2019 Nissan Armada vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Armada are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Armada are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Atlas doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Armada has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Atlas doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Armada and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Nissan Armada weighs 862 to 1750 pounds more than the Volkswagen Atlas. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Armada is safer than the Volkswagen Atlas:

 

Armada

Atlas

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

27

57

Hip Force

144 lbs.

345 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

31

144

Spine Acceleration

21 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

151 lbs.

527 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

51 G’s

Hip Force

684 lbs.

800 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Armada comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.

There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Armada’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Armada’s reliability 33 points higher than the Atlas.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 2 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8 produces 155 more horsepower (390 vs. 235) and 136 lbs.-ft. more torque (394 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8 produces 114 more horsepower (390 vs. 276) and 128 lbs.-ft. more torque (394 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Armada is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

 

Armada

Atlas

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

133 MPH

116 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Armada uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Atlas requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Armada has 7.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Atlas (26 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Armada’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Atlas:

 

Armada

Atlas

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.2 inches

The Armada stops much shorter than the Atlas:

 

Armada

Atlas

 

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Armada has larger standard tires than the Atlas (265/70R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Armada SL/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Atlas (275/60R20 vs. 265/45R21).

The Nissan Armada’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Volkswagen Atlas only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Armada has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Atlas doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Armada has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Armada has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Armada flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The rear suspension of the Armada uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Atlas, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The Armada has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Atlas doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Armada’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Atlas (121.1 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

The Armada’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the Atlas’ (55.1% to 44.9%). This gives the Armada more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the Armada SV has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Atlas (9.1 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Armada to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Armada SL/Platinum’s minimum ground clearance is 1.2 inches higher than on the Atlas (9.2 vs. 8 inches).

Passenger Space

The Armada has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Armada has .4 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 3.4 inches more rear legroom, .4 inches more rear hip room, 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.7 inches more third row hip room and 5.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the Atlas.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Armada’s middle and third row seats recline. The Atlas’ third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Armada has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Atlas doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Armada’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The Armada’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (8500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Armada is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Atlas. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Armada SL/Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Atlas doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Armada’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Atlas does not have an oil pressure gauge.

If the windows are left open on the Armada the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Atlas can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Armada has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Armada SL/Platinum has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Armada has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Armada is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because typical repairs cost much less on the Armada than the Atlas, including $455 less for a water pump, $286 less for a muffler, $58 less for front brake pads, $222 less for a starter, $212 less for fuel injection, $104 less for front struts, $288 less for a timing belt/chain and $391 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Armada, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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