2013 Nissan Titan Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 3, 2012

The 2013 Nissan Titan provides strong performance, with a brash style, but it's simply fallen to the back of the pack in many respects.

Even though the Nissan Titan hasn't changed much in nearly a decade, it remains one of the most distinctive-looking, distinctive-sounding full-size trucks on the market in 2013. While that's part of the truth, the other part is that in nearly every other way the 2013 Titan is simply outclassed by other full-size pickups that offer more advanced features, better safety, or a more upscale interior.

Over all those years, Nissan's made no major changes to the Titan inside or out. And when it comes to the exterior, we're fine with that; it's arguably still one of the most aggressively styled trucks. Inside, the Titan shows its age, with lower-rent materials and textures make it seem dated, especially when you match it up against the finely detailed new interiors in the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500.

The 2013 Nissan Titan has just one performance flavor, and it's for the most part a good one: The 5.6-liter V-8 that's under the hood of the Titan sounds ripped and ready--and it is. That NASCAR-ish sound quality remains appropriate for this Mississippi-built truck. And while its numbers, of 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque, are no longer near best in class, the Titan's always on its powerband, and aided by a transmission that feels like it was (and it was) designed as a willing companion to it. Considering the Titan's size and heft, it handles quite well (at least compared to other large pickups) and it feels smaller and nimbler than it is, with good low-speed maneuverability.

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PRO-4X models are only offered with four-wheel drive, while the rest of the lineup can be had in either rear- or four-wheel drive. If you're considering the PRO-4X, keep in mind that its suspension tuning is very firm--to the point of being skittish on some surfaces. But with ten inches of ground clearance and various upgrades like skid plates, the ability is there.

Towing capacity for the Titan is impressive--up to 9,500 pounds with the King Cab and 9,400 pounds with the Crew Cab--although in this age of ever-burlier trucks, it stands well behind the F-150's top 11,700-pound rating.

There are essentially two different body styles for the 2013 Nissan Titan--King Cab and Crew Cab--and between them as well as the four trim levels, there's a wide range of equipment, comfort, and luxury for pickup drivers. Although interior appointments vary, what all these models have in common is a lot of usable space inside--which almost makes the plasticky interior forgivable. We much prefer the four-door Crew Cabs, with their wide, nicely positioned seats that seem to be more of a climb to get into than in some of the competitive trucks. The Titan is available with a factory-applied spray-in bedliner and lockable storage bins built into its bed fenders. Those features, and a channel-based cargo-cleat system, make the Titan better than most for the sort of weekend hobbyist-hauler tasks you might have--like picking up furniture, or an outboard motor.

If safety if one of your chief concerns, you can probably do better with one of the alternatives to the Nissan Titan. Stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard; rear parking sensors are an option; and now for 2013 a rearview camera system is either included or available on most of the lineup. But most of the full-size truck arena gets better safety ratings.

The Titan is aimed at recreational or casual truck users more than the work crowd, so it doesn't skimp on the comfort and convenience features. PRO-4X and SL models especially cater to those who don't want much compromise versus a luxury SUV. The PRO-4X brings with it a special set of features keyed directly at trailblazers of all kinds--with tow hooks, off-road tires, Rancho shocks, and a locking tailgate and locking storage box. And at the top of the lineup, the SL is as you would guess, a loaded, dressed-up street truck ready for a night out. On various models, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, Rockford Fosgate premium audio, heated/leather seats, and a DVD entertainment center are all available.

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