The Nissan Titan was redesigned and launched as an all-new truck for 2017, the beginning of its second generation, so for 2018 it was unchanged. There’s a new Midnight Appearance package that darkens the exterior, but that’s all.
A full-size pickup, Titan stretches 19 feet long and weighs 5000 pounds. Titan is the light-duty model. (Titan XD is a heavy-duty model that looks the same but differs in many ways. Titan XD is reviewed separately.)
The standard engine is a quick and delightful 5.6-liter V8 making 390 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque, mated to a 7-speed automatic that can sometimes be slow to respond. It gets 15/21/18 EPA City/Highway/Combined miles per gallon, with 2WD. There is also a 5.0-liter intercooled turbo diesel V8.
Rivals include Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. Titan is built in Mississippi and was designed in California, and is as American as any of them, including the Tundra, which is built in Texas.
Titan is available in Single Cab and Crew Cab versions. The cabs are straightforward and comfortable, with supportive front seats that come in handsome leather in the Platinum Reserve model. The navigation screen is small, but the rearview camera is useful when backing up or attaching a trailer. The front seats are supportive and the controls large and easy to operate.
On the road, Titan feels tall but taut, more precise than some of its rivals. The suspension is relatively firm and controlled, and the steering is direct.
The bed uses a tie-down system of cleats and rails that comes standard, and locking storage boxes are available. The tailgate is damped, so it lowers easily and doesn’t slam down.
Also standard is a controller for trailer brakes, and it’s steadier and more precise than aftermarket trailer-brake controllers. Surround-view cameras add to the rearview camera, along with blind-spot monitors, cross-traffic alerts in reverse, and front and rear parking sensors.
Nissan Titan comes in a bewildering 52 models and/or trim levels, from the two-wheel-drive Single Cab Titan S ($30,030) with cloth upholstery and six-speaker audio, to the four-wheel-drive Diesel Crew Cab Platinum Reserve.
The Titan’s looks were made aggressive in its redesign, with a bold front fascia, large headlights, a big chrome grille. Two-tone paint schemes wrap around the front bumper cover. Active grille shutters improve aerodynamics. The bed has lights that illuminate the inside.
At first glance, the Titan looks smaller than its domestic rivals, but when it’s parked next to a Ford or Chevy truck, it looks just as big. In fact, it resembles the Ford F-150.
The cab is roomy and comfortable, even the single cab on the base S model; there’s a choice of bucket seats or a bench. Cloth with vinyl is standard, upgraded for Titan SV and further for Pro 4X, the offroad-oriented model. There’s leather in the SL and special leather trim in the Platinum Reserve that feels good and looks good.
The rear seats in crew cabs are almost as comfortable, and roomy in every measurement.
Climbing inside takes some effort, especially without running boards. Step-in height is higher than that of the Ram, and the hood is high.
Crew Cabs offer full-size, front-hinged rear doors that open wide to reveal back seats that are roomy as well as comfortable. Storage is available underneath, and the rear seats fold down to a flat load floor, though that floor is too high for a big dog.
The Titan has a rigid frame with solid gusseting, contributing to its taut handling. Meanwhile, hydraulic body mounts smooth out the ride. It’s comfortable on the highway. It’s not the softest-riding truck, but it rides much better than the Titan XD.
The Titan handles more responsively than some of its rivals. It feels firm and controlled, offering a crisp turn-in from its rack-and-pinion steering.
The 5.6-liter V8 engine is a pleasure, with 390 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque. It’s smooth and quiet during normal driving, but stomp on the gas pedal and it growls to life. If only the same could be said of the 7-speed automatic transmission, that can at times be slow to respond.
Titan is rated to tow up to 9730 pounds, though we’d go for the Titan XD before getting anywhere near that number.
The standard V8 engine is quick and delightful, although the 7-speed automatic transmission can be slow to shift. It can tow more than four tons, with excellent adjustable standard trailer brakes. The handling is taut and steering tight. The cab is roomy and comfortable. It’s as good as its Toyota, Ford, Chevy and Ram rivals.
Mitch McCullough is the editor-in-chief of New Car Test Drive.