Despite much of its lineup receiving significant (and much needed) makeovers recently, Nissan boasts a vehicle that is perhaps the “longest in the tooth”, as it is still basically in its first iteration in the form of the Titan fullsize pickup.
The Nissan Titan first appeared at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, and later that fall as the first full half-ton pickup for the automaker. It arrived with very simple choices for the consumer in the fact it offered only one engine and one transmission on a chassis featuring king or crew cab compartments and two- or four-wheel drive.
Since then, little has changed: Still only one engine – the 317hp/385 lb. ft. torque 5.6-liter V-8 – and a now-dated five-speed automatic gearbox. In fact the only real upgrade to the body is a new aerodynamic tailgate design for this model year.
Nissan has got to upgrade the Titan/Armada fullsize frame-on lineup before it leaves the competition completely. Perhaps the hiring of former Ram (Dodge) truck boss Fred Diaz will have an impact. Perhaps he can do here what he did for the Ram 1500 lineup.
This is the fourth Titan I have tested over the lifespan of the model, and little has changed since my first impressions to present day. Titan is still a rugged truck with very good on- and off-road characteristics. It is rough and tumble while offering the latest creature comforts for its occupants.
Nissan was the leader in the center console shifter adaptation and features one of the best sound systems in a truck to date, thanks to its long-running partnership with RockfordFosgate. And what’s not to like with all Nissan trucks being built in a truck plant in Mississippi?
Our most recent test model arrived in 4×4 PRO-4X configuration with the Luxury package. Base pricing at this level is $39,240 with our loaded model arriving at $44,515. With powertrain options, limited fuel economy continues to suffer in the form of 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway, an aspect that may have them falling even further behind the pack of sales leaders.
The Utili-trak cargo system and spray-in bedliner are key attributes and the tailgate features dampening assist in its hinge so it will not slam down on you with its full weight when opened, and it feels lightweight when closing.
Ten years on a first-gen platform is unheard of in the automotive industry, but Nissan is apparently content with “status quo” in its Titan pickup line.