The 2018 Nissan Titan competes against the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra in one of the most hotly contested and profitable segments in the market. Sales are won and lost over stats like horsepower, torque and tow ratings. While the Titan was never a sales leader, the first-generation model had a decent but fading following over its 11-year run.
The current model debuted back in 2016 alongside the new not-quite-HD Nissan Titan XD. Our truck — a 4x4 S-trim King Cab — is about as base as they come. There are two options: $120 all-season floor mats and a rear-seat delete. The later subtracts $500 from the base price. There's not even a bed liner, a rarity for any truck these days. Still, it gives us a rather nice baseline for comparison and shows just how much something like the Pro-4X trim adds.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Titan is a solid truck in an ultra-competitive segment. I enjoyed driving it, and it's certainly a capable vehicle. I wouldn't recommend it ahead of any of the Detroit Three truck brands, and it's a tossup with the Toyota Tundra for who's in fifth place among full-sizers.
Taken in a vacuum, the Titan has some strong merits, like the potent 5.6-liter V8 that works ably with the seven-speed automatic. This is a basic trim and intended to be used as a work truck, which I like. It offers a distilled version of the Titan and its ethos, and I could definitely drive this thing every day. But even with the context that this is a simple version of the Titan, the interior and exterior feel dated and pedestrian. It kind of reminds me of the look of the Ford F-150 from a couple of generations ago. If you were to layer on the chrome, leather and electronics of a higher trim, my opinion still doesn't change. The Titan is solid, but there are better choices for truck buyers.
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I wasn't expecting much from the design of this stripped down version of the Titan. I didn't get much, either. Well, I got a lot of cupholders. But the tiny little infotainment display was clunky, and required interaction through voice commands just to pair my phone. Other than that, I didn't mind the spartan interior. It would have seemed perfectly fine, had I not recently driven a Ram 1500 Tradesman that made intelligent, ergonomic use of storage space in its otherwise bare interior.
I used the Titan to move a disassembled crib. I was nervous about putting anything into the bed without a bed liner, but I drove the truck home gingerly and managed to avoid any scratches, even though I picked up a couple of random sticks falling from overhead branches at some point along my journey.
Driving the Titan was still pretty fun, though. It's got a solid V8 and plenty of power. I loved generating wheelspin with ease when exiting a corner. This truck has a lot of get-up-and-go, which has got to be useful in actual workhorse duties. Just as easy as it is to drive fast, it's easy to drive smoothly, which is important whether you're hauling sandbags, grandmas or a trailer full of tools.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I quite enjoyed my time in our Nissan Titan, but I'm not sure it would be the truck I would recommend if someone asked. There are aspects I quite like. For one thing, I love that you can get a traditional extended cab with rear half-doors, something I rarely see on full-size trucks anymore. I also love the V8, which is immensely smooth and provides good power and sound. And the steering is very tight and responsive, almost car-like, which is surprising in this class.
But a few issues keep me from putting it at the top of my list. Although one of those issues actually contributed to my personal enjoyment. That personally enjoyable issue is the ride quality. While most pickup trucks nowadays have serene, composed rides, the Titan still feels like an old-school truck. Big bumps result in a bit of slow-motion bounding after the initial shock. Small, abrupt bumps cause noticeable juddering and shimmies through the cab. These are feelings that most people would probably dislike, but I actually enjoyed them since it made the thing feel like a rough and tumble pickup and it wasn't trying to hide that. That's objectively, and for most people subjectively, bad, but I, weirdly, had fun with it.
The other part that really bothered me was the infotainment. It was particularly bad in this work-truck-spec Titan. The screen was tiny and low-resolution, and the controls weren't easy to use. Pairing my phone via Bluetooth was awful, too, since I had to use the voice controls to do it. Definitely opt for the nicer infotainment system if you're getting one of these trucks.
All-in-all, I liked being behind the wheel of this slightly uncivilized pickup. But for the same reasons, it would be hard for me to recommend it to the average buyer.