2018 Nissan Titan Review & Compare at Larry H. Miller Nissan Corona in Corona, CA

The underdog Nissan Titan truck is ready to sink its teeth into the competition

The Titan has never really been known as an industry giant--in a world where the full-size segment is dominated by models like the Ford F-Series, the Chevy Silverado, and the Ram 1500, how could a hobby-truck like the Titan hope to go head-to-head and come out on top? While every sector of the auto industry has its struggles and its fierce rivalries, none are quite as aggressive as the full-size, light-duty pickup truck class. Its long been the norm for this segment to battle it out, year over year, in the gladiatorial amphitheater to prove dominance. And, while Ford has kept its claws dug solidly into the top spot, the pack hierarchy has been changing with trucks like the Titan, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra wrestling to make it to the top. But that was then... this is now. And now, the homely Titan has undergone quite the transformation to shake off its awkward-duckling days and take on an impressive new form to better challenge the established leaders among full-size trucks. And, since Nissan could be fairly well-assured of not taking the "best-in-class" crown for towing, torque, or trump cards played, it moved in a different--and very smart--direction.

That's why the Titan, in all of its underdog glory, may be inching forward to become the new American standard for light-duty pickup truck performance.

An updated design made smart style choices

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery--and the Titan is definitely flattering Ford. If you look too quickly at the new Nissan Titan, you might mistake it for another very popular LD pickup truck. But if a recipe works, there's nothing wrong with sampling a slightly different flavor, and the sleek new style of the Titan is the seasoning that Nissan needed for their capable, feature-packed new truck.

New LED lights are big and bold, and frame an attractive grille that makes a pretty loud statement. The Titan has adopted a more conventional truck design language for the newest generation, but it doesn't give up a few token Nissan classics--like a clean, shapely roofline and prominent arches. The exterior of the new Titan can be colored in Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Cayenne Red, Glacier White, Java Metallic, Deep Blue Pearl, Pearl White, Forged Copper, or SolarFlare Yellow, and a variety of package enhancements, like PRO-4X, allow for a bit of added customization to its new look.

Get acquainted with the Titan XD

If you're the type of shopper who's constantly frustrated by a lack of options in-between conventional light-duty trucks and pricier, heavier heavy-duty trucks, you're probably going to be pleased with the new Titan XD that joins the regular Titan lineup. While it is a standalone model in Nissan's overall lineup, the specs and muscle of the Titan XD are regularly listed alongside conventional specs and tow ratings of the lighter-duty truck. But, we can just call it the "Titan Series Lineup" and fall into good company with "the F Series" and "the Silverado"--a little trick of the truck industry.You won't be able to tell the Titan and Titan XD apart easily, as they offer very similar/identical visual characteristics on the outside. Deep underneath, though, the Titan XD is built on a different chassis, and offers a stunning new powertrain: the hefty diesel engine that drivers have been asking for in a Titan for years. This boosted capability lets the Titan XD earn the (Nissan-invented) title of "Every-Duty Truck". It can tow and haul more weight than the conventional Titan, or many of the other contenders in the LD full-size segment, but isn't quite as expensive, as heavy, or as over-the-top as other heavy-duty trucks. If the best of both worlds is possible--it might be the Titan XD.

Engines and powertrain

Titan doesn't offer as many engine options as some of its competitors, but for a smart daily driver, the standard gas engine is practical and pretty strong. The new Titan XD alone is offered with an available diesel powertrain. These two power options aren't ranked as top dogs, but for what you get in the Titan, the smooth ride and impressive efficiency of Nissan's engine is well worth it. Options and specs:

  • 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance V8 gas engine (Titan & Titan XD)• Cummins 5.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel engine (Titan XD only)
  • Max towing: 9,740 pounds (Titan) - 12,640 pounds (Titan XD diesel)
  • Max payload: 1,950 pounds (Titan) - 2,910 pounds (Titan XD)

Configurations and trim levels

There are few modern-day truck options that don't offer dozens--or even hundreds--of possible configurations when it comes to trim/cab/bed/powertrain. The new Titan gives you choice of this healthy selection of starters: Titan S Single Cab, Titan S King Cab, Titan SV Single Cab, Titan S Crew Cab, Titan SV King Cab, Titan SV Crew Cab, Titan PRO-4X King Cab, Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab, Titan SL Crew Cab, or the Titan Platinum Reserve Crew Cab.

What does all of that mean? Here's a quick rundown of some of the differences between cab styles and bed lengths:

  • Single Cab: 2 door, 1 bench seat
  • King Cab: 2 front doors, 2 half-size rear suicide doors, front bucket seats, bench rear seat
  • Crew Cab: 2 front doors, 2 full-size rear doors, front bucket seats, bench rear seat• Short Bed: ~5.5 feet long
  • Standard Bed: ~6.5 feet long
  • Long Bed: ~8 feet long

Cargo equipment and smart new gear

Cool diesel power and a nice face aren't all that the Titan has to offer, though--remember that new direction Nissan moved in, to get away from the typical bare-knuckle boxing match that was the struggle for maximum torque? That direction is stuffed to the brim with great new features, smarter cargo options, a comfortable and premium cabin, and all of the little details that Nissan loves to offer in its cars. The Titan offers Nissan's Utili-track Channel System, LED bed lights, and a multi-directional folding rear bench seats that provides three handy configurations to make travel easier when you're moving with cargo. It can even be removed entirely on the King Cab to make for a huge, flat loading floor complete with installed tie-down hooks.


From start to finish, the Nissan Titan is a nicely-balanced, everyday-efficient, capable, and attractive option for someone who's looking for a good light-duty (or "every-duty" truck). You'd be sorely mistaken to discount the Titan, even in the face of long-standing champions. America loves trucks. And it's going to love the Titan and Titan XD.

Compare the Nissan Titan vs the Competition