Shedding Some Light: Nissan aims Titan at weekend warriors

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For 2018, Nissan offers a full range of rugged TITAN half-ton pickups, including Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab body configurations, 4x2 and 4x4 drive, and a choice of up to five grade levels.

The Nissan Titan is a mystery pickup. I say that because when people ask me about full-size trucks, I ask “what have you tested/researched?” The trucks mentioned are F-150/Silverado/Ram and occasionally the Tundra. Nissan’s Titan never comes up. Why? Well advertising is virtually non-existent. Titan doesn’t offer any segment topping features – lone exception being warranty. Nissan offers a standout 5-year/100,000-mile warranty that bests segment honchos.

For 2018, Titan is available in standard half-ton configuration, or the near heavy-duty XD version. There are only three cabs, two engine choices, and five trim levels, but there are plenty of add-ons available. My tester was an XD, Pro-4X, 4×4 Cummins V-8 Turbo Diesel model.

The XD is a big, big full-size pickup. Titan XD and Titan are different trucks (not just trim models) as they only share rear fenders, headlights, and some cab sizes – all other body parts are unique to XD. Step-in height is not grandma-friendly due to 4×4 suspension and 18-inch tires. Titan XD measures over 19-feet long and weighs 5,811 pounds.

Beneath the slack-jawed nose, my tester had a 5.0-liter V8 Cummins Turbo Diesel and a 6-speed automatic. Of the two engine offerings available (5.6-L V8 gas std.), the Cummings engine offers better towing (12,310 pounds) and stronger torque (555 lb-ft) than the base 5.6-L engine. However, XD costs a premium and this engine is not as stout as other diesels in the segment.

After you step up into the big crew cab, you won’t get a luxurious feeling. The dash is utilitarian and basic in style and execution. Nissan did try hard as my tester came with plenty of options including wood trim (XD), leather-appointed, heated, power Captain’s chairs (rears seats heated too), heated/tilt steering wheel, great-sounding Rockford Fosgate audio system, standard (XD) Nissan Command infotainment with voice recognition, navigation and smallish 7-inch touchscreen.

There were multiple power outlets (optional 120v outlet in bed), and standard 60/40 rear flip up bench seat with under seat storage. Overall, I found the accommodations comfortable and quiet with lower wind noise and exterior sound intrusion than other trucks I’ve recently tested.

All Titans feature a boxed frame with gussets to strengthen and hydraulic mounts to isolate the cabin from vibrations. I was impressed by how well these additions worked on the road to isolate the interior from “frame rattle” and noise. The XD has additional chassis adjustments to beef up load-hauling (payload up to 2,600 lbs.) and towing. The ride is good, approaching the Ram pickups, as Titian’s double wishbone/leaf suspension does a good job.

On the pavement, you really feel like the Captain of the S.S. Titan. You won’t be able to execute quick maneuvers, fit in parking spots near store entrances and for on-street city parking “forgettaboutit.” Acceleration is strong as the engine pulls hard up to 2,000 rpm and then spreads the power out adequately in taller gears.

My tester came with the Pro-4X off-road package that adds tow hooks, skid plates, a power-sliding rear window, dual-zone climate control, power plugs, blind-spot monitors, bed power outlet, under rail bed lighting, premium audio, power locking tailgate, bed tie-down cleats, extra bed lights, and (non-Pro-4X package) removable Titan box in-bed storage bins.

Titan XD looks like a heavy-duty truck, but it doesn’t quite have the capability. On the flip, if you don’t need heavy-duty capability regularly, like a smooth ride, want diesel torque and a great warranty – then Titan may become a brighter choice.

This auto review was researched and written bySteinPro Content Servicesand provided to the Sun-Times for publication

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