2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs. 2020 Nissan Armada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Escalade ESV’s optional 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.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Escalade ESV Premium/Platinum/Sport helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Armada doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Escalade ESV 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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The Escalade ESV 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.

Engine

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The Escalade ESV’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.

The Escalade ESV’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 394) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Escalade ESV

RWD

6.2 OHV V8

15 city/20 hwy

AWD

6.2 OHV V8

14 city/19 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 some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade ESV V8’s fuel efficiency. The Armada doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Escalade ESV’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 Escalade ESV has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Armada (28.3 vs. 26 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escalade ESV has larger tires than the Armada (275/50R22 vs. 265/70R18).

The Escalade ESV’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade ESV has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Armada SV. The Armada’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The Escalade ESV 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 Escalade ESV’s wheelbase is 13 inches longer than on the Armada (134.1 inches vs. 121.1 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade ESV (except Diesel) 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

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The Escalade ESV has 15.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Armada (170.4 vs. 154.5).

The Escalade ESV has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front legroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear legroom, 2.8 inches more rear hip room, 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.8 inches more third row headroom, 8.2 inches more third row legroom, .6 inches more third row hip room and 2.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Armada.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade ESV

Armada

Behind Third Seat

41.5 cubic feet

16.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

94.1 cubic feet

49.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

142.8 cubic feet

95.4 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escalade ESV’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.

Towing

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The Escalade ESV 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Escalade ESV can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Armada can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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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

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Armada SL/Platinum, the Escalade ESV has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Escalade ESV Premium/Platinum/Sport has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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 Escalade ESV’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 Escalade ESV and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Escalade ESV 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 ESV’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.

The Escalade ESV’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 ESV detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Escalade ESV’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 ESV 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 ESV Platinum has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Armada.

The Escalade ESV Premium/Platinum/Sport’s Adaptive Park Assist can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Armada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/15

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Nissan Armada by 11% during 2019.

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