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Battle of the Big SUVs: 2020 Ford Expedition vs 2020 Nissan Armada

America’s obsession with large SUVs shows no signs of slowing down, and automakers continue to answer the call with a lot of great vehicles. In fact, today’s full-size SUV options are so plentiful that consumers may find narrowing down their choices to be a more difficult process than they expected. After all, when you’re about to fork over upwards of $45,000, your decision becomes pretty stressful. There are tons of factors: size, of course, but also seating configuration, fuel economy, towing capacity, and safety all play a part when deciding which SUV to buy. Today, we are going to look at two of the market’s most popular models in a comparison: 2020 Ford Expedition vs 2020 Nissan Armada. At first glance, they look like two very similar options, but if we inspect a little more closely, we’re going to find some really significant differences.

Remember, automakers compete for your business by designing and building vehicles that don’t force consumers to settle. They try to anticipate every feature and option that today’s demanding buyers want and need in order to win the sale. This is why a lot of vehicles in the same category can start to seem very similar, which can muddy the waters when it comes time to narrow your choices. Without a little extra research into the specific attributes of each vehicle, these similarities can conceal some potential deal killers, which is exactly why we are providing you with this comparison today; you deserve to know all of the details. So let’s get into it.

Powertrain and Towing Capacity

A white 2020 Ford Expedition is towing a camper on a winding mountain road after winning the 2020 Ford Expedition vs 2020 Nissan Armada comparison.

The first area to look at is performance. The engines and power of a vehicle, especially with larger SUVs, are significant in the decision-making process. Let’s start by looking a little more closely at power. At first glance, the base Armada wins with its V8 engine that supplies a slightly greater horsepower rating of 390. However, the Expedition is not far behind and includes a standard 375 hp 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost engine. However, horsepower is not the only indicator of power. In fact, the Expedition’s V6 motor provides 470 ft-lb of torque compared with the Armada’s V8, which sits at 394 ft-lb.

So who wins in the area of power? In short, the Expedition. Why? Well, the first benefit of the Expedition’s more efficient, smaller engine is that it offers far better fuel economy. The Armada provides 14 MPG in the city and 19 MPG highway, while the Expedition comes in at a best-in-class and highly fuel-efficient 17 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. As for torque, the more, the better. Torque allows an engine to apply horsepower more efficiently, especially at lower speeds, for better performance, power, and ride handling. With torque at 470 ft-lb for the Expedition and 394 ft-lb for the Armada, it’s no contest.

Additionally, the 2020 Expedition boasts a max towing capacity of 9,300 pounds (when properly equipped), far more than the Armada, which comes in at 8,500 pounds. This is a massive difference that you should consider if you plan to tow a large boat or RV. Remember, think about how you’ll use your SUV. If you’re towing large, heavy equipment, you might want to opt for the most available towing capacity. In other words, you’ll want to choose the Ford Expedition.

If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry. Ford created another option for those buyers that want more horsepower. The 2020 Expedition Platinum, which sits at the top end of the model range, gets 400 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque out of the same V6 EcoBoost engine. The 2020 Armada does not offer this performance rating on any of its trims. Meaning, the Expedition really is better.

Cargo Space, Cargo Space, Cargo Space

Once again, the Expedition sits at the top of the list with much more cargo space. When the SUV is full of passengers, there is 19.3 cu.ft. of space for cargo. With the very back row folded down, the Expedition provides 57.5 cu.ft. of space. And when both rows of rear seats are folded down, the Expedition has a whopping 104.6 cu.ft. of cargo space to offer. In comparison, the Armada starts strong with 20.3 cu.ft. of trunk space but quickly falls behind. When the back row is folded down, this only increases to 49.1 cu.ft., and when both rows are folded down, it goes up to 86.2 cu.ft of cargo space. Those numbers speak for themselves; the Expedition has significantly more space to offer.

But wait, there’s more! Yes, the Expedition gets even bigger. Ford actually offers the Expedition Max. This model is exactly how it sounds; large. This massive beast hosts 34.3 cu.ft. of cargo space in the trunk, 73.3 cu.ft. with the third row folded down, and 121.5 cu.ft. with both rear rows folded. All in all, if you need space, the Expedition has you covered.

Safety Equipment and Ratings

A blue 2020 Nissan Armada is shown driving from the rear at a higher angle.

The 2020 Ford Expedition is rated as safer than the 2020 Nissan Armada, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), with the Expedition earning a five-star overall crash test rating. The Armada settles for a respectable four-star overall rating, which seems minor but might be a significant difference when safety is a priority. In addition, automotive research company Kelley Blue Book ruled the 2020 Ford Expedition and the 2020 Ford Expedition Max the sixth and seventh Best Safety Rated SUVs of 2020. And the 2020 Nissan Armada didn’t make Kelley Blue Book’s list.

Ford equips all Expeditions with its Co-Pilot360 technology as standard equipment. This comprehensive driver-assist system includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot information system with a cross-traffic alert, and a lane-keeping system that beeps when you stray out of your lane. Most of these features are available on the Armada, but you’ll have to pay extra because they’re optional. Nissan’s Premium Package, priced at $1,100, includes comparable features like distance control, back-up assistance, and a blind-spot warning signal. Both of these are safe vehicles; generally, though, it is clear the Ford Expedition is the safer choice.

Picking an SUV

In the end, the 2020 Ford Expedition edges out its very worthy competitor on several fronts. While both vehicles offer characteristics that are important to most full-size SUV buyers, the Expedition provides advantages that make it the better choice. The advantages are mostly practical – such as towing capacity and fuel economy – but they’re pretty significant advantages.

Sometimes, though, your choice might boil down to appearance. If everything else is close to equal and you simply like how one vehicle looks over the other, that’s okay too! Our intention with this comparison is to highlight how small differences can really stack up and ultimately help if you’re stuck trying to choose between two very similar vehicles. That fact was made evident after comparing the Ford Expedition against Nissan Armada as we were easily able to determine an overall winner.

Overall, the devil is in the details! That’s why taking a closer look at the details can be the difference-maker that quickly leads buyers to settle in on their final choice. This process will help you pick your dream vehicle without any doubt or regrets. And hopefully, our comparison today has shown you that, in the SUV market, the Ford Expedition is superior.

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