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2011 Nissan Titan 4x4 Pickup Truck Review

My Heart Will Go On for This Titanic Truck

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

2011 Nissan Titan 4x4 Truck

2011 Nissan Titan Pickup Truck

Photo © Jason Fogelson
The pickup truck wars are not over. In fact, the best pickups ever built are rolling off assembly lines right now, and each manufacturer can lay claim to some "industry best" category. For my money, the Nissan Titan is right in the mix, with a powerful engine, comfortable ride and assertive styling. The 2011 Nissan Titan Crew Cab 4x4 SV arrives with a base price of $33,870 ($38,425 as tested) with a 3-year/36,000 mile basic warranty, a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and EPA fuel economy estimates of 12 city/17 highway. Let's drive.

First Glance at the Titan Truck - I see you, I feel you…

If you're the kind of driver who needs a rugged, no-nonsense work truck, Titan might not be for you. If you're a more casual pickup driver -- perhaps you haul an ATV or tow a light trailer on occasion, or you just like the always-at-the-ready nature of a daily driver pickup, Titan represents a very solid choice.

First of all, Titan is very good looking. Without going over the top with semi-truck looks, Nissan has sculpted a very handsome, sleek pickup. There's plenty of chrome on the nose, with a chunky grille surrounding a bold Nissan logo. Of the current crop of pickups, the Titan is the most understated and tasteful.

My test vehicle was a Crew Cab with a short wheel base (139.8"). A long wheel base version (159.5") is also available. The short wheel base is paired with a short bed (67.3"), and my test vehicle got the optional ($345) Utility Accessory Package, which included a sliding bed extender, and the optional ($1,910) SV Premium Utility Package factory with a sprayed-on bedliner, Utili-Track tie down system and a lockable bedside storage compartment, among other useful extras. I'm not a big fan of the short bed arrangement -- I'd probably choose a long wheel base Titan with its 79.1" long bed, and I'd learn to live with its wider turning circle (50.9' LWB vs. 45.4' SWB). A bed that's over six and a half feet long is much more useful for actual hauling, and looks much better behind the big Crew Cab.

Titan arrives with standard 18" wheels on all corners, chromed aluminum jobs on my SV test vehicle. Nice.

In the Titan Driver’s Seat - Once more you open the door…

2011 Nissan Titan Truck

2011 Nissan Titan Truck Dash

Photo © Jason Fogelson
Behind the wheel is where the Titan really shines. Once you climb up into the cabin (quite a climb, given the 4x4's 10.6" ground clearance and 22.5" step-in height), you would be forgiven if you thought that you were in an SUV and not a pickup truck. The SV Value Truck Package ($1,350) came with many SUV-like amenities, including cloth-covered Captain's chairs in the front with a lockable center console, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth, an 8-way power driver's seat, rear passenger air vents and many other features. Like GM, Nissan opts for a steering wheel that adjusts for tilt but does not telescope, paired with power-adjustable foot controls. I was able to find a comfortable driving position immediately, but some drivers might not find the fit to their liking. The dash is broad, but well-arrayed, with a simple instrument panel and center stack.

Passenger accommodations shine in the Titan, especially in the second row. The outboard seats are especially comfortable and roomy, with plenty of head and leg room for adults. The only whimper I heard was from a passenger who rode in the center seat, and complained that it was a little thinly padded. In the best of circumstances (without whiny passengers, that is), the second row seats fold up, maximizing cargo space within the cabin. There's some useful concealed storage space beneath the seat, too, big enough to hide a laptop computer and some tools.

On the Road in the Titan Truck - Near, far, wherever you are…

If I needed to drive a pickup truck every day, I'd be happy to drive the Titan. When my passengers weren't complaining, they were complimenting the quiet, smooth ride that the Titan delivers. Once again, very SUV-like. I was quite pleased with Titan's handling and road manners, and I really appreciated the commanding view of the road that I got from its lofty perch.

Titan's got just one engine available, but it's a good one: a 5.6 liter V8 that delivers 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with either rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. The 4WD gets a 4WD High or Low feature, making it a very capable off-roader, especially in short wheel base configuration. Suspension in front is double-wishbone with a stabilizer bar, and out back you get a solid Dana axle with leaf springs. Combined with the fully-boxed ladder type body-on-frame construction, Titan is quite robust, even with its handsome looks. Curb weight for the SV 4x4 Crew Cab with short wheel base is a svelte 5,334 lbs, and GVWR is 7,200 lbs, with a calculated payload of 1,866 lbs (Nissan claims 1,900 lbs., but that doesn't compute, does it?). Titan can tow up to 9,300 lbs with a tongue weight of up to 940 lbs, more than sufficient for that small camping trailer or toy hauler.

Journey’s End - My heart will go on and on…

2011 Nissan Titan 4x4 Truck

2011 Nissan Titan Pickup Truck

Photo © Jason Fogelson
I'm quite fickle about pickups. I'm more Stephen Stills than Celine Dion -- I love the one I'm with. The Nissan Titan charmed me with its roomy, quiet cabin and SUV-like ride. I wasn't self-conscious driving it, as it didn't scream "poser" like some more aggressively-styled trucks can (I'm talking to you, Dodge Ram!). Titan's smooth, powerful drivetrain and off-road capabilities, especially with 4x4 and a short wheel base, make it a practical, do-it-all vehicle for folks who don't necessarily need a work truck, but want to put their everyday vehicle through its paces on the weekend, without sacrificing on comfort on the weekdays.

As I hinted earlier, we're living during the Golden Age of Pickup Trucks, so the Nissan Titan is hardly your only choice when you're shopping for a new ride. The Ford F-150 is still the market leader, and for good reason. The GMC Sierra/Chevy Silverado platform is solid, and also delivers a very good ride. I've long been a fan of the Toyota Tundra, and the Dodge Ram is great for extroverts. Don't forget about the very useful Honda Ridgeline, which leans even closer to the SUV part of the equation while still offering some good pickup utility.

But, if you're a light-duty pickup user and you drive your truck every day, you could be very happy with the Nissan Titan.

Disclosure: The Nissan Titan truck reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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