Reinventing the Titan

A recast full-size Titan pickup is positioned to become a bona fide player in an otherwise domestic brand-dominated market

By Jim Gorzelany
CTW Features

In a prolonged new-vehicle reveal that spanned more than a year, Nissan finally took the final wraps off its full line of redesigned Titan full-size pickup trucks at this year’s Chicago and New York auto shows. That’s after introducing the burly diesel powered XD versions back in January 2015.

The previous Titan was big and ungainly, and was more or less left to drift without major revisions for well over a decade as the forgotten entry among full-size pickups. Nissan is redoubling its efforts with the new Titan to establish a credible foothold in a market segment that’s traditionally dominated by the domestic brands. The automaker sold only around 12,000 Titans last year, which amounts to less than six days’ worth of sales for the class-leading Ford F-150 (at 780,354 units delivered during 2015).

Fortunately for Nissan, demand for big trucks is skyrocketing these days due to a winning combination of shifting consumer tastes and affordable gas prices. Pickup truck sales rose by 10.6 percent during the first quarter of 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, which means the automaker could be poised to pick up newcomers to the segment if nothing else.

Like the current generation Toyota Tundra before it, the new Titan takes direct aim at the domestics. It comes wrapped in an imposing exterior treatment that exudes strength and power, with a bold chrome grille and tasteful, yet muscular styling that would seem to make the truck fit in, rather than stand out, in a crowded Home Depot parking lot.

Available in gasoline and diesel-powered heavy-duty XD versions in single, extended King Cab and four-door Crew Cab body styles, with long and short cargo beds, a choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive and five trim levels, there should be enough vehicular choices to suit most truck buyers.

A modern 5.6-liter V8 direct-injected engine comes standard and channels 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque to the pavement via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile the longer wheelbase Titan XD versions offer a choice of that engine or a new Cummins 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8 (mated to a six-speed automatic) that’s rated at an estimated 310 horsepower with a stump-pulling 555 pound-feet of torque. This engine enables the Titan XD to boast a maximum towing capacity of 12,314 pounds when properly equipped, which is more than enough to pull a large boat or heavy trailer.

Inside the Titan’s nicely designed cabin, front occupants are treated to Nissan’s “zero gravity” seats (otherwise found in the Nissan Altima and Maxima sedans) that were designed in conjunction with NASA to afford comfort and support matched only by the costliest luxury cars. A large center console is designed to double as a mobile workstation. Borrowing a page from the Ram 1500’s playbook, the new Titan offers dual in-bed storage compartments that are lockable, drainable and removable, and can be used for either tool storage or as rolling beverage coolers.

A bevy of available high-tech features includes a 360-degree backup monitor that affords a “bird’s eye” view of the surrounding area and warns of pedestrians and other obstructions in the vehicle’s path to make parking and pulling in and out of tight spaces easier and safer. Available towing-friendly features include an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control, Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check system that enables one-person connection.

Of the Titan’s five available trim levels, the PRO-4X models are configured to suit off-road racers and outdoor adventurers, though its all-terrain tires and stiffer suspension translates into a rougher ride over paved roads. Meanwhile the top Platinum Reserve versions will compete with the domestic brands’ costliest models in the burgeoning luxury truck sub-segment, with 20-inch chrome wheels, an opulent leather-clad interior and sticker prices that reach well into the $60,000 range.

© CTW Features

Exit mobile version