Nissan Armada Likely Stealing Titan Pickup’s Nine-Speed Gearbox Soon

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Like the revised 2020 Nissan Titan pickup, the updated 2021 Nissan Armada sees its 5.6-liter V-8 engine’s power swell from 390 horses to 400. Torque, too, grows from 394 lb-ft to 413. Despite sharing its engine with Nissan’s full-size truck, the 2021 Armada full-size SUV does not adopt the Titan’s nine-speed automatic transmission. Instead, it maintains the same seven-speed unit as before.

Nevertheless, it seems the Titan’s transmission is due to find a home in the Armada in the coming years. “The development timing didn’t work out to add the nine-speed to the [2021] Armada,” Nissan product planner, Brent Hagan, shared during a recent call with multiple media outlets, including MotorTrend

While Hagan noted that Nissan “[doesn’t] really need [the nine-speed] for this application,” he added that “[the nine-speed is] something you can bet we’re considering and looking at in the future.” In other words, we wager Nissan plans to replace the Armada’s seven-speed gearbox for the Titan’s nine-speed unit in the coming years.

Although the transmission’s two extra gears (and associated shorter final-drive ratio) failed to improve the straight-line performance of a 2020 Titan we tested, the gearbox proved beneficial to the truck’s EPA fuel economy figures. At 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, the two-wheel-drive 2020 Titan betters its 2019 counterpart’s city and highway fuel economy figures by 1 mpg each. Four-wheel-drive models, however, return the same 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway as before. 

Admittedly, a 1-mpg gain is far from game-changing. That said, such an increase would bring the two-wheel-drive Armada’s fuel economy figures up to 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway—assuming the transmission’s effects on the Titan’s fuel economy hold true to the Armada. Such fuel economy figures would allow the two-wheel-drive Armada to match those of the two-wheel-drive 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon with the 6.2-liter engine (5.3-liter-equipped rear-drive Tahoe and Yukon models, meanwhile, return a slightly better 16 mpg city). Even so, the Armada would still fall short of the two-wheel-drive 2020 Ford Expedition‘s 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway figures.

The 2021 Nissan Armada improves upon many of the shortcomings of last year’s model. Yet, it still maintains the relatively poor fuel economy figures as last year’s model. Consider that reason enough for the Nissan to adopt the Titan’s newer nine-speed automatic transmission in the next model year or two.



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