A grey 2021 Ford Expedition is shown from the front parked in front of a mountain.

A Full-Size Battle: The 2021 Ford Expedition vs the 2021 Nissan Armada

Can you imagine a vehicle that offers exceptional interior room for both passengers and cargo, the heartbeat of a warrior, the capability of a workhorse, and exceptional efficiency? A vehicle like this may seem too good to be true, but automakers like Ford and Nissan are doing everything in their power to prove you can truly have it all in full-size SUVs like the Expedition and Armada. Comparing the 2021 Ford Expedition vs 2021 Nissan Armada shows the vast similarities and differences between the SUVs and why Ford continues to lead the race to deliver a spacious, comfortable, and capable SUV that just so happens to carry the stellar reputation and rich legacy of the Ford brand.

A Trim for Every Need

There’s a lot to be said for having plenty of options, and Ford knows it. That’s why you’ll find the 2021 Expedition boasts a 10-trim lineup and 13 available equipment groups. The 2021 lineup starts with the XLT STX at $49,995 and is followed by the XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum trims. For even more room to enjoy the drive, you can opt for the extended wheelbase Expedition MAX in the XLT, Limited, King Ranch, or Platinum trims. This brings the standard Expedition’s cargo volume from 104.6 cubic feet to a stunning 121.5 cubic feet, which means more room for gear and more head and legroom for all your passengers.

You won’t find as many options on Nissan’s 2021 Armada, and that’s because the automaker doesn’t offer an extended wheelbase version of the full-size SUV. This is a dealbreaker for those looking for a larger SUV that can comfortably accommodate passengers and gear. For 2021, the Armada lineup starts at $52,600 for the SV and extends to the SL, Midnight Edition, and Platinum trims. These trims all offer 95.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which pales in comparison to even the standard Expedition that boasts over 100 cubic feet of cargo volume.

A silver 2021 Nissan Armada is shown from the front driving through a city.

Full-Size Power, Full-Size Capability

Ford continues to give drivers plenty of choices with two powertrain options compared to the single standard engine you’ll find on the Armada. The 2021 Expedition comes standard with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that delivers 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This is plenty of power for the full-size SUV, which is available in four-wheel drive for added capability.

Ford ups the ante and makes the Expedition even more capable with the turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which comes standard on the Expedition Platinum. Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the engine churns out 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. It’s also responsible for the Expedition’s impressive towing capacity of up to 9,300 pounds. What’s even better is that the Expedition’s wide range of power doesn’t hinder the SUV’s efficiency, with the Expedition delivering one of the best fuel economy ratings in the segment at 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.

Nissan doesn’t give you any choice in the Armada’s powertrain and, instead, equips the full-size SUV with a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine. Paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission, the engine produces 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, which is significantly less than Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost. This decrease in power is also responsible for the Armada’s lower towing capability of 8,500 pounds. It’s also far less efficient than the Expedition and averages only 14 MPG in the city and 19 MPG on the highway, which means you’ll spend more money and time at the fuel pump.

Keeping You Confident and Connected

Knowing that your busy schedule doesn’t stop when you get behind the wheel, Ford and Nissan are committed to keeping you connected and safe at every turn. The 2021 Ford Expedition does this exceptionally well with the state-of-the-art SYNC 3 infotainment system that gives you access to your favorite apps via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You’ll also have access to the FordPass Connect app that turns the Expedition into a mobile workstation with a Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices within 50 feet of the SUV. This means you’ll never miss a beat when you’re on the road.

Ford also ensures that your backseat passengers are entertained and connected with the available dual-headrest rear-seat entertainment system. Through the screens, your passengers can stream their favorite shows, play DVDs, connect their favorite gaming system, or stream from their phones. They can even watch live television via Slingbox.

As far as safety, the Expedition is equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360. This suite of advanced driver-assist tools includes automatic high-beam headlamps, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System with Lane Keeping Alert, Lane-Keeping Aid and Driver Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning, and Dynamic Brake Support. You can add enhanced tools like Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Enhanced Active Park Assist, and a voice-activated navigation touchscreen for greater convenience.

Like the Expedition, the 2021 Armada is loaded with tech that extends from its connectivity tools to its safety and driver-assist features. The Armada’s connectivity features are centralized in the center touchscreen display that’s home to the Nissan infotainment system, smartphone integration, navigation, and more. Nissan also gives you the option to add a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens to keep your backseat passengers entertained as you navigate the road.

When it comes to safety, the 2021 Armada is on par with the Expedition. Every Armada is equipped with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite that includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Automatic Braking, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Other standard features include Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Driver Alertness, and RearView Monitor. Top-tier trims like the Platinum come with enhanced tools like Intelligent Backup Collision Intervention, Traffic Sign Recognition, and the Intelligent Around View Monitor.

A blue 2021 Ford Expedition is shown parked on a beach after winning a 2021 Ford Expedition vs 2021 Nissan Armada comparison.

Which Will You Choose?

The 2021 Ford Expedition and the 2021 Nissan Armada may share the same classification as full-size SUVs, but they’re remarkably different when you start comparing their trim options, power and capability, efficiency, and technology. The Expedition offers a 10-trim lineup compared to the three-trim Armada lineup, not counting the special Midnight Edition. The Expedition also delivers a wide range of power, capability, and efficiency with its two-engine lineup compared to the standard V8 found on the Armada. The choice then seems obvious, doesn’t it?

To be fair, the Expedition has a significant lead on the Armada after Ford debuted the full-size SUV in 1997 to widespread acclaim. The two-door Ford Bronco was a flop for Ford as drivers looked for a larger, four-door SUV that was both capable and efficient. The Expedition was Ford’s answer, and drivers responded in kind, marking the birth of one of Ford’s best-selling SUVs. The Armada didn’t make its debut until 2004, and even then, it was under the guise of the Pathfinder Armada.

The Expedition’s seven-year headstart on the Armada might not seem like much, but that’s seven years of building brand loyalty and proving the Expedition’s capability. What does that loyalty look like today? There’s no doubt that the 2021 Expedition is a capable performer and will attract thousands of drivers who are committed to the Ford brand. Are you among them?