Nissan is as tenacious as a red wine stain on off-white carpeting.
Engine: 5.6-liter V8
Output: 390 horsepower, 394 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
U.S. Fuel Economy (MPG): 15 city, 20 highway, 17 combined
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 15.9 city, 11.9 highway, 14.1 combined
Estimated U.S. As-Tested Price: $55,485, including $1,395 for delivery
CAN Estimated Price: $67,587, including $1,795 for delivery
When it comes to full-size trucks, the Japanese brand faces withering competition from Detroit’s hometown automakers. And it should come as no surprise the domestic trio has no intention of relinquishing its stranglehold on this highly lucrative slice of the new-vehicle market.
Despite these star-spangled headwinds, Nissan is not backing down, either. Slugging it out with Ford, General Motors and Ram is the automaker’s Titan. Completely redesigned for model-year 2016, this truck is not quite as fresh as some of its primary rivals. Recently, the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado both received total overhauls, while the Ford F-150 continues to dominate the sales charts. Fortunately, age does not immediately equate to inferiority. This Nissan is still a capable and versatile full-size pickup that deserves to sell better than it does.
News for 2019
Sprucing things up, several minor changes have been made to the Titan for 2019. Standard across the board, even on bare-bones regular-cab trucks, is a NissanConnect infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
A 485-watt Fender premium audio system is also available for the new model year. With up to 12 speakers, including an eight-inch subwoofer, it should provide a first-class listening experience.
Engineers added an additional standard USB port, bringing the total to two. Midnight Pine Metallic and Moab Sunset Metallic paint colors join the palette, while SV models gain body-color outer grille trim with gloss-black inner elements.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Review – VIDEO
A new Rear Door Alert system has been added to all King Cab and Crew Cab models. This feature reminds the driver to check the back seat after parking, warning them via a signal in the instrument cluster display and by honking the horn. This feature will be standard on all Nissan sedans, utility vehicles and extended-cab trucks by the 2022 model year.
Cornucopia of Choice
Appealing to a wide range of customers, the Titan is available with two drivetrain configurations, three cab variants, and five trim levels, so there’s one for nearly every type of buyer.
People who need maximum hauling capacity should check out the regular-cab model. They come with an 8-foot bed and seat up to three. The King Cab version is available for those that require a bit more interior and seating space. They’re matched to a 6.5-foot cargo box. Of course, Crew Cab models provide the most cabin room and comfort. They’re paired with a 5.5-foot bed.
Naturally, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are offered, as are 11 different exterior paint colors, including the two premium metallic hues mentioned a couple paragraphs above. Exponentially increasing the Titan’s versatility is a range of optional features. You can get lockable storage bins, a bed-mounted channel system for easily tying any sort of freight down, a cargo-box-mounted 110-volt power outlet and even in-bed LED lighting.
Truck buyers who need more capability than offered by this “half-ton” Titan can grab an XD model, which delivers increased towing and payload ratings. Think of this as a pickup nestled between traditional full-size trucks and heavy-duty models. The XD is intended to straddle the gap between these segments.
They can be had with the same 5.6-liter gasoline engine as regular Titans or a mighty 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8, which delivers 310 horses and 555 pound-feet of torque. Like its little brother, this oil-burner is unexpectedly quiet and civilized, lacking the vibration and clattering so typical of diesels.
As for pricing, a rear-drive Titan Single Cab S model kicks off around $32,000, including delivery fees. Splurging on a Crew Cab Platinum Reserve model with four-corner traction and checking every options box can easily push the Titan past 60-grand. Landing between these extremes, the off-road-focused Pro-4X model tested here stickered for an estimated $55,485, including a handful of options and $1,395 in destination fees.
How ‘Bout That Interior?
Inside, the Titan is surprisingly comfortable, its Zero Gravity front seats offering superb support with just the right amount of cushioning. King Cab models provide ample back-seat space for passengers, meaning nobody is relegated to steerage.
Build quality is high in this rig, with everything appearing to be screwed together well and made of at least decent materials. Of course, some the hard plastics on the dashboard and doors could be nicer, and the handle on the shifter looks positively bargain basement, but the Titan’s cab, for the most part, is comfortable and pleasant. Fewer chrome accents might be nice as well, as these bright bits can reflect the sun’s rays right into your eyes.
SEE ALSO: Ford F-150 Power Stroke Review – VIDEO
One curious omission here is Nissan’s phenomenal ProPILOT Assist system. Think of this as adaptive cruise control on steroids. Not only does it automatically adjust vehicle speed, accelerating and decelerating as traffic conditions dictate, it also includes lane-centering technology, which drastically reduces the need to steer, a godsend on long highway slogs.
In motion, the Titan feels newer than its birth certificate indicates. The truck has an incredibly solid feel; there’s no sense of cheapness or frailty to it, even when taken over rougher surfaces.
The Pro4X model tested here provided a compliant and controlled ride with little of the business or judders live axles can sometimes provide.
Getting up to speed in the Titan is a breeze thanks to its standard 5.6-liter V8 engine. Not only is this gasoline-fired unit muscular, cranking out 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, it’s incredibly smooth and revs with sports-car vigor. Tap the accelerator pedal while in park and the tachometer needle leaps toward redline. Fully variable dual overhead camshafts drive four valves per cylinder, a combination that flows an F5 tornado’s worth of air when required. Direct fuel injection and Nissan’s innovative VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) variable valve lift system further improve performance.
This engine is perhaps the best part of Nissan’s Titan; it even sounds like a muscle car, emitting a throaty rumble. Taking advantage of its output is a standard seven-speed automatic transmission. Smoothly changing ratios and more than willing to downshift, this transmission is an excellent partner for that V8 engine.
Curiously, no lower-spec V6 engine, no turbocharged-four, no mild hybrid powertrain is available in this truck. Every half-ton Titan is fitted with that burly 5.6-liter unit, but it might be too much for cost-conscious customers that don’t need eight-cylinders of fury.
For testing, Nissan had a diesel-powered Titan XD hooked to a 27-foot-long Airstream camper, a version of the firm’s classically styled International Signature model. Even with more than 6,200 pounds attached to its hitch, the Titan towed with zero drama. Climbing hills, descending grades and navigating a small town’s tight and crowded main street was a snap, though to be fair, this should be no challenge for the XD. Properly equipped, they can tow just shy of 13,000 pounds, meaning the Airstream in question represented less than half of what this rig is capable of dragging.
The Verdict: 2019 Nissan Titan Review
It’s unfortunate Nissan doesn’t sell more Titans. Dealers pushed out fewer than 51,000 copies in the U.S. last year. Contrast that to Ford, which sold nearly 215,000 F-Series trucks in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Clearly, Titan is the best pickup truck nobody’s buying.
While this Nissan isn’t as flashy or feature-laden as some of its more recently overhauled rivals, it’s still extremely likable and a more-than-worthy entrant in the full-size segment. It’s noticeably nicer than a Toyota Tundra, which is positively ancient at this point, and in some ways more compelling than even the brand-new Silverado.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque Review – VIDEO
Another feather in the Titan’s cap is its segment-leading warranty. Should anything go awry, owners are shielded from repair bills by a five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. This sort of coverage is unheard of in the pickup segment.
If you’re not a rabid brand loyalist, some dyed-in-the-wool Ford fanatic, or a fourth-generation Ram driver, put the Titan on your shopping list when it’s time for a new truck. It just might surprise you.
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