2020 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2019 Nissan Armada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Armada doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Escalade and Armada have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Escalade has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Armada’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Escalade has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Armada doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Nissan Armada:

Escalade

Armada

OVERALL STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

2 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

20%

43%

Neck Stress

289 lbs.

377 lbs.

Neck Compression

64 lbs.

95 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

77/421 lbs.

877/369 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

186

255

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

38%

Neck Stress

165 lbs.

251 lbs.

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

153 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

154/567 lbs.

509/594 lbs.

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

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 Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Nissan Armada:

Escalade

Armada

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

23

27

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1 inches

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

355

437

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

Warranty

The Escalade comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Armada’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Armada. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Armada ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Escalade’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Armada’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Escalade has a standard 170-amp alternator. The Armada’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade first among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Armada isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 30 more horsepower (420 vs. 390) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 394) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Cadillac Escalade is faster than the Nissan Armada:

Escalade

Armada

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.8 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Escalade gets better fuel mileage than the Armada:

MPG

Escalade

FWD

6.2 DOHC V8

14 city/23 hwy

AWD

6.2 DOHC V8

14 city/21 hwy

Armada

FWD

5.6 DOHC V8

14 city/19 hwy

AWD

5.6 DOHC V8

13 city/18 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade’s fuel efficiency. The Armada doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Escalade has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Armada doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac Escalade, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Armada.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escalade has larger standard tires than the Armada (275/55R20 vs. 265/70R18). The Escalade’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Armada (285/45R22 vs. 275/60R20).

The Escalade’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires. The Escalade’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Armada SL/Platinum’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Armada SV. The Escalade’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Armada SL/Platinum.

Suspension and Handling

The Escalade has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Armada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than on the Armada.

The Escalade 4WD handles at .77 G’s, while the Armada Platinum 4x4 pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Escalade 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Armada Platinum 4x4 (27.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Armada’s (39 feet vs. 41.3 feet).

Chassis

The Escalade is 5 inches shorter than the Armada, making the Escalade easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Escalade uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Armada doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Escalade uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Armada doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Escalade has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear hip room, 1 inch more rear shoulder room, 1.7 inches more third row headroom, .5 inches more third row hip room and 2.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Armada.

Cargo Capacity

The Escalade’s cargo area provides more volume than the Armada.

Escalade

Armada

Third Seat Folded

51.6 cubic feet

49.9 cubic feet

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

The Escalade’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Armada’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escalade’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Armada doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Escalade has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Armada doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 48% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The Escalade Luxury/Premium Luxury/Platinum has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Armada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Escalade and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Escalade is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Armada prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Escalade’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Armada’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The Escalade’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Armada SV’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Escalade Luxury/Premium Luxury/Platinum detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Armada doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Escalade’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Armada SL/Platinum.

The Escalade’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Armada’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The Escalade has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel is only available on the Armada Platinum.

The Escalade’s Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Armada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Escalade owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Escalade with a number “5” insurance rate while the Armada is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escalade is less expensive to operate than the Armada because typical repairs cost less on the Escalade than the Armada, including $188 less for a starter and $117 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Nissan Armada by 13% during 2018.

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

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