Differences Between the Nissan Armada SE & the Nissan Armada LEby Michael G. Sanchez
With seating for eight, impressive towing ability and a comfortable, feature-packed interior, the Nissan Armada had a lot to offer. Like other full-size SUVs, though, it suffered from abysmal fuel economy and could be a challenge to maneuver through crowded urban traffic and crowded parking lots.
The Armada was built on the same body-on-frame platform as Nissan's Pathfinder SUV and Titan pickup truck. It's primary competitors included the Toyota Sequoia and GMC Yukon. 2009 was the final model year for the SE and LE trim levels.
The 2009 Armada was 207.7 inches long, 79.3 inches wide and 78 inches high. It rode on a 123.2-inch wheelbase and weighed in at a hulking 5,593 pounds. The driver and front passenger got 41.0 inches of headroom, 65.0 inches of shoulder room, 61.3 inches of hip room and 41.8 inches of legroom. Second-row passengers got 40.0 inches of headroom, 64.7 inches of shoulder room, 60.8 inches of hip room and 41.9 inches of legroom. With all the seats in place, the Armada provided 20.0 cubic feet of cargo space. With the second- and third-row seats folded down, storage room expanded to a maximum of 97.1 cubic feet.
The Armada was powered by a 5.6-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-8. The big engine produced a healthy 317 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 385 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400 rpm. Power was sent to the ground via a five-speed automatic transmission. The Armada was available with rear- or four-wheel drive. The big Nissan could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just under seven seconds and complete a quarter-mile run in 15.1 seconds, which was quite impressive for such a large, heavy SUV. It had a maximum towing capacity of 9,100 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of 1,407 pounds.
The Armada SE
The SE was the Armada's base trim level. It came standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, rear parking assist, step rails, an eight-way power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals and an eight-speaker stereo with in-dash CD changer and auxiliary audio jack.
The Armada LE
The premium LE trim level added 20-inch alloy wheels, first- and second-row leather upholstery, a power tailgate, foglamps, a rearview camera, power-folding side mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, front parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, a four-way power passenger seat, a memory function for the driver seat, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity and a premium 12-speaker audio system with satellite radio.
The Technology Package, which was available on both SE and LE models, added a GPS navigation system with real-time traffic reporting and a 9GB hard drive for music storage. Stand-alone options included a power-folding third-row seat, a heated steering wheel, special 20-inch chrome wheels, second-row captain's chairs -- which reduced maximum seating capacity to seven -- a sunroof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
All 2009 Armadas came standard with four-wheel ABS, traction control, stability control and front, side-impact and side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats.
Like all large, gas-powered SUVs, the Armada required frequent stops at the gas pump. The rear-wheel-drive model was EPA-rated at 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. The four-wheel-drive version received a 12-17 rating. When new, the 2009 Armada started at $37,210 for the SE model and $45,060 for the LE. As of 2014, Kelley Blue Book reports that a used SE in good condition is worth about $17,776. An LE in comparable condition should sell for approximately $22,835.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.