The fact that Americans love their pickups should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, the best-selling vehicle in the country isn’t a car, it’s a full-size pickup. While the half-ton pickup market remains dominated by Ford, Ram and Chevrolet, the 2018 Nissan Titan makes a compelling argument as to why buyers may want to look outside their traditional comfort zone. Having learned from the missteps that surfaced on the first generation Titan, the truck introduced last year offers a robust chassis and drivetrain, a rugged image and a plush interior loaded with cool features.
Will it steal away hoards of loyal Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and RAM 1500 owners when they replace their current trucks? Probably not, but Nissan isn’t expecting such a change. Nissan’s goal is to attract first-time full-size truck buyers, particularly within the current Nissan owner base. If a few domestic truck owners, along with Toyota Tundra loyalists, defect to Titan’s ranks, all the better.
What’s New for 2018?
For 2018, the Crew Cab SV and SL trims offer the Midnight Edition Package, a custom-looking design draped in black and charcoal accents and 20-inch black wheels. See the 2018 Nissan Titan models for sale near you
What We Like
Powerful V8; buffed up, more trucklike styling; 5-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty; creative storage areas inside and out; available rearview monitor with trailer guides; PRO-4X hardcore off-road version
What We Don’t
Hauling and towing still lag behind the competition; no V6 or diesel engine for better fuel economy; infotainment system feels a bit antiquated
The only engine available for the Titan is a 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Generating 394 lb-ft of peak torque, Titan can tow a maximum of nearly 9,740 pounds.
Some advanced engine technologies, as well as the active grille shutter, improve fuel economy. Except the PRO-4X grade, all Titans deliver a government-estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. These numbers line up pretty well with those of competitors. The highway mileage estimate drops to 20 mpg for the PRO-4X.
Standard Features & Options
Nissan offers the Titan in Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab configurations in five grades: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve. Single Cab models come with an 8-foot bed, the King Cab with a 6.5-foot bed and the Crew Cab with a 5.5-foot bed. Four-wheel drive adds an additional $3,030 to the bottom line.
The S (Single Cab, $31,075; King Cab, $34,045; Crew Cab, $36, 725) comes standard with 18-in painted steel wheels, front 40/20/40-split bench seat, vinyl floor covering, cloth/vinyl seats, six cup holders, eight bottle holders, power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, two 12V outlets, a manual sliding rear window, air conditioning, six airbags, cruise control, 5-in color display, Bluetooth connectivity, NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, hands-free text messaging and a 6-speaker audio system with a USB port and redundant steering wheel-mounted controls. An optional convenience package includes an overhead console, spray-on bed liner and a receiver hitch with a wiring harness.
The SV (Single Cab, $39,865; King Cab, $37,425; Crew Cab, $39,865) comes out of the box with all the S features and most options, as well as 18-in alloy wheels, floor carpeting, power/heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, full cloth seats, satellite radio capability and an upgraded gauge package. Several options and packages offer an array of extra features, such as spray-on bed liner, bucket front seats, an 8-way power driver’s seat, a 7-in color touchscreen, a navigation system, Siri Eyes Free, power-sliding rear window, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a center console 12V outlet, a rear 110V outlet, rain-sensing wipers, rear traffic alert and a rearview monitor.
The PRO-4X (King Cab, $44,785; Crew Cab 4×4 $46,965) arrives with all the SV standard and most optional features listed, adding 4-wheel drive, all-terrain tires, LED low-beam/halogen high-beam headlights with auto on, LED running lights, a lower radiator skid plate, rear A/C vents and blind spot monitoring. Among the available options are the in-bed Utili-track Channel System, a 110V power outlet, running boards, driver’s side auto-dimming outboard mirror, outboard mirror-mounted puddle lights, heated front seats, 4-way power adjustable passenger seat, a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with subwoofer, remote engine start and a front/rear sonar parking-assist system.
The SL (Crew Cab, $48,325) comes with all the PRO-4X standard gear, except the all-terrain tires and radiator skid plate. It also includes all the PRO-4X listed options. Additional standard features are 20-in alloy wheels, chrome outboard mirrors and leather seats. Options include a trailer brake controller, a key fob-controlled trailer-light-function check and extendable outboard mirrors for towing.
The Platinum Reserve (Crew Cab, $54,255) provides all the SL standard gear and listed options, adding stitched logos in the leather seats, ventilated front seats, a heated second-row seat, interior wood accents, a 360-degree around-view monitor and aluminum doorsill plates. Options include a rear DVD entertainment system, an electronic-locking tailgate and a rear utility bed step.
To date, the government has only crash tested the Titan Crew Cab, earning it a 4-star overall rating. The Titan Crew Cab earned 4 stars in the front impact and roof strength tests, and 5-stars in the side impact test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tested the Crew Cab and gave it Good marks in all but the small overlap front crash test, which scored a Moderate rating.
All Titan trucks come with six airbags and front knee bolsters. Many of the high-tech safety and driver-assistance technologies found on today’s crop of new cars aren’t available, even as options, on Titan. However, a rearview monitor, front/rear sonar parking assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available or standard on upper trim levels. The 360-degree around-view monitor is available on the PRO-4X and standard on the Platinum Reserve.
Behind the Wheel
One reoccurring gripe about the first generation Titan was its less-than-truck feel. It didn’t look quite as capable as the domestic big trucks on the outside, and that sense remained once behind the wheel. Neither is true with the 2018 Titan. It looks and drives as a full-size truck should. From the growl of its powerful V8 to the impressive off-road prowess of the PRO-4X, Titan leaves no doubt that it can go toe-to-toe with the segment’s big boys. In fact, if anything, it might out-truck a couple of its competitors in the way it handles and rides.
The isolation-booth-quiet cabin is nicely appointed, the materials are top-notch, the Zero Gravity seats were engineered in conjunction with NASA and Nissan arranged all the controls and switches based on frequency of use. The split rear-seat cushions fold up revealing bag hooks to keep plastic grocery bags in place. The rear-seat backs fold down flat to accommodate cargo. There’s nary a nit to pick with Titan’s treatment of its occupants or what they might carry inside the cabin. Behind the Crew Cab, where the real work goes on, the variety of storage and hauling solutions dwarfs anything its competitors offer.
Other Trucks to Consider
2018 Chevrolet Silverado — The mainstay and best-seller of Chevrolet’s lineup, the Silverado is versatile and checks all the full-size truck boxes.
2018 Ram 1500 — Another big truck that does it all and does it well, the 1500 sets itself apart from the pack with its coil-spring rear suspension that delivers an almost boulevard smooth ride. It can also be equipped with a diesel engine.
2018 Ford F-150 — With the only aluminum wrapper in the big-truck segment, the F-150 receives high marks for its variety of engine choices and top towing numbers. Oh, and there’s that freakish Raptor model, too, as well as a 13,200-pound tow rating.
For all-round solid performance and utility, the 2018 Nissan Titan SV grade makes available just about everything most of us need in a truck. Most of whichever core features aren’t standard are offered among the option packages. Though, for anyone who’s going to seriously off-road, the PRO-4X is the way to go.