$21,575 - $40,488

2018 Nissan Titan Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Nissan Titan works well as both a work truck and a daily driver. Its standard V8 engine delivers potent acceleration and plenty of high-end power. The Titan doesn't have the highest towing capacity in the class, but the heavier-duty Titan XD is in the same ballpark as many competitors when it comes to towing and hauling capacities. The XD also offers a turbodiesel powertrain that produces gobs of torque.

Despite being a large truck, the Titan drives like a smaller vehicle. It provides a smooth ride and feels stable when taking turns. The brakes are sturdy, and the sharp steering gives the Titan a surprising degree of maneuverability. The Titan also acquits itself well in off-road situations, particularly the Pro-4X trim.

  • "What I discovered is that no matter how similar the half-ton Titan and Titan XD look, the fraternal twins are distinctly different to drive. You notice it right away, from the half-ton Titan's delightful steering feel as a result of carrying less weight over the front tires to the gasoline V8 engine's smoothness at idle and when revving. The 5.6-liter V8 never lacks for power, and delivers a savory aural aftertaste in the way it sounds when revving to redline." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "'Truckie' used to be a pejorative adjective that described what it was like to live with a pickup, feeling every bump, wrestling it down some roads. Not anymore. Mind you, this is still a truck, but steering effort, response, and such are at a level that you can actually enjoy the Titan on a curving road. Again, it's not a sports car, but it's not a struggle, either." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • Maybe the biggest complement we can pay the new Titan half-ton is that it feels competitive. Nissan's previous Titan always drove and felt a bit on the light-duty side of things, despite its brawny looks; that impression -- accurate or not -- has been exorcised." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Titan features a 5.6-liter V8 engine that puts out 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine never feels short on power, and acceleration is good despite the truck’s size. The transmission shifts smoothly and doesn’t hesitate to downshift.

The Titan XD is available with a turbocharged 5.0-liter V8 diesel engine that puts out 310 horsepower and a whopping 555 pound-feet of torque. The turbodiesel is the powertrain that unlocks the Titan XD’s full towing potential.

This truck gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, which are slightly worse estimates than many V8-powered rivals receive. Fuel economy estimates for the Titan XD with the turbodiesel aren’t available yet.

  • "Titan fares well on the road. The V8 provides strong acceleration, and the transmission kicks down quickly when the throttle is pressed." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "The 5.6-liter V8 never lacks for power, and delivers a savory aural aftertaste in the way it sounds when revving to redline." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "The best traits about the V8 Titan half-ton are its powerful and quiet ride. That first characteristic didn't come as much of a surprise, given the 390-horsepower/394 lb-ft torque ratings from the 5.6-liter V8. We found this engine to effortlessly move the Titan XD. In the half-ton version of this truck, which rides on a completely different chassis that is both lighter and shorter, this is even more the case. Traveling over all manner of roads and highways near Monterey in Northern California, the new Titan always seemed to have power to spare. Matched by a new, 7-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain proved smooth, capable, and even sounded good." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the Titan, and four-wheel drive is available. Even when the pavement gets rough, you’ll have no reason to complain about this truck’s smooth ride. It also handles well and feels smaller than it really is. The sharp steering helps maneuverability in tight quarters.

  • "Steering never felt labored, and the vehicle felt stable even as I (often unintentionally) took turns at high speeds." -- Forbes (2017)
  • "Steering is far more direct than the heavy-duty system in the Titan xD we tested a few months ago, and makes this large pickup easy to place on the road and maneuver in parking lots." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "What impressed us the most, however, were the 2017 Nissan Titan's road manners. The steering is good (not just good for a truck--good period) and the ride is excellent, but the real key to the Titan's confidence-inspiring nature is that it doesn't feel like it's as big as it is." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Off-Roading

Full-size trucks are expected to laugh in the face of off-road terrain, or at least hold their own when the pavement ends. The Titan doesn’t disappoint. While every trim offers four-wheel drive, the best off-roader in the lineup is the Pro-4X trim, which features skid plates, a locking rear differential, and hill descent control. With those tools at its disposal, the Pro-4X can handle just about any terrain you dare to tackle.

  • "Finally, note that if you go off-roading with any frequency, consider the Titan Pro-4X model, which comes with knobbier all-terrain tires, skid plates, off-road shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, and a hill descent control system. The stance is also slightly wider and taller, and this version of the Titan features steeper approach and departure angles. Briefly, I tested this truck's capabilities in the dirt and came away impressed." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "We didn't do any towing or hauling clinics, but we did still get to take the 2017 Titan off-road. Nissan's engineers set up a course that allowed the Titan to show off its chassis articulation, its approach and departure angles, and its hill descent control. As is often the case in any scenario where the course has been hand-crafted by the engineers, the 2017 Titan performed flawlessly. We still love the front-wheel camera feature when wheeling. It's one of the Around View system's coolest ‘hey, neat’ touches. If you've never done low-speed off-roading, this may not seem like a huge deal to you, but having eyes in that corner of the truck eliminates a monumental chunk of guesswork, especially in a beast as big as this one." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Titan has a maximum towing capacity of 9,740 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,950 pounds. Those estimates trail those of most class rivals, including the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. The capacities of the larger Titan XD hold up better against the competition. It will tow up to 12,760 pounds and haul up to 2,910 pounds.

The Titan’s engine never feels strained, even when pulling a heavy load, and the sturdy brakes give you confidence when you need to slow down. You can also add features like Trailer Sway Control and Trailer Brake Controller that make your life easier when pulling a trailer.

  • "… the Titan's potent powertrain makes towing a breeze." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The company wasn't kidding about the Titan's tweener capability, as it felt totally comfortable towing our trailer or hauling a payload. The payload wasn't even obvious when driving around, and engine performance barely degraded even when towing our loaded-up 24-foot car hauler. The massive front and rear disc brakes were up to the task of keeping the Titan under control. We must admit, though, that we barely scratched the surface of the Titan's skills." -- Truck Trend (Titan XD, 2016)
  • "But we can say for sure that the Titan XD can pull a 9,000-pound trailer up a six-percent grade with confidence, because we hooked exactly that much weight to the hitch of the XD to test it for ourselves." -- Autoblog (Titan XD, 2016)

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