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Nissan Armada vs. GMC Yukon

Though the modern crossover has made the body-on-frame SUV somewhat obsolete, there are still some buyers who prefer the truck-like underpinnings, towing capacity, and ruggedness of a traditional SUV. Two stalwarts in this segment are the GMC Yukon and the redesigned-for-2017 Nissan Armada.

Both models have been in the SUV game for quite some time – the Yukon since 1992 and the Armada since 2004 – but which is the better buy?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Yukon & Armada »

What the Yukon Gets Right

With its two sizes, the standard Yukon and the longer Yukon XL, the GMC gives buyers an option the Armada doesn’t offer. In the XL model, the third row gets an impressive 34.5 inches of leg room to the Armada’s 28.3 inches. In both its normal length and XL model, the Yukon also has more cargo room with the third row upright.

The Yukon’s base engine isn’t up to the task of taking on the Armada, but its optional 6.2-liter is more than capable. The 6.2-liter V8's 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque outmuscles the Armada’s 5.6-liter V8 by 30 hp and 66 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy also checks in slightly higher in the Yukon, which gets up to 16 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined (the Armada comes in at 14 mpg city, 19 highway, and 16 combined).

The Yukon also bests the Armada in handling and ride thanks to its more responsive steering system and the Denali’s available magnetic ride control that softens its truck-derived chassis.

What the Armada Gets Right

With a starting price of $46,095 (including $1,195 destination charge), the Armada comes in a bit more affordable than the $49,825 (including $1,295 destination fee) GMC Yukon. This leaves more than $3,000 the buyer can keep in their pocket or put toward options.

The standard engine in the 2017 Nissan Armada is a 5.6-liter V8 with 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. This easily bests the Yukon’s base 5.3.-liter V8 with 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

Though it does pale in comparison to the longer Yukon XL, the Armada’s cabin has a little more room than the base Yukon, especially in the third row, where its 28.3 inches of third-row leg room beats the GMC by 3.5 inches. With all the seats folded, the Armada’s 95.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo room beats the base Yukon by 0.4 cubic feet.

Finally, for those who like to head off the beaten path, the Armada has 9.1-inches of ground clearance to the eight inches in the Yukon.

Why Buy the Armada?

The Armada loses a close battle to the GMC Yukon, but it went down with a fight. The Armada is great for buyers looking for a rugged SUV with a unique appearance, and those who prefer a roomier third row without stepping up to a larger, more expensive model like the Yukon XL.

Verdict: GMC Yukon

Though the base Yukon’s cabin is a little tighter than the Armada’s, it has one thing the Nissan doesn’t: an optional XL model. This extra wrinkle combines with the optional 6.2-liter V8, a softer ride, and the decked-out Denali model to give the Yukon the victory over its Japanese rival.

Take a closer look at the GMC Yukon »

Take a closer look at the Nissan Armada »

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      Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

      His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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