2020 Chevrolet Suburban vs. 2019 Nissan Armada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Suburban and Armada have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Suburban 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 Suburban 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 Suburban 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, blind spot warning systems, front parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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

Suburban

Armada

OVERALL STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

2 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

38%

43%

Leg Forces (l/r)

312/413 lbs.

877/369 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

38%

Neck Stress

163 lbs.

251 lbs.

Neck Compression

89 lbs.

153 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

366/584 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, results indicate that the Chevrolet Suburban is safer than the Nissan Armada:

Suburban

Armada

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1 inches

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

Warranty

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

There are almost 3 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Suburban’s warranty.

Reliability

The Suburban has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Armada doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Engine

The Suburban’s optional 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Suburban

RWD

5.3 OHV V8

15 city/22 hwy

6.2 OHV V8

14 city/23 hwy

AWD

5.3 OHV V8

14 city/21 hwy

6.2 OHV V8

14 city/20 hwy

Armada

RWD

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 Suburban’s fuel efficiency. The Armada doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Suburban has 5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Armada (31 vs. 26 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Suburban EcoTec3 6.2 V8, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Armada.

Brakes and Stopping

The Suburban stops shorter than the Armada:

Suburban

Armada

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Suburban’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Armada (285/45R22 vs. 275/60R20).

The Suburban LS/LT’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires. The Suburban’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 Suburban offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Armada’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Suburban offers an available 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Suburban’s wheelbase is 8.9 inches longer than on the Armada (130 inches vs. 121.1 inches).

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

The Suburban Premier 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 Suburban Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Armada Platinum 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Suburban 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.

Passenger Space

The Suburban offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Armada can only carry 8.

The Suburban has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear hip room, 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.1 inches more third row headroom, 6.1 inches more third row legroom, .5 inches more third row hip room and 2.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Armada.

Cargo Capacity

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

Suburban

Armada

Behind Third Seat

39.3 cubic feet

16.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

76.7 cubic feet

49.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121.1 cubic feet

95.4 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Suburban’s (except LS) 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 Suburban’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 Suburban’s available 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 Suburban 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.

Ergonomics

The Suburban Premier offers an optional 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 Suburban and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Suburban 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 Suburban’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 available for the Suburban detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Suburban’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 Suburban’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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Suburban owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Suburban will cost $1805 to $3450 less than the Armada over a five-year period.

The Suburban will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Suburban will retain 52.55% to 53.03% of its original price after five years, while the Armada only retains 44.62% to 46.35%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Suburban is less expensive to operate than the Armada because typical repairs cost much less on the Suburban than the Armada, including $179 less for a starter, $165 less for front struts and $301 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Suburban will be $4433 to $5271 less than for the Nissan Armada.

Recommendations

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

The Chevrolet Suburban outsold the Nissan Armada by 86% during 2018.

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

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