Photo Credit: Kevin McCauley
Dirt, logs, inclines and a little bit of mud thanks to Mother Nature are the perfect recipe for a little off-road competition -- as was the case at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo, an event held by the Texas Auto Writers Association
. Over the course of a day and a half, automotive journalists drove more than 50+ trucks and SUVs, all vying to be named a vehicle of Texas in their category. You can read more about the 12 finalists for the main three categories: Truck, SUV and Compact SUV of Texas here.
Two Full-Size SUV contenders vying for the Full-Size SUV of Texas are the 2020 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve and the first-ever 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro. Both are trail-ready and equipped with all-wheel drive. After hitting the trail in both, I found them equally matched in terms of being easy to drive and comfortable on the trail. I walked away impressed with the Sequoia’s tight turning radius and off-road capability even in two-wheel drive. The Armada’s exterior looks and top level interior comfort get my two thumbs up and it handles itself well on the trail with 4WD.
Nissan Armada VS Sequoia TRD
By the numbers, the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro offer similar horsepower and torque. They’re pretty equally matched in terms of fuel economy as well, neither being particularly impressive. (Would love to see some improvements here.) The big difference is in towing. You’ll get more towing capability with the Armada when properly equipped. The TRD Pro comes in at 7,100 (other Sequoia’s offer 7,400.) But the Armada offers less cargo space behind the third row.
|Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro||Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve|
|5.7L V8||Engine||5.6L V8|
|381 hp @ 5,600 RPM||Horsepower||390 hp @ 5,800 RPM|
|401 lb-ft @ 3,600 RPM||Torque||394 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM|
|7,100||Towing||8,500 when properly equipped|
|13c/17h/14 Combined (4WD)||Fuel Economy||13c/18h/15 Combined|
|7||Seating Capacity||7 (with captain's row chairs)|
|18.9 cu. ft.||Cargo behind 3rd Row||16.5 cu. ft.|
|5,985 (TRD Pro)||Weight||5,958 (AWD)|
|$65,325||Price as Tested||$71,730|
2020 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve
The Armada Platinum Reserve is the highest of the lineup’s four trims and comes in either two- or four-wheel drive. The body-on-frame SUV definitely has work capability with its V8 engine and its towing number is impressive. At the same time, it offers the comfort and convenience features that make it family-friendly. It’s easy to maneuver, offers a quiet ride and as I mentioned above, can also hit the trail for your trips to a ski cabin or lake house.
“One thing we hear a lot, is the people who drive this vehicle really enjoy it but they really don’t realize how capable it is,” said Nissan’s Kevin Raftery. “It does have Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.
The Armada offes Auto/4H/4LO modes. At low off-roading speeds you can use the front and side camera views to check out what you are approaching or what objects might be next to you.
New for 2020
22" wheels on the Platinum Reserve. In addition, heated outside mirrors are now standard on all grade levels.
As the name might suggest, the Platinum Reserve is loaded, and it includes a power-sliding moonroof, front climate controlled seats and DVD Family Entertainment System as well as power-folding third-row seats. Its cabin feels comfortable overall with nice leather seating and Platinum Reserve stitching, but I’d love to see an updated larger infotainment screen. On the outside, the Platinum Reserve features dark chrome on the grille, mirrors and door handles to give it some extra luxury.
Safety is top notch. It’s equipped with Nissan Safety Shield technologies, a great suite of driver assist features. Two cool safety-oriented features include the available digital rearview mirror that pipes in a camera view to your rearview mirror and standard Rear Door Alert (RDA), which can help remind drivers to check the back seat.
Toyota Sequoia TRD pro
The body-on-frame Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is new to the lineup for 2020. Like the Armada Platinum Reserve, the TRD Pro trim seats 7 with 2nd-row captain’s chairs. The TRD Pro is available in an Exclusive Army Green hue. A TRD Pro Grille, front skid plate, 18-inch wheels, TRD roof racks, Cat-back Exhaust and TRD-tuned Fox internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs are among the list of features. It’s very capable even in two-wheel drive and the skid plates will never bottom out on this vehicle. I was really impressed with its turning radius, and found the Sequoia very easy to handle. The TRD Pro version comes standard with Multi-Mode 4WD, which is optional in other Sequoia grades.
"When you think about Sequoia it has a long running standard of being a nice SUV family-oriented, I can move stuff I can tow things," said Toyota's Gary Barham. "Then you add TRD Pro on top of that now, FOX struts on it, a roll bar under the bottom for stability, 18-inch wheels which are BBS. You also have skid plates underneath."
New for 2020
Technology gets a big boost for 2020 with the addition of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa. For 2020 is also comes with a larger 7-inch screen. Push-Button start is also now standard on all TRD Pros including the Sequoia.
The 2020 Sequoia TRD Pro’s standard features include Smart Key with Push Button Start, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, and a power tilt/slide moonroof. Black TRD Pro leather-trimmed seats feature red contrast stitching and “TRD Pro” stitched into the front headrests. TRD Pro all-weather floor mats add protection from the elements as well.
Toyota's great Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of safety features is standard on every Sequoia grade. New standard features include Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, along with front and rear parking sensors front and rear.
To me, both are these vehicles make great family SUVs and they are both ones you can hit the trail on thanks to all-wheel drive and other off-road equipment though the TRD Pro is more focused on off-road capability. So it comes down to your personal preference which is likely to be based on looks, convenience features, as well as their infotainment systems. You’ll also be swayed by what’s more important to you, cargo space or towing.