2021 Nissan Titan

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
February 9, 2021

Buying tip

The Pro-4X off-road trim is tempting, but the big truck makes the best value in S or SV trims.

features & specs

4x2 Crew Cab Platinum Reserve
4x2 Crew Cab S
4x2 Crew Cab SL
MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
MSRP
$56,440
MSRP
$39,680
MSRP
$54,930

The 2021 Nissan Titan doesn’t cast the same wide net as other trucks, but its higher starting price comes with good standard features.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Nissan Titan? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck with an extended cab or crew cab that comes with a long wheelbase and a longer wheelbase in XD models. Like the Toyota Tundra, it competes in a segment dominated by American trucks such as the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Chevy Silverado. 

Is the 2021 Nissan Titan a good truck?

Review continues below

Nissan doesn’t offer the Titan in as many configurations or trim levels as the competition, so its base price is more expensive than in pared down work trucks. But it comes with good standard safety and convenience features and a good warranty that help it earn a TCC Rating of 5.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Nissan Titan?

Refreshed last year, the 2021 Nissan Titan stands pat this year. 

The big blocky truck cribs design cues from the Ford F-150 but with a chunky hourglass grille and a hodgepodge of shapes and design influences. It all blends into the background, even on the inside, where hard plastic and basic cloth can be upgraded to wood accents and premium leather upholstery on top Platinum Reserve trim.

The 2021 Titan comes with a V-8 rated to make 400 hp and 413 lb-ft on premium fuel. It’s a familiar engine for Titan owners that has plenty of grunt, and in longer XD models with rear-wheel drive, it can tow more than 11,000 pounds. Last year, a more efficient 9-speed automatic replaced the 7-speed, and it seems less sure of itself in low gears but it helps four-wheel-drive versions get 18 mpg combined. It rides like a truck, stiff but familiar, and lacks the adaptive dampers or air suspensions offered by competitors. Off-road enthusiasts might look toward the Pro-4X model and its Bilstein shocks and electronic locking rear differential. 

Offered in extended or crew cab models, the Titan comes with front and rear cloth bench seats that can fit six people. Most shoppers pick crew cab models of a higher leathery grade that fit five and leave enough stretch out room for three in back, even if it’s not as roomy as the competition. The long 6.5-foot bed pairs with the extended cab, while a 5.5-foot bed matches the crew cab. The XD model is the exception, with the crew cab trailed by the long bed.  

Nissan equips the 2021 Titan with good safety features such as automatic emergency braking that makes the road safer for everyone. Crash test scores are mostly good, but federal and independent testers found the front passenger protection lacking. 

How much does the 2021 Nissan Titan cost?

The extended cab with rear-wheel drive costs $38,415, including destination. It comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and a 5-year/100,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty. 

A crew cab adds about $2,400 more, and four-wheel drive costs $3,130 more. Offered in S, SL, SV, Pro-4X, and Platinum trims, the Titan can cost more than $63,000 when equipped with Platinum trim in the XD model. 

Where is the 2021 Nissan Titan made?

In Canton, Mississippi, alongside the Nissan Frontier.

4

2021 Nissan Titan

Styling

The 2021 Nissan Titan cribs too many elements from the Ford F-150 to stand on its own.

Is the 2021 Nissan Titan a good-looking truck?

It’s big. And the XD version is even bigger. But last year’s refresh of broad squares and lights made it a mishmash that neither cohered or offended. It just is. The Pro-4X off-road model adds black elements, skid plates, and red tow hooks for more presence, but otherwise it’s a 4 for the exterior’s bland indifference on such a large canvas.

The vertical hourglass grille is split in the middle by a line that runs down the body, separating the rocker panels and bumpers from the upper body. LED headlights and taillights brush back all those hard right angles toward a front window kink ripped off from the Ford F-150. There’s a lot of F-150 still here despite last year’s refresh, with rounded wheel arches, bulged fenders, and wrap-around lights. 

The interior banks on a smaller touchscreen swallowed by massive plastic chrome pieces that stretch from the top of the dash down to the center console. Even the larger 9.0-inch touchscreen and twin bands of dials and buttons seem lost between it. Titan style has more function than flair, though Platinum Reserve editions dress it up with buttery leather upholstery and wood panels, wood accents, and a wood-trimmed steering wheel.

Review continues below

5

2021 Nissan Titan

Performance

Unlike the competition, the 2021 Nissan Titan comes with one engine choice.

The 2021 Nissan Titan uses a 400-hp 5.6-liter V-8 engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Its towing capacity and payload trail the segment leaders, but it’s plenty capable.

Is the Nissan Titan 4WD?

It can be, but it starts off with rear-wheel drive. Pro-4X and Platinum Reserve come standard with four-wheel drive. 

How fast is the Nissan Titan?

The 9-speed introduced for last year has been rolled out in other Nissan models, such as the 2022 Nissan Frontier, for more refinement and quicker shifts, though it can still hunt and peck for the right gear during everyday driving. The V-8 makes 413 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, but there’s plenty of low end torque to get off the line and help tow up to 9,310 pounds; it can carry 1,650 pounds in its bed. The longer, beefier frame on XD models increases the payload to 2,390 pounds and the towing capacity to 10,880 pounds, or 11,040 pounds when equipped with a gooseneck. 

