Nissan continues to expand its offerings in the full-size pickup class since 2016’s introduction of the redesigned Titan, which now comes in two sizes – the larger XD, which came first, and the regular half-ton model, which was introduced for model year 2017.
The Titan XD was rolled out originally with just a diesel engine available, then the half-ton model arrived with a 5.6-liter V-8. Now there are three available cab styles and bed lengths, and more choices of packages and options that can dress up the Titan.
That includes the Midnight Edition package ($1,250) that came on our test vehicle, the 2018 Titan SL four-wheel drive Crew Cab (base price $50,360, plus $1,295 freight).
Our tester came with two heated leather captain’s chairs up front, and a leather rear bench seat with 60/40 split flip-up bench seat with under-seat storage and a fold-flat floor.
The Midnight package gave the Titan Crew Cab a menacing look, with its solid black exterior; body-color bumpers, step rails and grille (with dark insert); dark headlights; black fog light trim/outside mirrors/door handles; special 20-inch, 14-spoke black alloy wheels; black interior trim; and a Midnight Edition exterior badge.
Other extras included the Titan Box ($895), rear bumper step ($290), Midnight Edition floormats ($205), and electronic tailgate lock ($290).
Under the hood is the Nissan 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 gasoline engine, rated at 390 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque. It gave our Titan SL more-then-ample power for all the paces we put it through.
The V-8 engine is connected to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Our Titan SL had the shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case offering high- and low-range gearing for serious off-road driving.
This truck is shorter and on a different chassis from the Titan XD. It has a wheelbase about a foot shorter than that of the XD, and the body is 14.7 inches shorter overall, at 228.1 inches, with the short bed that is standard on the Crew Cab. Also available in the Titan are single cab and King Cab versions.
Titan Crew Cab prices for 2018 begin at $35,680 for the base S rear-drive model, and range as high as $56,300 for the Platinum four-wheel-drive version.
In between are the SV, which starts at $38,820 with rear drive, and the SL, $47,280 with rear drive. Platinum rear-drive models begin at $53,210.
Four-wheel-drive S models start at $38,710; SV at $41,850; and SL at $50,390 (our tester).
Also offered is the special off-road oriented Pro-4X Crew Cab model, available only with four-wheel drive, starting at $45,920.
Single-cab Titan models, with front seat only, range from $30,030-$36,390, available only in S and SV trims, either with rear- or four-wheel drive.
King Cab models, with a slightly smaller cabin than the Crew Cab, range from $32,000 for the base S with rear drive to $43,740 for the Pro-4X four-wheel drive. The SV rear-drive starts at $36,380. With four-wheel drive, the S begins at $36,030, and the SV is $39,410.
With these new Titans, Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to offer two different sizes of big pickups – one is the standard half-ton, like our tester, and the other – the XD -- approaches the size of U.S. domestic heavy-duty pickups.
In addition, Nissan also offers the larger XD Crew Cab model with the same V-8 Endurance engine. The XD lineup originally came only with the diesel.
Diesel models come with a Cummins 5.0-liter turbocharged V-8 engine, cranking out 310 horsepower and 555 foot-pounds of torque.
Until the redesign for 2016, the Titan had been essentially the same since it was launched for 2004. The XD has the capabilities of some bigger heavy-duty pickups, including towing of up to 12,000 pounds and a payload of 2,000 pounds, while maintaining a half-ton pickup's cab size.
Nissan rolled out the original Titan as the main product of its new plant in Canton, Miss., which has always been the exclusive production site for the Titan.
The Titan features available cutting-edge features and convenience aids – including RearView Monitor with Trailer Guides, Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, and a Trailer Light Check system that allows a one-person hook-up operation. Also available is a blind-spot warning system, as well as front and rear sonar.
Designers and engineers also focused on aerodynamics, which is crucial to improving fuel economy. Wind resistance was reduced by about 10 percent from the previous Titan half-ton model. The new aerodynamic design includes roof and tailgate spoilers.
Optional features include LED headlights and taillights, signature daytime running lights, and step rails for the cabin and the cargo bed. The bed includes the industry-first Utili-track Bed Channel System, including dual lockable in-bed storage boxes that are accessible from inside the bed without having to remove a camper top or tonneau cover.
