In my life, I have owned 5 pickup trucks and driven countless others. Invariably I always purchased domestic trucks as they understood my preferences better than the imports and built what I used to refer to as “real” trucks.
There were only two exceptions that I had a soft spot for. The original T100 from Toyota, and the mighty Datsun from the late 70’s early 80’s. The T100 was more of a midsize truck but it handled beautifully and was a great performer. The Datsun/Nissan was just a cool small truck and today the custom scene has figured that out and made some really cool custom trucks.
2018 Nissan Titan PRO-4X
The journey to purchasing another pickup was long on research and then a rapid impulse purchase based on a good price and spur of the moment financing approval.
Redesigned in 2016 the Titan looks the part of today’s modern trucks. Beefy big truck styling with all of the features today’s truck buying public demands.
What really sold me on the truck is the new “tech” features it doesn’t have. No modular displacement system, no auto stop/start, and while it has navigation the infotainment system is very basic and straightforward.
The PRO-4X package adds a ton of features and is a trim level versus just an add-on.
- Bilstein Off-Road Monotube Shocks
- Electronic Locking Rear Differential
- All-Terrain Tires
- Upgraded interior materials, dual captains chairs, and power driver’s seat.
- 60/40 split rear with flip-up bench, with a fold-flat floor and under seat storage.
- Nissan Connect with Nav
- Rear View Monitor
- Advanced Drive-Assist Display
- LED Headlights
- Fog Lights
- Dual Power Heated mirrors with LED turn signals.
- Class IV Hitch
- Spray on Bed Liner (Factory Applied)
- Skid Plate
- Convex Spotter Mirrors
- LED Taillights
Our particular truck features a few additional options above the standard PRO-4X with the Utility Package. Some of these are not what I would call “Utility”.
- Front and Rear Sonar (Think super aggressive parking sensors)
- Utili-Track System and Tie Down Clamps (Love this feature. Moveable tie downs are super convenient)
- Tailgate Illumination and Bed LED Lights
- Power Sliding Rear Window
- Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio System (I finally have a Rockford Fosgate system. Child if the 80’s and 90’s)
- Trailer Brake Controller (If you tow this is awesome.)
- Extendable, folding, power, heated, tow mirrors with puddle lights.
- Rear utility bed step. (Not a fan at first but darned if it doesn’t make getting into the bed easier.)
- Factory splash guards.
Right after my wife and I picked up the truck we had the chance to drive it up to Maine and get significant seat time right out of the gate. What should be a 10-hour trip took 16 hours so we had plenty of time to evaluate the performance, seat comfort, driver and passenger overall comfort and how well you can sleep in it.
The one thing that I really notice compared to my Jeep Wrangler and some of the other trucks I looked at is the steering. The Titan feels heavy when turning. It’s not hard to maneuver, it tracks dead straight, and it doesn’t lag behind or hamper road feel it is just heavy feeling. It’s a lot like turning a rudder against water, it’s not hard but you can feel the weight of what you are moving.
Fuel economy was an unremarkable 21MPG. Certainly not top of the category but right in line with competitive V8 trucks. The 7-speed transmission is spot on, good shift points, and it never felt like it was hunting for a gear in normal driving except at 40MPH. In traffic 40 MPH seemed to be a spot where it wanted a higher gear but it wasn’t happy so it stayed in a lower gear. Outside of that, I never gave the transmission another thought. When it comes to automatics that’s the nicest thing I can say about one.
The seats in this particular truck are upgraded with the PRO-4X package to include different cloth seat material and vinyl trimming. This not only makes them look nice but increases the material durability.
The truck overall is easy to drive, has excellent engine performance, and is super comfortable to drive and sleep in.
Motor Motor Motor
The Nissan 5.6 liter Endurance V8 shares its displacement with the previous-generation V8 the new engine features 390 horsepower (up from 317) and 401 lb-ft of torque (up from 385), along with Nissan’s advanced Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) technology. VVEL combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake and exhaust sides to provide better performance and throttle response.
The new Endurance V8 also features Direct Injection Gas (DIG™) technology, which provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non-direct-injection system) by reducing engine knock, improving combustion stability and offering precise injection control. An 11.2:1 compression ratio is provided by a new piston design, aiding overall engine efficiency and performance (previous Titan: 9.8:1) and a Multi Control Valve (MCV) assists in managing the engine’s thermal efficiency better than a traditional thermostat.
That’s a ton of acronyms and jargon to essentially say they built a better V8 with more fuel economy and more horsepower. It’s also assembled in Tennessee right here in the US, while the truck is assembled in Canton, Mississippi with mostly Japanese and US parts.
It’s not often I am surprised by a feature or run across something genuinely new for me. When we were first driving the Titan the headlights seemed to be awful. They looked like they were pointed straight at the ground, and that’s because they were.
Turns out the lights have a control dial by the drivers left knee on the dash that can tilt the headlights down to compensate for heavy loads and make sure you aren’t illuminating the night sky. When you are not towing they need to be set at zero so you get the full illumination they offer. Once I figured this out, by reading the manual, the headlights worked brilliantly.
The first generation Nissan Titan never appealed to me. The looks were just off and some of the features weren’t my cup of tea. The new Titan brought increased towing, increased efficiency and they build a solid truck that does truck stuff. We will certainly have more to follow and already have plans to add some solid upgrades to the suspension and overall truck appearance.