The 2013 Nissan Titan is a full-size truck with only a big-displacement V8 option under the hood, offered with either the King or Crew Cab version. Built in Canton, Miss., the Titan shares a production facility with Nissan's Armada SUV and its NV commercial van. It has not achieved the volume sales Nissan might have liked, but it has provided Nissan's truck community with a competitive entry in the full-size pickup market. A replacement, expected for 2014, is reportedly coming soon. In the interim, full-size truck prospects can still find a lot to like on the Titan menu.
What's New for 2013
The Titan receives only minor updates for the new model year. The biggest is a new tailgate with an available rearview camera and trim changes to the off-road-oriented PRO-4X model.
What We Like
Highly capable platform; healthy V8 performance; credible off-road capability; built-in-the-USA bragging rights
What We Don't
Limited number of variants: no regular cab, no base-level V6 to keep down cost and boost gas mileage; no heavy-duty option
Nissan's torque-laden 5.6-liter V8 is a great powerplant that delivers a muscular 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft through a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. The kicker is that the 5.6-liter V8 is the only powertrain offered. To enjoy the benefit of V6 efficiency, you'll have to shop someone else's showroom. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency provides a rating of 13 miles per gallon city/18 mpg hwy for the Titan 4x2 and 12 mpg city/17 mpg hwy for the Titan 4x4.
Options & Standard Features
Nissan offers Titan shoppers four well-equipped models: S, SV, PRO-4X and SL. Those four variants run the gamut from entry-level value to leather-appointed near-luxury. All provide comfortable seating, myriad storage options and -- in both the back-seat area and the bed -- an abundance of load flexibility.
The Titan S ($30,000) includes only the most basic equipment. In Crew Cab models that means power windows and door locks, though the base-level Titan S King Cab doesn't even include those. All Titan S models include air conditioning, a 6-speaker CD player, and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.
Shoppers who step up to the Titan SV ($32,500) get a few more luxuries. They include cruise control, remote keyless entry, a stereo auxiliary jack and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The off-road-oriented PRO-4X ($38,000) is offered only with 4-wheel drive. It builds on the SV model, adding rough-road goodies such as skid plates, bulky suspension and a locking rear differential. PRO-4X models also add a few luxury features such as Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio and steering wheel audio controls. A rear obstacle-detection system and a power driver's seat are also standard.
The Crew Cab-only Titan SL ($41,500) sits at the top of the pickup's range. It adds several high-end luxury items to the SV's list of standard features. Among them are dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery with heated front seats, dual-power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, a Rockford Fosgate audio system and a navigation system with NissanConnect infotainment.
The 2013 Nissan Titan includes a long list of standard safety equipment. Even on the base-level Titan S, devoid of power windows and power locks, the pickup includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, curtain-side airbags, vehicle-dynamic control, LATCH seating and 3-point seat belts for all seating positions.
Crash test data for the Titan is not available from the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Full tests of the latest Titan models are also not available through the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), though the pickup received a Good rating on IIHS's moderate overlap front crash test.
Behind the Wheel
In any configuration, Nissan's Titan is one smooth operator, even if its platform is showing its age. The powertrain is refined, though its 5-speed automatic transmission is short at least a gear in its competitive set. And the sturdy nature of its fully boxed F-Alpha pickup platform is immediately evident; the Titan is the automotive equivalent of Fort Knox. Finally, the Titan's 28-gallon fuel capacity should provide more than 400 miles of highway driving between fill-ups.
Nevertheless, this is still a 5,000-lb platform, before adding passengers, cargo and fuel. If you need a full-size vehicle for towing or hauling, the Titan works well and fulfills that mission statement. But if you're looking for ease of daily use, there are trucks with similar capability that drive "smaller," and for in-town usage, smaller is typically better.
Other Trucks to Consider
Chevrolet Silverado -- The all-new Silverado looks to be light-years ahead of the Titan thanks to updated technology and revamped engines.
Toyota Tundra -- The Titan's only Japanese competition boasts more engine and body style choices than Nissan's full-size truck.
As much as we'd enjoy pulling the trigger on a PRO-4X Titan, hopping boulders with 5,000 pounds of truck strapped to our backside doesn't sound as recreational as Nissan might have intended. Instead, we'd probably opt for the SV Sport Appearance package, which provides urban coolness to the Titan's in-your-face architecture. But with so many new trucks on the market, we'd suggest shopping around first to make sure the Titan is the one you really want.