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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A white 2020 Chevy Tahoe is parked on a city street at night after leaving an Atlanta Chevy dealer.

Battle of the Big SUVs: The 2020 Chevy Tahoe vs 2020 Nissan Armada

Big SUVs are a breed of car that certainly isn’t going anywhere. Even as trends lean towards sleek, small, and fuel-conscious, the beefy horsepower titans will continue to be in high demand, and not just for their size. Large SUVs demand plenty of appeals, and whether you talk to an Atlanta Chevy Dealer or one from Boise Idaho, they’ll both agree large SUVs are going nowhere. Although, it is important to note that some models are better than others, which is why we’re so eager to compare two of the more popular big SUVs on the road today, the 2020 Chevy Tahoe and the 2020 Nissan Armada. It’s no doubt that both of these vehicles have a lot to deliver, from their robust powertrains to their expansive cabins; however, only one can be considered the better buy, so we’ll peel back the chassis and see which of these big SUVs lives up to expectations.

Pricing and Trim Options

Both the 2020 Chevy Tahoe and the 2020 Nissan Armada have a lot of promise to deliver on. Even though compact SUVs still crowd the market, there is a lot of competition in the field for both of these vehicles, and beating the competition means delivering competitive pricing with a plentiful, yet appropriate number of trim levels.

Let’s start with the Nissan model, which has an MSRP of $47,100 and gives potential buyers a healthy number of trim options to choose from, including the SV, SL, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve. While the number of selections is reasonable, and the price is relatively low considering the competition, there is a lot more to consider before we’d suggest the Nissan Armada as a top-contender as the better purchase.

How does the 2020 Chevy Tahoe lineup? Well, the Chevy Tahoe does have a higher opening sticker price, with base models coming in at $49,000 MSRP, which is in the mid to high-range of vehicles of this class. Although, the Chevy Tahoe seems to make up for this higher price by only including three trim options the LS, LT, and Premier. With only three options to choose from, one can assume at first glance that the Chevy Tahoe might offer more value right out of the gate, although we’ll have to dig a little deeper to determine if there’s any truth in that.

A Big Set of Engines for a Big Car

A blue 2020 Nissan Armada is driving in the snow.

Neither of these big SUVs comes with small engines, and that is hardly a problem, in our opinion. Considering both of these vehicles come with three rows of seats and plenty of cargo space, you’ll need to take advantage of at least a six-cylinder engine; and fortunately, both models amp things up by including eight.

The Nissan Armada gives drivers only a single-engine to play with, a 5.6-liter V8 that delivers 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque. While there’s plenty of power from this single engine choice, the 7-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive can be a little uninspiring when put to the test. While four-wheel drive allows the Nissan Armada to take on rough road conditions and even a handful of easy mountain trails, the Nissan Armada isn’t necessarily a rugged ‘go-anywhere’ kind of car. Although, you do get some decent towing capacity, with the max rating topping out at 8,500 pounds. Although, it should be said that you shouldn’t expect a lot in terms of fuel economy, as even the rear-wheel drive model can only earn an average of 16 MPG.

The 2020 Chevy Tahoe though, understands what big SUV drivers are looking for, and that is multiple engine options. The base model of the Chevy Tahoe is a little underpowered to what can be found in the entry-level Nissan Armada, as the standard 5.3-liter V8 can only push forward with up to 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Although, by spending only a little more, you can take advantage of a well-rounded engine, in the form of a 6.2-liter V8. This engine is responsible for 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque; which blows the competition out of the water.

While a 6-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive is standard in the Tahoe, a well-placed upgrade equips the SUV with four-wheel drive and a remarkable 10-speed automatic transmission. And when purchased with the Z71 package, the Chevy Tahoe can be made into a fairly competent off-road vehicle, dishing out skid plates, recovery hooks, and a set of all-terrain tires. The Chevy Tahoe can even tow more than the Nissan Armada when properly equipped; with the 5.3L engine, this model has a max towing up to 8,600 pounds. And while gas mileage isn’t phenomenal in the Chevy Tahoe, it still outpaces the Nissan Armada in base models, earning an average of 18 MPG.

Stepping Inside the Cabin

While performance can make or break any big SUV, the interior cabin takes a close second in terms of importance; and we mean more than the cargo space. The Nissan Armada is pretty spacious on the inside, sporting a max cargo capacity of 95 cubic feet, and with 41 inches of legroom in the rear, the Nissan Armada is a pretty capable transporter. A fair amount of tech is also packed into the Nissan Armada, and it includes power-seats, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation and Bose audio speakers, at the base level.

Although, what’s disheartening about all this is the fact that the Nissan Armada is the one big SUV that doesn’t come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, no matter how much you decide to spend. In a world, where this feature is considered a staple of any model lineup, it is a shame to see this omitted completely from the Nissan Armada’s grab bag of offerings.

The brown leather interior of the 2020 Chevy Tahoe is shown.

The Chevy Tahoe offers nearly the same amount of space and room as its competitor, with 94.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats, and 39 inches of rear legroom. Although, when we mentioned earlier whether fewer trim options and a higher price would mean for more value upfront, we were right.

The base model of the Chevy Tahoe comes much more adequately equipped than the Nissan Armada right off the bat. At no additional cost, drivers of the Chevy Tahoe LS enjoy a dual-zone climate control system, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a power driver’s throne, and five USB ports. The list of features only advances from there, with higher-end models equipped with rear-seat DVD entertainment systems, keyless ignition, and power-folding rear seats.

Which is the Better Bigger SUV

While there is a lot to love about the Nissan Armada, it just barely manages to meet the mark in some areas. The base engine may deliver a reasonable driving experience, but we’d have liked to see a second tiered engine, one that could up the output and towing capacity. And the fact that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is unavailable throughout the Nissan Armada line, it’s easy to see how this big SUV fell behind the Chevy Tahoe. The Chevy Tahoe is a sheer classic both inside and out, and while you may have to bite the bullet with the higher sticker price, the value you end up with is well worth the cost. Although you shouldn’t just take our word for it, we highly recommend you get a test drive of both vehicles from your local Nissan or Chevy dealer.

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