2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2020 Nissan Armada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/08/13

The Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies 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.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Atlas 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 Atlas 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, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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

Atlas

Armada

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

2 Stars

HIC

232

258

Neck Injury Risk

34%

43%

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

95 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

33/218 lbs.

877/369 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

138

255

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

38%

Neck Stress

180 lbs.

251 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

153 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

156/231 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 Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Nissan Armada:

Atlas

Armada

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.5 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

81 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches

HIC

279

437

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Atlas the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 198 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Armada has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Atlas 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.

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Armada’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Armada.

Reliability

© 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 2020/08/13

The Volkswagen Atlas’ 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.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/08/13

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

MPG

Atlas

2WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/24 hwy

4WD

3.6 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

Armada

2WD

5.6 DOHC V8

14 city/19 hwy

4WD

5.6 DOHC V8

13 city/18 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Atlas’ 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.

Transmission

© 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 2020/08/13

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volkswagen Atlas, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Armada.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Atlas stops shorter than the Armada:

Atlas

Armada

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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The Atlas’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires. The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Armada Platinum’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas SEL Premium offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Armada’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/08/13

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Armada doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the Armada Platinum 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Atlas SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Armada Platinum 4x4 (27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the Armada’s (38.1 feet vs. 41.3 feet).

Chassis

© 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 2020/08/13

The Volkswagen Atlas may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1250 to 1350 pounds less than the Nissan Armada.

The Atlas is 7.9 inches shorter than the Armada, making the Atlas easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction lowers the Atlas’ 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 design of the Volkswagen Atlas amounts to more than styling. The Atlas has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is lower than the Armada (.37). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Atlas get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The Atlas has .4 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.9 inches more third row headroom and 5.3 inches more third row legroom than the Armada.

The front step up height for the Atlas is 4.3 inches lower than the Armada (18” vs. 22.3”). The Atlas’ rear step up height is 4.7 inches lower than the Armada’s (18” vs. 22.7”).

Cargo Capacity

© 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 2020/08/13

The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the Armada.

Atlas

Armada

Behind Third Seat

20.6 cubic feet

16.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

49.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

95.4 cubic feet

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

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The Atlas 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

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The Atlas’ 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 Atlas and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Atlas 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 Atlas’ 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 Atlas’ 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Armada doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Atlas SEL Premium 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 Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Armada doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Atlas to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Armada doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The Atlas’ 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 Atlas SEL Premium’s 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

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Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Atlas 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 Atlas is less expensive to operate than the Armada because typical repairs cost less on the Atlas than the Armada, including $45 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Atlas will be $13724 to $17389 less than for the Nissan Armada.

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 2020/08/13

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the Nissan Armada by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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