Nissan's 2018 Armada is an old-school SUV with cool new tech

A big SUV can seem pretty cool, until you have to park it. Nissan has a new piece of tech designed to make that easier.

The 2018 Nissan Armada debuts the company’s Intelligent Rearview Mirror, which uses an embedded screen to display video feed from a rear-mounted camera. A switch allows the driver to change between a conventional mirror and the camera view. It’s basically Nissan’s version of the streaming-video rearview mirror already offered by General Motors on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Cadillac CT6, and Cadillac XT5.

These systems are meant to give the driver an unobstructed rearward view. With a conventional mirror, body pillars or passengers’ heads might get in the way, but that isn’t a problem with the video mirror. At the same time, drivers used to looking in the mirror don’t have to change their habit. The feature is standard on the top Armada Platinum trim level.

Besides the Intelligent Rearview Mirror, the 2018 Armada also gains an upgraded infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and available NissanConnect telematics services, plus more USB ports. Carryover tech features include a 13-speaker Bose audio system, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor, a camera system that provides a virtual 360-degree view around the vehicle.

The current-generation Armada was introduced as a 2017 model, so there are no mechanical changes for its sophomore year. Unlike most modern SUVs, the Armada boasts legitimate off-road capability. It’s actually based on the Patrol, Nissan’s equivalent of the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Range Rover.

Under the hood is a 5.6-liter V8 shared with the Nissan Titan pickup truck. It produces 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, and is coupled to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Armada is one of a handful of vehicles that can carry eight passengers and tow up to 8,500 pounds, although it also gets a dismal 15 mpg combined (13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway) when equipped with four-wheel drive, or 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway).

The 2018 Nissan Armada is available in three trim levels: base SV, mid-level SL, and top-of-the-line Platinum. They start at $45,600, $50,350, and $58,690, respectively. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels; four-wheel drive is a $2,900 option.