The 2021 Nissan Titan full-size pickup truck doesn’t offer much in the way of engine options and cab style configurations. But it doesn’t really have to. Instead, the Titan and Titan XD are aimed at buyers who drive their truck to the office during the week and use it for play on the weekends.
However, the Titan won’t shirk work when it’s being asked. The ideal towing configuration of the regular Titan, a King Cab 4×2, can pull up to 9,370 pounds. The 2021 Titan XD can haul up to 11,000 pounds. And Nissan supplies a class-leading 5-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Competition has never been tougher, with contenders from Ford, Ram, General Motors and Toyota. But the Titan’s standard V8 engine generates 400 horsepower, making it more powerful than its entry-level rivals. And standard safety features are plentiful.
What’s New for 2021?
Following a comprehensive update last year, there are no changes to the Nissan Titan for 2021. See the 2021 Nissan Titan models for sale
What We Like
- Potent V8 engine
- Class-leading 5-year/100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty
- Locking rear differential in Pro-4X trim
- Standard active safety technology
- Clever foot-activated swing-out step under rear bumper corner
What We Don’t
- Limited configurations
- Towing and hauling lag behind competitors
- No diesel option for XD model
- Interior still feels a little dated
Whether it’s the regular 2021 Titan or the slightly heavier-duty Titan XD, the only engine is a 5.6-liter V8 developing 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Premium gasoline is required to achieve this output, but the engine will run fine on 87-octane gas.
This engine is linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard in some versions, with all-wheel drive (AWD) available as an option. The Pro-4X and XD models have all-wheel drive as standard.
Fuel economy estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are 15 miles per gallon in the city, 21 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving, regardless on the number of driven wheels. The exception being the Pro-4X, which returns 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined.
The EPA doesn’t provide fuel economy figures for the Titan XD, which is classified as a Class 2B truck, but we can assume they fall one or two miles-per-gallon short of the regular Titan.
Standard Features and Options
The 2021 Nissan Titan comes as a King Cab with two rear-hinged rear doors (think extended cab) or Crew Cab with four conventional doors. King Cab models have a 6.5-foot bed; crew cabs have a 5.5-foot bed. The Titan XD is only available as a crew cab and with all-wheel drive. Trim levels are S, SV, Pro-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve.
Where it’s optional, the cost of all-wheel drive varies between the versions, but it’s just over $3,000.
The entry level S (King Cab: $38,145, Crew Cab: $40,875, XD: $46,625) comes with 18-in painted steel wheels, removable/lockable/damped tailgate, remote keyless entry, front 40/20/40-split bench seat, air conditioning, vinyl floor covering, cloth/vinyl upholstery, six cup holders, eight bottle holders, power windows/locks, manual sliding rear window, cruise control, two 12-volt outlets, six airbags, Rear Door Alert, 8-in infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB port, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, hands-free text messaging, and a 4-speaker audio system.
Also included is the Nissan Safety Shield 360 driver assistance features, consisting of automatic emergency braking front and rear, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and automatic high beams.
An optional convenience package includes an overhead console, receiver hitch with a wiring harness, and a spray-in bed liner.
SV (King Cab: $41,985, Crew Cab: $43,325, XD: $50,515) adds 18-in alloy wheels, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, LED taillights, full cloth upholstery, carpeting, trailer sway control, upgraded gauges, NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, satellite radio, and adaptive cruise control. SV versions with all-wheel drive also have front tow hooks.
This trim is also eligible for a spray-in bed liner, front bucket seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, navigation, power-sliding rear window, dual-zone climate control, 110-volt outlet in the cargo bed, rain-sensing wipers, navigation and a high-resolution 9-inch touchscreen.
Pro-4X (King Cab: $49,665, Crew Cab: $52,515, XD: $55,485) is the off-road specialist machine with all-wheel drive, all-terrain tires, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, locking rear differential, underbody skid plates, hill descent control, LED headlights/daytime running lights, lower radiator and transfer case skid plates, leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable driver’s seat, rear A/C vents, and a tow package.
Also available in the Pro-4X are heated front seats, panoramic moonroof, 12-speaker Fender premium audio system, power-adjustable front passenger seat, remote engine start, and a 360-degree camera system.
SL (Crew Cab: $56,125, XD: $60,085) doesn’t go down the Pro-4X’s off-road route, but adds comfort and convenience items like a power-adjustable front passenger seat, power-adjustable steering column, heated front seats, self-dimming/reverse-tilt side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, footwell lighting, cargo bed lighting, 110-volt cargo bed outlet, running boards, 360-degree camera system, front/rear parking sensors, high-resolution 9-inch touchscreen, navigation, and the Fender audio system.
Options include the aforementioned panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, trailer brake controller, trailer light function check, and extendable outboard mirrors for towing.
