Nissan creates nifty Texas Titan for booming Texas truck market

By Peter A. Hubbard

(August 14, 2018) AUSTIN, Texas — We don’t know exactly who coined the phrase “Go Big, or Go Home!”  But here in big old Texas, it certainly applies … especially when you’re talking about pickup trucks.  That may be one reason why full-size pickup trucks keep getting bigger, badder — and better, since over one-fifth of all pickups are sold there.

While Nissan is the last automaker to the Big Pickup Party, they know a model designed especially for the Texas truck market was needed.  

So two years ago, they did exactly that, introducing the Texas Titan package for 2017 at the State Fair of Texas auto show.  At the time, Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles for Nissan said, “For native Texans like myself, the Texas Titan is the perfect representation of Texas attitude — big horsepower, big torque, huge capabilities”

The Titan is offered in a variety of configurations, including Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab, plus three bed lengths and five basic trim levels (not including the Texas Titan).

Our Texas Titan special started out as 4WD SL Crew Cab.  The “Texas Titan” package adds a range of custom appearance features including a special chrome grille and exhaust tips, plus 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels shod with P275/60R20 tires, metallic-finish kick plates, Texas Titan floor mats and body badges, plus chromed exhaust tips.

The Texas Titan package is available in a range of two Titan models and four Titan XD Crew Cab models, including both 4WD and 2WD configurations.

The decision to introduce a Texas model came on the heels of the diesel-powered Titan XD model being named the “Truck of Texas” in the fall of 2016 by the Texas Auto Writers Association. The innovative new model helped Nissan successfully make some inroads into the “work truck” and tradesman market largely dominated by the domestic manufacturers.

The Titan looks to lure buyers away from the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado, as well as the aging Toyota Tundra. Based on the Midnight Black package, our Texas Titan Crew Cab came equipped with Nissan’s stout 5.6-liter V-8 gas engine. It’s connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission and can be had in standard rear-wheel drive (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). 

As you move up through the five trim levels (S, SV, SL, Pro-4X, Platinum Reserve) you can get such features as a leather interior, climate-controlled front seats, safety features like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded 7-inch infotainment system with navigation, Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system, sonar-based front and rear parking assist, and the helpful AroundView bird's-eye-camera system.

Off-road enthusiasts should appreciate the fact Nissan’s PRO-4X model includes Bilstein shocks, all-terrain off-road tires, electronic locking rear differential and skidplates. Midnight Editions gain 20-inch black wheels, charcoal interior and various body-color and black-finished trim pieces. Features aimed at fleet and commercial customers include an easy-clean vinyl floor and stain-resistant cloth seats with vinyl bolsters.

Titan Crew Cab SV models add cloth seats (without vinyl bolster), standard floor carpeting, meter display control in the steering wheel, analog Fine Vision Meters, an off-road indicator and off-road menu in the Advanced Drive-Assist Display, SiriusXM satellite radio (subscription required), an overhead console with sunglass holder, grocery hooks on the cushion backside, a customizable maintenance interval reminder, front sun visor with an illuminated vanity mirror with extension, glove box lamp and mood lighting.

For 2018, Nissan added a new Midnight Edition Package available on Crew Cab SV and SL grade 4WD and 2WD models, providing a custom look straight from the factory.

Under the hood of our Texas Titan was Nissan’s 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance V-8.  But you can also order Texas Titan XD models with the 5.0-liter turbo-diesel. While the gas engine delivers plenty of horsepower, it’s also thirsty, with fuel economy rated at just 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway (2WD & 4WD), and 15/20 mpg (PRO-4X). 

Titan 2WD models can tow up to 9,740 pounds, while 4WD versions max out at 9,560 pounds. The numbers on the turbo-diesel are 310 horsepower, and a stump-pulling 555 lb-ft of torque.

