With it, the company that brought the original
mini pickup to America in the 1960s proudly introduces a strong competitor to the
American trio of Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram pickup trucks.
Despite its Japanese brand name, the Nissan Titan was developed,
designed and engineered in North America, and it is assembled in Canton, Mississippi in a
new $1.43 billion plant. So, it sort of is American.
For its first try in the full-size truck market, Nissan decided to
make every model strong. The Titan comes only with a 5.6-liter, 305-horsepower V8 engine,
running through a five-speed electronic automatic with tow/haul modes. Fuel economy is
rated 14 city, 19 highway.
Four-wheel drive is optional, with two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive
high and four-wheel-drive low modes. With four-wheel-drive your Titan gets a
switch-on-demand electronically controlled locking rear differential and skid plates to
protect it when you travel offroad. You can add huge 285/70R17 tires on brushed aluminum
wheels and Rancho brand performance shocks to imbue the big guy with extra offroad
Select your Titan from three models in ascending order: XE, SE, and
LE. And, you have a choice of the King Cab model or the Crew Cab iteration. The shorter
King Cab has rear doors without outside handles that fold way back almost flat against the
truck side for easy loading. The pop up seats are good for your kids.
The Crew Cab gives you four full-size doors and a commodious rear
compartment. Nissan claims best-in class legroom and headroom, and its 126 cubic feet of
space is right there at the top, too. It feels as big as an auditorium as you cruise
serenely down the interstate.
Fullsize pickups have historically been functional versions of the
automotive style of their era. From the bulbous, rounded trucks of the forties to more
recent boxes, style was usually restrained and sturdy. Now, Nissan offers unexpected
curves, slices, and bulges. Massive windshield pillars lead down to muscular front
fenders, which culminate up front in chunky headlight units. Between them is a chrome
grille with two fat suspender straps across its middle flanking a prominent Nissan badge.
In back, the taillamps slice forward into the rear fenders, and the tailgate handle has a
big black surround, part of the Nissan truck tail shared with the smaller Frontier.
Inside, Nissan has captured the truckish qualities of its
competitors, but with a sophisticated touch. The center of the upright dash features a
well-sorted set of man-sized knobs and beveled pushbuttons, usable by a hand in a work
glove. The soft sheen of the materials is competitive and rivals the new Ford F-150s
My Galaxy Black test unit was a midline SE crew cab with
two-wheel-drive. This truck would make a fine family hauler, much nicer than a farm
appliance or jobsite hauler. The air conditioning had rear floor ducts and a microfilter.
Of course, power windows and locks (with remote) were on board. My truck had the nice
leather steering wheel and floor-mounted transmission lever. You can get the Titan with a
front bench, but my tester had the comfy captains chairs with a lumbar adjustment
for the driver.
The overhead console was huge, and appeared ready to accept a rear
seat video viewing system. A large center console is supposed to be big enough to hang
file folders in, which means that if you fold down the passenger seat into a desk,
youve got the perfect office. But please dont work and drive.
One of the best features of my tester was the Utility Bed Package
($900). Every Titan gets a factory-applied spray-in bedliner to protect the metal, but
this option package includes the unique Utili-track tie-down channel system. The bed floor
has two channels down it, and each side and the back of the cab have one too. You can
attach removable utility cleats, rated at 500 pounds, wherever you want them to hold down
the most uncooperative loads.
My truck also came with the Popular Package ($1,300), with 8-way
power drivers seat, power adjustable pedals, steering wheel audio controls, overhead
console, and more. The Big Tow package (sounds like a shoe) lets the truck haul up to
9,400 pounds. Features include extendible mirrors, a tow hitch, a heavy duty battery, a
lower final axle ratio, a transmission temperature gauge, and Vehicle Dynamic Control to
keep it secure on the road.
Prices for the most basic XE King Cab model start at $23,050,
including destination charge, and work up to $31,750 for the LE Crew Cab model, without
additional options. My tester came in at $30,500. In the midst of an amazing product
renaissance, Nissan has another winner on its hands.