Platinum Reserve (Crew Cab: $57,635, XD: $63,285) is the most luxurious Titan and adds stitched logos in the leather seats, plus a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, wood interior accents, trailer brake controller, trailer light function check, and 20-in alloy wheels.
The exterior has a two-tone finish, satin chrome grille surround and illuminated chrome running boards for a more premium appearance.
Options for Platinum Reserve trim include a rear bed step, panoramic moonroof and a lockable toolbox.
The standard-issue Nissan Safety Shield 360 array includes forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, rear automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Also available are adaptive cruise control, driver attention monitoring, road sign recognition, and a 360-degree camera system.
In crash testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the current Titan Crew Cab an overall score of four stars out of a possible five. Front crash protection was rated at four stars for the driver’s side, three for the passenger’s. Side impact protection took five stars in each challenge, and the rollover test resulted in three stars.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) only has an incomplete set of crash test scores for the current Titan Crew Cab, but the mechanically identical 2019 version earned top scores of Good in all the major categories.
Behind the Wheel
The Titan can be used for everything from work to play to tooling around town on a Saturday afternoon running errands. It delivers respectable ride and handling talents for a full-size truck.
It won’t be mistaken for a luxury-car cabin, but the Titan’s interior has a charming design and high-quality materials. Nissan says its “zero gravity” front seats were developed in conjunction with NASA. For obvious reasons, it’s hard to say whether they offer an experience similar to floating through outer space, but they sure are comfortable.
Beyond that, the Titan offers handy features like bag hooks underneath the rear seat cushions, folding rear seat backs, clever in-bed storage, a step that folds down from the rear corner of the bed for easy access, and a tire pressure monitoring system that beeps the horn when the desired air pressure has been reached — which is great for re-inflating after an off-roading session.
The Titan’s standard V8 never lacks for muscle and even sounds good. And the 9-speed automatic transmission can easily find the right gear for the conditions, especially when trailering.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Toyota Tundra — The Tundra is the Titan’s main competitor. Forgoing things like a regular cab configuration, massive towing figures and non-gasoline V8 engine options, both of these trucks appeal to a narrower portion of the greater truck segment than the offerings of the American Big Three. That said, either should come with good reliability and a sporty aesthetic, especially in their respective off-road trims.
2021 Ford F-150 — This current generation is beginning to show its age, but the F-150 still earns high marks for a variety of engine choices and class-leading maximum towing capacities. There’s also the high-performance F-150 Raptor, for which there is no competition.
2021 Ram 1500 — The Ram 1500 currently holds the full-size pickup crown with regard to interior refinement. The 1500 also sets itself apart with its coil-spring rear suspension that delivers an almost boulevard-smooth ride. Like the F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, the Ram has a diesel engine option.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado — The mainstay and best-seller of Chevrolet’s portfolio, the Silverado is versatile and does everything a full-size truck should. Engine choices include a turbocharged 4-cylinder, a V6, two V8s, and a diesel. The Silverado is still behind the times regarding cabin refinement, but certainly remains a viable option if the deal is sweet.
Used Nissan Titan XD — Part of what distinguished the Titan XD in previous model years was the availability of an optional 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8. Nissan has discontinued this option, which means searching the used market for a diesel-powered Titan.
Questions You May Ask
What’s the difference between the 2021 Nissan Titan and the 2020 Titan?
Nothing, but the 2020 Titan received a major mid-cycle refresh. This brought an improved powertrain, a more modern interior, exterior styling tweaks and extra standard safety technology.
What safety equipment is standard in the 2021 Nissan Titan?
Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 encompasses automatic emergency braking, automatic reverse braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning. The 2021 Titan also benefits from 10 standard airbags.
What optional safety equipment is offered in the 2021 Nissan Titan?
Active cruise control is the most significant. It’s standard in the SV and above. A 360-degree camera system (known as the Around View Monitor on planet Nissan) is standard in the Titan SL and Platinum Reserve.
What is the 2021 Nissan Titan XD?
It’s a larger, heavier-duty Titan, but not at the same level as, say, a Ford F-250. It comes solely as a Crew Cab model with all-wheel drive and received the same improvements in 2020 as the regular Titan. Some components are stronger because of the higher towing and hauling capabilities.
Where is the Nissan Titan made?
At Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi, the same factory that makes the big NV van and the Frontier pickup.
The Titan’s trim levels speak for themselves, but we’d start our search with the SV or Pro-4X trims as they offer good value while emphasizing the Titan’s strong points, especially the off-road-ready Pro-4X.
Need to consistently tow near or in excess of the regular Titan’s 9,400-pound towing capacity? The Titan XD occupies a distinct place in the pickup universe, but worth considering if towing and/or payload demands are regularly high. Compare it with more capable versions of the F-150, Ram 1500 and Silverado. Find a Nissan Titan for sale