Our Texas Titan had Nissan’s shift-on-the-fly 4WD system, plus a 2-speed transfer case with 4-Hi and 4-Lo. The unit also comes equipped with a 4-wheel-brake limited slip differential. The optional $395 towing package on the test truck provided several utility features and safety aids, including an integrated trailer brake controller, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check system. Also assisting trailer hook-ups is the Titan's RearView Monitor with trailer guides.

Our Texas Titan also came with an integrated class IV receiver hitch.
In addition, it featured Nissan’s available Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD) provides a unique "bird's eye" view of the surrounding area from front, rear and side cameras to help with parking and pulling in and out of tight spaces. Texas Titan XD models feature an available integrated gooseneck hitch engineered into the frame and easily accessible in the bed.


Compared to the first generation units, these new Titans feel bigger, bolder and brasher. From the honeycombed grille to the headlight housings and mirrors, everything seems to have been super sized — or maybe Texas-sized. No doubt about it, the Titan is a “substantial rig.”

The half-ton Titan is 228.1 inches long -- still a foot shorter than the Titan XD, which is mounted on a different, more robust chassis. The Crew Cab models feature a standard 5.5-foot bed, while the King Cab and Single Cab variants offer bed lengths of 6.5 and eight feet, respectively.

The Titan half-ton also includes an Active Grille Shutter, which helps reduce drag by closing the grille opening behind the radiator when a larger amount of air is not needed (based on coolant temperature, vehicle speed and air conditioning system pressure). Available exterior features include LED headlights and taillights, signature Daytime Running Lights, puddle lamps, and step rails for easier entry and exit to the cabin and bed area.

Dual lockable in-bed "Titan Box" storage boxes, available as an accessory on Titan Crew Cab Platinum Reserve, nestle neatly unseen at street level and can hold a wide range of essential work and recreational equipment. Unlike other pickup bed storage boxes, the Titan’s units are accessible from inside the bed without having to remove a camper top or tonneau cover. The boxes are watertight (and drainable) and can be used as a cooler for picnics or tailgating. They are also easily removable for times when extra bed capacity is required.

You can also spot the Texas Titan coming from miles away  given the fact it comes decked out with acres of chrome.  The full chrome treatment includes chrome mirror housings, door handles, bumpers and in-your-face grille.

Other Titan bed features we genuinely appreciate include the popular spray-on bedliner, flush-mounted LED bedrail lighting, cargo and tailgate lamps, front tow hooks, a 110-volt in-bed access plug and a damped tailgate that is light to lift and lowers smoothly and without effort.


Interior features include front driver and passenger captain's seats, driver 8-way power seat, driver power lumbar support, leather-wrapped steering wheel with unique contrast stitching, metallic instrument panel finishers, contrast stitching on the center console lid, arm rest and instrument panel, dual zone auto air conditioner plus a digital display in the HVAC control, rear A/C vents.  

You also get a large center console box with soft-touch topped armrest, side pockets and rear cup-holders plus a configurable center console that encompasses a cell phone box, purse holder and removable cup-holders with a chrome ring. The back of the console features an 110V power outlet, with a 12V power outlet located inside the console box. The rear seats, which can be folded flat, also contain tie-down hooks and a storage box with a removable divider and lockable lid.

The new 2018 Titans also include plenty of technology, including Nissan’s "Follow Me Home" function, NissanConnect with Navigation, a 7.0-inch color touch-screen display, SiriusXM Traffic and Sirius Travel LinkTM (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Siri Eyes Free, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), RearView Monitor and rain-sensing wipers.

Our Texas Titan featured an interior distinguished by leather-appointed seats, heated driver and passenger seats, passenger-side 4-way power seat, power tilt and telescopic steering, memory function for both the seat and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel and wood in-mold film instrument panel finishers.  Also standard are Intelligent Around View Monitor (I-AVM), tow mirrors with a dark chrome cap, “Texas Titan” logos inside and out, and pre-wiring for the DVD Family Entertainment System.


Our Texas Titan came with the standard 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance V-8, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. It generates 294 lb-ft or torque @4,000 rpm.  The Texas Titan package is also available on the diesel-powered Titan XD Crew Cab. The Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel, which is rated at 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, features an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission.


