New & Used Nissan Titan: In Depth
2011 Nissan TitanEnlarge Photo
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The Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck that competes with the Toyota Tundra, GMC Sierra, Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and the Chevrolet Silverado.
See our full review of the 2013 Nissan Titan for current details, specs, and pricing, as well as our take on how it matches up against other trucks.
The Titan shares some of its components and structure with the Frontier, which is a size smaller.
Originally introduced for the 2004 model year, the Titan hasn't been the sales success Nissan had hoped. As Toyota has found with its Tundra, truck buyers have shown to be exceedingly loyal to domestic brands.
But that doesn't mean the Titan isn't a viable alternative. For starters, it remains a good-looking one. To this day, the Titan takes a noticeably different design direction compared to that of other full-size trucks. Taking a nod from Nissan's Pathfinder and Armada SUVs, the Titan has thoroughly macho styling cues, including flared fenders and a large bright chrome grille. Altogether it looks a little more in place in the city than many comparable trucks from other automakers.
While most rival large pickups—especially those from the U.S. automakers—have targeted work use and company fleets, Nissan has always stayed focused on personal and recreational use for the Titan. The Titan has never come in a stripped-down base model, nor in a heavy-duty edition; focused models aim at off-roading and towing, but it's only offered with a large 5.6-liter V-8 engine.
That V-8 made 305 horsepower and 379 pound-feet of torque—upgraded to 317 hp and 385 lb-ft in 2007—which especially at the time of the Titan's 2004 introduction made it one of the fastest, most powerful standard-equipment trucks. However fuel economy is unimpressive—count on low teens in the city—with no smaller engine or V-6 offered. For those who don't mind, with its responsive five-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive, the powertrain is positively quick, and handling are good. Road noise is more accentuated than with other full-size trucks, though, and the rumbly, ever-present nature of the engine won't suit everyone.
The Titan has changed very little since it was first introduced, for 2004. The only significant difference is that for 2007, Nissan introduced long-wheelbase versions of the Titan for the first time, allowing many more build variations, and payload capacity was increased. Titan models can now carry up to 9,500 pounds. Most Titans receive the unique factory spray-in bedliner, and Nissan has offered some unique storage options like the cleated tie-downs that slide up and down tracks to secure a small, heavy object like an engine block.
King Cab and Crew Cab versions of the Titan are offered, Bed lengths are 6.5 or 8.0 feet, and Crew Cab models come with seating that's genuinely roomy enough for four adults. Cabin comfort is good, and there's been a very expansive feature list that has included, in recent years, options like Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, and a DVD entertainment system.
Safety hasn't been the Titan's forte. In recent years it's achieved less-than-optimal results from both major crash-test organizations, though electronic stability control has been standard for many years and was optional when the Titan was first introduced.
The Titan has changed very little over the past several years, although in the 2013 Titan, Nissan freshened the look of the off-road-themed PRO-4X; gave all the Titan models a new tailgate design, with a few other minor appearance changes; and made the navigation system (with a USB port and satellite radio) more widely available.
Both the Nissan Titan and the related Frontier are now built at an assembly plant in Mississippi.
A replacement for the Titan is due in spring of 2014, as a 2015 model. The 2015 Nissan Titan is expected to be extensively reengineered and completely redesigned, and a clean-diesel engine option remains a possibility.