$14,212 - $20,501

2012 Nissan Titan Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Nissan Titan was new.


Performance: 7.6

Reviewers say two of the Titan's best features are its strong V8 engine and its relatively good on-road performance. However, other trucks offer a smoother ride and better towing and hauling capacity.

  • "Punchy V-8 and a surprisingly deft feel. The Titan is a sporty pickup. Unfortunately, that means it’s a little noisier and a little less refined.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Nissan Titan only offers one engine, a 5.6-liter V8 with 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. Reviewers say it’s strong in most situations, but all that power comes with a penalty when it’s time to head to the gas station. According to the EPA, the Titan has some of the worst fuel economy ratings in its class, getting 13/18 mpg city/highway for two-wheel drive models and 12/17 mpg city/highway for four-wheel drive models. 

A five-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line, but reviewers aren’t fond of it. Multiple reviewers noted delayed downshifts despite its comfortable upshifting and smooth transition between first and second gears while applying engine braking.

  • "A smooth, powerful V8 puts Titan among quickest large trucks off the line. Passing punch is ample. The transmission upshifts smoothly, but sometimes suffers from delayed downshifts.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "We found the Titan's V8 engine felt strong at all speeds, with loads of power on demand." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Titan's tractable 5.6-liter V8 delivers plenty of muscle right from idle. It sounds great too, but that booming exhaust note can grow tiresome on long drives." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The Nissan Titan is available either in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case. Shoppers looking for truly brawny off-road performance will get an electronic locking rear differential and upgraded shocks standard on PRO-4X models.

Reviewers are generally pleased with the Nissan Titan's handling, saying it drives pretty nicely for a truck. But some of its competitors have improved so much recently that reviewers are now calling their rides “car-like”. That means that even though the Titan has a smooth ride for its size and weight, it’s not quite up to par with some rivals.

  • "Good handling (for a pickup truck).” -- Car and Driver
  • "Relatively nimble handling.” -- Cars.com
  • "Titan rides firmly with marked chop over broken surfaces and rail tracks. The suspension does a good job of quelling secondary motions. The off-road-oriented PRO-4X rides little differently than other versions.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The … Nissan Titan's precise steering is nicely weighted, which makes the truck relatively nimble and easy to drive on pavement. However, the rather stiff suspension (especially on Pro-4X models) can make the Titan feel skittish in off-road situations." -- Edmunds
  • "There is some vibration telegraphed through the steering wheel, and there is a noticeable exhaust note upon application of the throttle. Still, the Titan delivers a smooth, controlled ride and exhibits better-than-average steering and handling response.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Towing and Hauling

The Nissan Titan has one of the smallest towing capacities in the class. Properly equipped, the Nissan Titan can tow up to 9,500 pounds and haul a payload of 2,153 pounds. These capacities are pretty disappointing when compared with the 11,300 pounds of towing and 3,120 pounds of hauling that can be done by the less-expensive Ford F-150. 

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