The Texas Titan pickup felt powerful and confident filling the freeway lanes from stripe to stripe. It truly did feel — well, TEXAN.  Nissan has done a very good job of insulating their pickup, resulting in a quiet cabin, and a minimum of engine, road and wind noise. 

But punch the accelerator with authority and you can hear a satisfying growl from the nearly 400 horses parked under the hood.

The Titan’s 7-speed automatic does a very good job of maximizing power and fuel economy, and we had no issues with its timing when it came to choosing the right gear for the right situation. 

However, in the areas of handling, maneuverability and steering effort, the Titan falls a bit short of the high industry standards set by the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. And, while the V8 engine is more than up to the task for hauling and towing, in actual everyday work situations we found the 5.6-liter engine didn’t feel as effortless as the twin-turbocharged V-6 in the F-150.


The 2018 Nissan Titan Single Cab 2WD has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $31,000 for the S model, while 4WD models start just over $34,000. The base King Cab starts around $34,000 and adding 4-wheel drive raises the price to around $39,000. The Crew Cab runs from a low of $36,725 to just over $57,350 for the top-line Platinum Reserve edition.

Prices for crew-cab versions of the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 start a bit lower, but also come with V-6 engines as opposed to the standard V-8 in the Titan.

Our Texas Titan 4WD SL Crew Cab came with a starting price of $50,111. 

The appearance upgrades for the Texan Titan options added another $1,295.  Include the towing package noted earlier and freight charges and we wind up with a bottom line of $53,095.  While it’s missing some of the leather and wood, that puts it in the same ballpark as the Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, which totaled out at nearly $55,000  and the Ford F-150 SuperCab King Ranch, which also lists for nearly $53,000, without freight or options.  


We applaud Nissan for placing an entry in the “Texas Truck” category. The company certainly recognizes the importance of the Texas market, and has grown its pickup sales the last couple of years, thanks to the redesign and introduction of the XD models and their 5.0-liter V-8 turbo-diesel in 2015, Nissan significantly expanded the Titan’s appeal the last 3 years.

Sales more than doubled from just 21,880 in calendar 2016 up to 52,925 in the 2017 calendar year. While year-to-date sales are down slightly for Titan from January through July, with YTD sales of 28,255 in 2017, compared with 27,271 this year, the company is still on track to top 50,000 full-size pickup sales once again. 

While those sales numbers put Nissan last in the field, remember that it’s also last to the party. Given the fact Chevrolet is celebrating 100 years of producing pickups for the American market and Nissan has been in the business less than 20 years, they’re clearly making progress.

Like its Japanese rival, Toyota, it lacks a line-up of “blue-collar” heavy duty pickups for the really tough tasks, but at least it can boast (like the Toyota Tundra) that it’s a genuine American truck, built in the USA. 

The Titan uses Nissan's new full-size F-Alpha platform, which it shares with the company’s full-se SUVs, — the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80.  All three are manufactured at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi assembly plant.

Bottom line — The Titan has a lot we like especially the damped tailgate.  Standard on every model, the design keeps the gate from slamming down as it nears the full open position, then assists when raising the tailgate to the close position. The Titan also has an accommodating ride, is loaded with comfort and high-tech safety features, and gets down to work without any complaints. And if you’re looking for a truck with a great warranty the Titan has one.  Nissan offers a hefty 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty as, standard for both individual owners and fleet sales.

While the Titan is not anywhere near toppling the dominance of its domestic rivals like Ford, Chevy, GMC or Ram, Nissan’s half-ton Titan pickups have made a lot of progress since it first hit the streets in December 2003. 

That said it’s not likely to ever match those rivals in categories such as the number of models, amount of features, fuel economy or towing capacity.  But there’s no question, the 2018 Titans offer a number of innovative features, a popular off-road PRO-4X trim and the best full-size pickup truck warranty in the industry.