I recently drove a 2018 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve, which sounds like the kind of credit card rewards program where you sign up and they give you a free pen. However, this vehicle was not on the “free pen” side of the market. Instead, the sticker price of the Titan I drove was $65,000.
Yes, that’s right: You can equip a Nissan Titan to $65,000. This is an enormous amount of money for a pickup, but it’s also an enormous amount of pickup: The Titan I drove was 228.5 inches long, which is exactly three feet longer than a Camry. The Titan can tow something like 12,000 pounds. It can haul up to 2,900 pounds. It’s monstrously massive.
To be clear, one of the reasons its capabilities are so impressive is that the Titan I drove was equipped with a diesel engine. This is a giant Cummins diesel V8 with 310 horsepower and a massive 555 lb-ft of torque, and it makes the Titan one of the only light-duty full-size trucks with a diesel. Then again, Nissan doesn’t consider it a light-duty: they call it an “every-duty” truck, slotting somewhere between light-duty and heavy-duty. With the diesel engine, that seems reasonably accurate; the towing figure isn’t stronger than the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, but the payload capacity is — by a lot.
So the Titan is a capable truck — but why’s it so expensive? Well, in the Nissan world, “Platinum Reserve” is the top-end trim level, and it’s designed to rival the Ford F-150 Limited or King Ranch, or the GMC Sierra Denali. We live in an age of luxury trucks, and Nissan wasn’t about to let that market pass it by. Nissan displays its “Platinum Reserve” credentials wherever possible, including on a massive chrome strip on the tailgate that can function as a mirror for drivers behind you.
Unfortunately, the Platinum Reserve is a bit of a letdown in the luxury department. The interior is nice, but certainly not on par with any luxury vehicle — and a step down from even the top luxury pickups. There’s a lot of hard plastic, and there’s an unusual mix of luxury and function, where Nissan didn’t want to change a part from the base model, so they just “luxified” it — take, for example, the plastic column shifter, which is leather-wrapped in one tiny 2-inch portion. Or the floor mats, which are half-rubber-heavy-duty, and half-carpeted-nice-looking.
There’s also the screen. The Titan Platinum Reserve is loaded with equipment, including a nice 360-degree camera system — but you won’t really be able to use it to the fullest, because the infotainment screen is just so small. It’s about the size of a cell phone screen, and it reduces the 360-degree camera to the size of a large human thumb — a disappointment, considering the cost (and market position) of the truck. It’s also disappointing since the Platinum Reserve is a fairly new model, and it’s about to face tough competition from even newer Chevy and Ram trucks.
On the road, the Titan is everything you’d expect — big, burly, lumbering, with a commanding view of the road. The diesel engine isn’t good for big speed, but it does feel highly capable, like it can haul just about anything — because, in large part, it can. Interestingly, I found the ride quality a bit harsher than I was expecting, given the truck’s price tag. This may be a reality of trucks, but it’s certainly not a reality of $65,000 vehicles, and it’s hard for me to let the ride quality go when I know I could get an ultra-smooth Audi Q7 for the same price.
And, in fact, that’s a bit of a theme of the Titan Platinum Reserve — it just seems too expensive. Sure, it’s capable, but its towing capacity is largely matched by the F-150 EcoBoost. Sure, it’s nice inside, but the Sierra Denali is nicer. The Platinum Reserve has a lot of room, but no more than other trucks, and it has a lot of equipment, but no more than other trucks. Aside from that big diesel engine up front, I don’t see a compelling reason to buy the Titan over most of its rivals — and even the diesel is neutralized by increasingly capable powertrains in other trucks.
Or, at least, I should say I don’t see a compelling reason to pay full price. But with the right discounts and incentives, the Titan could start to look seriously appealing — and you get the bonus of that nice big mirror on the back so you can check out how you look every time you walk by. Find a Nissan Titan for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.