2020 Lincoln Aviator vs. 2019 Nissan Armada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Aviator have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Armada doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the Aviator and Armada have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Aviator 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 Aviator has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Armada doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Aviator’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Armada doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Aviator uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Armada uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Aviator and the Armada 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 and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Aviator 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.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Aviator 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.

Reliability

The Lincoln Aviator’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Armada’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Aviator 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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Aviator has a standard -amp alternator (250-amp - Aviator optional). The Armada’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 10 more horsepower (400 vs. 390) and 21 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 394) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 104 more horsepower (494 vs. 390) and 236 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 vs. 394) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Aviator

RWD

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/24 hwy

Armada

RWD

5.6 DOHC V8

14 city/19 hwy

AWD

5.6 DOHC V8

13 city/18 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Aviator Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Armada doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Aviator’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Armada doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Aviator 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 Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Armada.

Tires and Wheels

The Aviator’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 Aviator Reserve/Grand Touring/Black Label’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Armada SL/Platinum’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Armada SV. The Aviator’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Armada SL/Platinum.

Suspension and Handling

The Aviator 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 better maneuverability, the Aviator’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Armada’s (39.2 feet vs. 41.3 feet).

Chassis

The Lincoln Aviator may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 850 pounds less than the Nissan Armada.

The Aviator is 9.6 inches shorter than the Armada, making the Aviator easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction lowers the Aviator’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Armada uses body-on-frame design instead.

The front grille of the Aviator 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 Aviator Grand Touring/Black Label 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 Aviator has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more third row headroom and .8 inches more third row legroom than the Armada.

Cargo Capacity

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

Aviator

Armada

Behind Third Seat

18.3 cubic feet

16.5 cubic feet

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Aviator’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

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 33% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The Aviator (except Base) offers an available 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 Aviator’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Armada’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Aviator and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Aviator 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 Aviator’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Armada’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Armada doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Armada doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Aviator’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 Aviator 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 see further while navigating curves, the Aviator offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Armada doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Aviator’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 Aviator’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.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Aviator’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Armada doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The Aviator (except Base)’s optional Active Park Assist Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Armada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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