Buy/Drive/Burn: Three-row, V8 Family SUVs for 2019

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn three row v8 family suvs for 2019

The Buy/Drive/Burn series tackled big SUVs in the past, but those were of a distinctly luxurious flavor, costing over $85,000. Today we take a look at three other SUVs, but this time they’re closer to the $50,000 price point. All are from standard, non-luxury brands, have V8 engines, and boast body-on-frame construction. Let’s sort them out.

Nissan Armada

New to North America for the 2017 model year, Nissan’s Armada is the most youthful design here. The current Armada is a light reworking of the rough and ready Patrol model Nissan distributes globally. It should be noted that though it’s new to customers here, people around the globe have been buying the current Patrol since 2010. Assembled in Japan, North American Armadas receive a single engine: an Endurance V8 engine from the Titan that’s assembled in Tennessee. It’s a 5.6-liter mill, producing 390 horsepower. Power shifts through a seven-speed automatic, which can handle 8,500 pounds of tow weight. Today’s budget nets us a mid-level SL AWD trim, well-equipped for $53,750.

Chevrolet Tahoe

The current fourth-generation Tahoe has been on sale since the 2015 model year, when the K2XX platform took over from the GMT900. Improvements over the outgoing model include better fuel economy, selected panels made from aluminum to reduce weight, and better control of noise inside the cabin. Second- and third-row seats also fold flat, making trips from the hardware store easier. The majority of Tahoes are powered by the familiar 5.3-liter Vortec V8, which now has an EcoTec moniker attached to it. A total of 355 horsepower travels to the drive wheels via a six-speed automatic. Towing capacity measures a worst-in-trio 6,600 pounds in our mid-trim LT 4WD, which asks $55,600.

Toyota Sequoia

Rounding out our trio is Toyota’s middle-market full-sizer, the Sequoia. It’s the oldest vehicle here, remaining nearly unchanged since the debut of its second generation for model year 2008. Toyota did update Sequoia for 2018 (slightly), adding LED headlamps and unique grille designs for each trim. Sequoia utilizes the 5.7-liter V8 from the Tundra pickup truck with which it shares a platform. 381 horsepower travel through the six-speed automatic, allowing customers to tow 7,400 pounds. Trim selection today is the blacked-out TRD Sport 4WD, which costs $54,420.

Three truck-based SUVs with room for the whole family. Which is worth a Buy?

[Images: Nissan, Toyota, GM]

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  • Jnyquist504 Jnyquist504 on Jan 21, 2019

    I don't really have a strong opinion on any of these, HOWEVER, I will say I drove a 2017 Infiniti version of the Armada all the way to the end of "Hole In The Rock Rd." (look it up if you don't know what/where it is) in about a quarter of the time it should have taken with any lesser vehicle. Having done this solo in the middle of the winter season, there was almost no one else out there, it was an awesome trip made more so by a great vehicle. I have no off-roading background, but man this thing just ate up everything like it wasn't even trying. The suspension was perfect for the super rutted areas (80% of the drive) where everyone else was going 15-20mph, I blew by at 40+. No creaks, groans, rattles, etc. with 35k on the clock. If I needed something that big, I would seriously consider buying an Armada based on that experience. Oh, and I heartily recommend that drive.

  • ChevyIIfan ChevyIIfan on Jan 23, 2019

    I guess buy the Toyota, probably because it will hold up the b est long term Drive the Tahoe because it will be a comfortable workhorse Burn the Armada because you won't see better than 13 mpg no matter the driving situation in that thirstier than a solider in the desert 5.6.

  • SCE to AUX Good summary, Matt.I like EVs, but not bans, subsidies, or carbon credits. Let them find their own level.PM Sunak has done a good thing, but I'm surprised at how sensibly early he made the call. Hopefully they'll ban the ban altogether.
  • SCE to AUX "Having spoken to plenty of suppliers over the years, many have told me they tried to adapt to EV production only to be confronted with inconsistent orders."Lofty sales predictions followed by reality.I once worked (very briefly) for a key supplier to Segway, back when "Ginger" was going to change the world. Many suppliers like us tooled up to support sales in the millions, only to sell thousands - and then went bankrupt.
  • SCE to AUX "all-electric vehicles, resulting in a scenario where automakers need fewer traditional suppliers"Is that really true? Fewer traditional suppliers, but they'll be replaced with other suppliers. You won't have the myriad of parts for an internal combustion engine and its accessories (exhaust, sensors), but you still have gear reducers (sometimes two or three), electric motors with lots of internal components, motor mounts, cooling systems, and switchgear.Battery packs aren't so simple, either, and the fire recalls show that quality control is paramount.The rest of the vehicle is pretty much the same - suspension, brakes, body, etc.
  • Theflyersfan As crazy as the NE/Mid-Atlantic I-95 corridor drivers can be, for the most part they pay attention and there aren't too many stupid games. I think at times it's just too crowded for that stuff. I've lived all over the US and the worst drivers are in parts of the Midwest. As I've mentioned before, Ohio drivers have ZERO lane discipline when it comes to cruising, merging, and exiting. And I've just seen it in this area (Louisville) where many drivers have literally no idea how to merge. I've never seen an area where drivers have no problems merging onto an interstate at 30 mph right in front of you. There are some gruesome wrecks at these merge points because it looks like drivers are just too timid to merge and speed up correctly. And the weaving and merging at cloverleaf exits (which in this day and age need to all go away) borders on comical in that no one has a bloody clue of let car merge in, you merge right to exit, and then someone repeats behind you. That way traffic moves. Not a chance here.And for all of the ragging LA drivers get, I found them just fine. It's actually kind of funny watching them rearrange themselves like after a NASCAR caution flag once traffic eases up and they line up, speed up to 80 mph for a few miles, only to come to a dead halt again. I think they are just so used to the mess of freeways and drivers that it's kind of a "we'll get there when we get there..." kind of attitude.
  • Analoggrotto I refuse to comment until Tassos comments.