving the largest of the Nissans, we racked up over 15,000 miles, which is just on the high end of what the average owner would do. We drove it over nearly ever type of road surface and condition imaginable, hit the open highway, and sat in stopped traffic. We piled eight people in for a night out, carted an infant and all of her gear all around the Southwest, and even took it camping in the remotest of wilderness. The Armada was a hard worker as well, as we routinely loaded it down with gear essential for photo shoots, even working as the camera car for the cover of this issue. Thanks to the factory accessory cargo liner, no job was ever too dirty, as hauling truck parts to and fro became a regular part of its life.
Photo 2/14   |   002 2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve Right Rear Three Quarter Beach Path
As a family wagon, the Armada is hard to beat. With the rear seats folded down, there was plenty of cargo space for all the luggage associated with a family of four. Trying to fit just an infant seat and stroller in smaller cars and SUVs is a struggle, let alone suitcases for mom and dad. With the Armada, this was never the case. To call the cargo area cavernous would be an understatement, though it’s expected from a vehicle of this size. The power liftgate worked as you would expect and would retract at the sign of any pressure. This was annoying when the cargo liner would get in the way, but it was welcomed for not chopping anyone’s heads off. We had a particularly frightening encounter with another luxury brand’s liftgate that nearly left us in traction, so the Armada’s safety feature was appreciated.
Passenger comfort was one of the biggest selling points for us, as we talked about in nearly every other report. If you’re a party of two or not real big on ferrying friends around, then the Armada might not be for you. We made sure to load it down whenever we had the chance, testing every row of seats with every size of human. Aside from road trips, the Armada was a lunch shuttle for the office, friend taxi for nights out, family hauler on special occasions, and employee bus on work trips. Feeling particularly evil, we strapped a toddler seat and a 6-foot 3-inch adult into the third row and drove 100 miles. It was tight, but they never complained.
Photo 3/14   |   006 2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve Interior Front Seat
For an SUV built on an aging platform, the Armada’s suspension was one of best we’ve encountered. We didn’t have much of a chance to tow during our stint with the Armada (though it was rated at up to 9,000 pounds), the rear independent suspension was outfitted with air shocks that had the ability to automatically level the vehicle when a trailer or heavy load was applied. The Armada’s completely independent suspension is what gave it the plush ride. Shock tuning was spot on for highway comfort. A sporty canyon carver it was not, but on the open road, there’s not much that can beat it.
Power from the 5.6L V-8 engine was terrific. Churning out 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque meant that passing and merging was never an issue. The unfortunate downside, however, revealed itself in the form of dismal fuel economy. With an EPA rating of 12 mpg city, 18 highway, and 14 combined, we weren’t surprised at the numbers we were getting, but this is the one area where other large SUVs outshine the Armada. With a best of 16.49 mpg, we never quite got to the 18-mpg highway rating, but more often that not we stayed within sight of the 14-mpg combined rating. With gas prices being relatively low for most of the country, we don’t see this as a huge negative, but if they went back up, it would start to sting. Looking at Infiniti’s vehicle lineup, we see that the QX80, which sports a 5.6L V-8 that churns out 400 hp and is backed by a seven-speed automatic, is rated at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. We’d love to see this engine and transmission combo find its way into the Armada. The significant power boost paired with slightly improved fuel economy would help take the sting out of filling up, at least for us.
Photo 4/14   |   007 2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve Wheel
Overall, our time with the ’14 Nissan Armada was pleasurable. We had very few complaints and even fewer issues. Everybody that touched the Armada enjoyed it, and it proved to be the crowd favorite whenever seating for more than two was needed. Admittedly, we were skeptical about the age of the platform going into the year and this was partly responsible for pushing us to test it in the first place. Now, 12 months and 15,000 miles later, we’re believers. Having sold over 250,000 since its introduction, the Armada isn’t just a winner with us but with the public as well. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to spend a year with this amazing SUV.
Report: 4 of 4
Previous report(s): Mar./Apr. ’15, May/June ’15, Sept./Oct. 2015
Base price: $52,860
Price as tested: $55,945
Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 15,629
Miles since last report: 4,926
Average mpg (this report): 12.77
Test best tank (mpg): 16.49
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.80
Test Maintenance:
Oil change and tire rotation (x3)
Windshield washer fluid refill (x4)
Test Problem Areas:
None
Logbook Quotes:
“I wish the Armada had a larger fuel tank. Less than 300 miles of range is disappointing. My bladder can go longer than that!”
“The navigation system is fantastic! It loads maps quickly and address input is seamless. Just wish it had a larger screen.”
“After 15,000 miles, the seats are still fantastic! Long road trips are no problem, and comfort is never an issue in any seating position.”
“The Armada’s suspension is incredibly smooth riding; much better than the $100,000 luxury SUV I just got out of. Just saying…”
“The towing mirrors still make life difficult, I wouldn’t order them if I could do it again.”
“Being stuffed into the third row is pretty cramped but totally tolerable.”
“Why does the radio shut off when the key is turned off? I think this is the only vehicle left that does that.”
“I wish I could charge my phone from the USB ports on the rear TV monitors. #firstworldproblems”
“How did we get it under 10mpg with out towing? Ouch.”
“The Espresso Black color is beautiful in the sunlight, and black chrome wheels and accents are gorgeous.”
“LA soccer moms do not need the amount of power this engine puts out. We love it though.”
“Did I mention how comfortable the Armada is? Seriously.”

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