2009 Nissan Armada Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Performance, particularly power delivery, is a highlight of the 2009 Nissan Armada. The no-nonsense engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The Armada's ride is smoothest on the straightaway but reviewers are suitably impressed with its handling, given its size.
- "The steering is tight and without slop, and the ride is a tad firm and agile but not harsh. The Armada drives extremely well for a full-size truck and feels smaller than it is." -- Car and Driver
- "That said, the Armada is still a big, truck-based vehicle, and one decidedly happiest when tooling about in wide-open spaces, be they paved or not." -- Automobile Magazine
- "On the road you'll find the Armada behaves more like a midsize truck than the gargantuan SUV it really is." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "While the powerful V8 makes the 2009 Nissan Armada feel light on its feet when accelerating off the line and on the highway, the massive weight of this truck is obvious when cornering or coming to an abrupt stop." -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
For such a big SUV, the Armada accelerates with startling ease. The engine is a 5.6-liter V8 that creates 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with an automatic five-speed transmission. The transmission receives largely favorable reviews. Earning low marks from reviewers -- not surprisingly -- is the Armada's fuel economy, which is just 12 mpg in the city and either 18 or 17 on the highway, for the rear- or four-wheel drive models, respectively.
- "It may look bulky, "but the Armada almost leaps off the line when you stomp on the gas pedal, and there's a throaty growl from the exhaust that's music to the ears."-- Car and Driver
- "Moderate to heavy acceleration yields a throaty sound that rivals the best from GM. But it's not all show and no go, the Armada offers very impressive forward thrust." -- Edmunds.
- "The five-speed automatic transmission takes full advantage of the engine's strong low-end torque. Having five gears to choose from makes the Armada very responsive and the transmission never hunts around for the right gear. It shifts smoothly and the close ratios eliminate abrupt downshifts." -- Auto Mall USA
- "Armada delivers fairly strong takeoffs, and it bests the heavier QX56 for towing capacity, 9100 lb vs. 8900. One test Armada had overly sensitive throttle action, resulting in jerky progress around town" -- Consumer Guide
Handling and Braking
Handling on the Armada is surprisingly deft, and steering is found to be adequate. The Armada comes with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive system operates as a rear-wheel drive system, for the most part, but can transfer up to half of the engine's power to the front when conditions warrant. The Armada's brakes receive mixed reviews.
- "Ride quality is generally smooth and comfortable, though larger pavement imperfections can send quite a jolt through the steering wheel and cabin. Newer truck-based SUVs like the Tahoe and Sequoia provide a much friendlier on-road ride than the Armada does." -- Edmunds
- "Despite its formidable scale, overall control and controllability is impressive, with modest impact harshness, relatively minimal body roll, and no 'floaty' feel." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Double wishbones at both ends with an independent rear make the big Armada surprisingly light on its feet." -- Motor Week
- "The steering is pretty tight, without any slop." -- Car and Driver
- "The steering feel is taut and the Armada's short front-end makes it possible to cut close corners with confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "As clumsy in close quarters as any big SUV. The steering has a firm feel, but Armada reacts slowly to inputs. Cornering behavior is generally good, with no undue noseplow or body lean. Good stopping control, but our testers are divided on pedal modulation: Some find too much free play." -- Consumer Guide
With a tow package that's standard on the LE trim and optional on the SE trim, the Armada can tow 9,100 lbs as a rear-wheel drive model and 9,000 lbs as a four-wheel drive model.
- "The Armada takes first place in the maximum towing capability category for light-duty, full-size SUVs." -- Kelley Blue Book