The boxes are watertight easily drained, so they can be used as coolers for picnics and tailgating. The can be removed, if more space is needed in the bed.
Included on our SL four-wheel-drive tester were a spray-on bed liner, flush-mounted LED bedrail lights, cargo and tailgate lights, a 120-volt in-bed power outlet, and a damped tailgate that is easy to lift, and which drops smoothly and softly.
Inside, there are features including an ergonomic four-spoke steering wheel; front and rear NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats; chrome finishers and premium stitched trim; and work-scaled knobs with ergonomic grips.
The half-ton Crew Cab can accommodate five or six passengers, depending on the front-seat setup. A three-person bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs, such as our test vehicle had, are available for the front; the rear seat is a three-person bench.
A large center console can serve as a mobile workstation, and the center shift lever has been moved to the steering column to free up storage space in the center console.
The Cummins engines are built in Indiana, while the 5.6-liter gasoline engine comes from Nissan’s U.S. engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee.
Besides the heaters, our SL’s captain’s chairs came with eight-way power adjustment and power lumbar adjust for the driver, along with four-way power adjust for the passenger. Both seats are quite comfortable, even on long road trips.
Rear-seat leg-, head- and knee-room were quite ample for all three passenger positions. The split-fold-up feature allows for carrying cargo inside when necessary.
Other SL features include power tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel; memory for the driver’s seat, mirrors and steering column; a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with seven-inch color display and 12 speakers; NissanConnect with Navigation and mobile apps/services; front and rear sonar parking aids; dual automatic climate control; auto-dimming inside mirror with Homelink; an advanced Drive Assist driver-information five-inch display in the center of the instrument panel; multiple power outlets and a USB port; remote entry with pushbutton start; Bluetooth hands-free phone system; and cruise control.
Among included high-tech safety features of our Titan were four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic stability control; vehicle-immobilizing security system; and blind-spot warning, with rear cross-traffic alert.
Our truck came with a full-size spare tire. Other standard amenities included automatic LED headlights, power/folding outside mirrors with LED turn signals, a power/sliding rear window; front tow hooks; and running boards.
The impressive shift-four-wheel-drive system also included a four-wheel active-brake limited-slip system. We did some off-road driving, although nothing rugged. The Titan did well in four-wheel-drive situations, although we would want better off-road tires for any serious trail driving.
This version of the Titan has the capability of towing trailers weighing up to 9,400 pounds with two-wheel drive, or 9,230 pounds with four-wheel drive, like our tester. We never loaded our truck with cargo or tried pulling a trailer, however.
But the seven-speed transmission shifted smoothly even on our off-road jaunts on some steep hills.
Fuel-economy ratings are the same for the two- and four-wheel-drive 5.6-liter models – 15 mpg city/21 highway/18 combined, except for the Pro-4X model, which is 17 mpg combined. We averaged about 16.8 mpg during our weeklong test, with a mixture of city, country and highway driving.
Total sticker price for our 2018 Titan Crew Cab SL four-wheel-drive with the Midnight Edition package and other options was $54,775, including freight and options.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab 5.6-liter half-ton pickup
The package: Full-size, five- or six-passenger, four-door, rear- or four-wheel-drive, V-8 gasoline-powered, body-on-frame pickup truck.
Highlights: New for 2017, this is the 1500 version of the redesigned Titan pickup with a gasoline V-8 engine and a crew cab configuration, the smaller version of the two full-size trucks in the Titan lineup (the other is the XD).
Negatives: Can get pricey with all the extras.
Engine: 5.6-liter gasoline V-8.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 390 HP./394 foot-pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 228.1 inches (228.5 inches for Pro-4X only).
Curb weight range: 5,508-5,684 pounds.
Maximum payload: 1,600 pounds (2WD); 1,620 pounds (4WD).
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted side curtain.
Towing capacity: 9,400 pounds (2WD); 9,230 pounds (4WD).
EPA fuel economy: 15 mpg city/21 highway/18 combined (2WD or 4WD); 15/21/17 (Pro-4X only).
Fuel capacity/type: 26 gallons/regular unleaded.
Base price range: $35,680-$56,300, plus $1,295 freight.
Price as tested: $54,775, including freight and options (SL 4WD model with front captain’s chairs and Midnight Edition package).
Major competitors: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, Ram 1500.
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.