The Titan rides like an older truck, stiff around town and jouncy when unladen, but smooth enough on the highway. The XD is slightly taller and wider, and about a foot longer, which might be too long for some garages. 

Four-wheel-drive Titans have a two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range settings, but the Pro-4X model encourages off-roading with an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks, hill-descent control, a crawling gear, and more skid plates. And twin red tow hooks, of course.

Review continues below

7

2021 Nissan Titan

Comfort & Quality

Bench seats fill base Titan models, but available bucket seats bolster backsides.

The 2021 Nissan Titan comes with an extended cab with a 6.5-foot bed or crew cab with a 5.5-foot bed. The larger XD models have a crew cab with the long bed. The extended cab is pretty basic with its bench seats and limited rear space, while the XD models size up but don’t offer much more capability. The crew cab is just right, consumers say, and earns a 7.  

The basic crew cab in S and SV configurations come with 40/20/40 front bench seats covered in cloth. It seats six, but front bucket seats standard on higher trims will be the popular choice to fit five in comfort. Rear-seat passengers sit upright but can stretch out to more than 38 inches of leg room; that’s plenty, but it trails the competition by at least five inches on average. The 60/40-split bench could be flipped up for storage. 

Leather fronts are an option, while premium leather can be heated and cooled and power-adjusted eight ways in the top Platinum Reserve. Door pockets, cup holders, and a deep console create plenty of in-truck storage, but the finish on non-leather trims tends to be rubbery plastic with more function than flair.

Review continues below

5

2021 Nissan Titan

Safety

The 2021 Nissan Titan comes with standard safety features but it didn’t perform well in passenger-side crash tests.

How safe is the Nissan Titan?

The 2021 Nissan Titan avoids a crash as well as it withstands a crash, except on the front passenger’s side, according to federal and independent crash testers. The standard safety gear offsets those ratings for an average of 5. 

Nissan should be commended for equipping its large truck with front and rear automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. It avoided crashes with other vehicles in 12-mph and 25-mph tests and avoided or slowed to a near stop in all pedestrian crash tests. That's especially important for full-size trucks with blunt front ends whose impact would immobilize pedestrians, cyclists, and many other vehicles. It also comes with blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, automatic high beams, a driver-attention monitor, and trailer sway control. Options include adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera system. 

But the Titan performed poorly on crash tests that simulated head-on collisions with the front passenger side. The IIHS rated it “Acceptable,” while the five other crash tests were “Good,” and the NHTSA gave that element three stars, sinking the truck to a four-star rating overall. The Chevy Silverado performed even worse on that side in IIHS testing.

Review continues below

8

2021 Nissan Titan

Features

The 2021 Nissan Titan comes with good standard and optional features, and a good warranty.

In addition to the standard safety features mentioned above, the 2021 Nissan Titan crew cab comes well equipped with comfort and convenience features that more than justify its comparatively high $40,875 start price, including $1,595 destination. The less popular, less expensive extended cab costs $38,145. Few competitors’ base work trucks come with features such as a satellite radio, keyless start, and 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

It gets a point for its standard features, a point for optional features such as a Fender audio system and Bilstein shocks, and a point for its excellent 5-year/100,000-mile warranty. It’s an 8. 

Which Nissan Titan should I buy?

Titan SV pickups are most popular with buyers and include bucket seats, upgraded cloth, and 18-inch wheels, and more available options such as a 9.0-inch touchscreen. With a crew cab and four-wheel drive, a Titan SV costs $47,455, including destination. For $5,000 more, the Pro-4X and its off-road gear make a compelling case.  

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Nissan Titan?

The top Platinum Reserve trim in the Titan XD heavier duty model costs more than $63,000 with four-wheel drive. It comes with 20-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, heated and cooled leather seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and running boards. A sunroof and bed step would cost extra.

Review continues below

3

2021 Nissan Titan

Fuel Economy

With only a V-8 engine, the 2021 Nissan Titan has average fuel economy for a truck.

Is the 2021 Nissan Titan good on gas?

No, but few full-size V-8 trucks are. Skipping fuel cylinder management, a diesel engine, or a turbocharger to help replace some displacement, the 2021 Nissan Titan gets an EPA-rated 15 mpg city, 21 highway, 18 combined, with four-wheel drive. That’s only 1 mpg shy of the competitors’ fancier V-8 powertrains. Rear-wheel drive gets 16 mpg city, otherwise it’s the same. The larger tires on the Pro-4X cost it 1 mpg combined. 

All told, the 2021 Titan rates a 3.

Review continues below

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$36,950
MSRP based on 4x2 King Cab S
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5.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 4
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 5
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
Compare the 2021 Nissan Titan against the competition
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2021 Nissan Titan Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Nissan Titan is here
  • Lease: From $399 per month for 36 months
  • Rebate: Up to $3,000 cash back
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 72 months
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