What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Nissan Titan receives some minor options package changes and renamed trim levels. The Titan SV replaces the SE model, while the previous LE model is renamed SL. Beyond that, the Titan continues essentially unchanged.
Not so long ago, Americans doubted whether a Japanese automaker could deliver a serious full-size pickup truck. But with its debut of the full-size Titan, Nissan bet that a truck with a big engine, big cab and big towing capacity would win over skeptical half-ton-truck buyers. The Titan proved Nissan right, as it garnered positive sales and acclaim; we even ranked it first in a comparison test upon its debut.
But now representing the truck's eighth model year with no major changes, the 2011 Nissan Titan has fallen behind the competition. The Detroit Three and Toyota have all introduced redesigned trucks in the past few years that outpace the Titan in power, capability, features and comfort. These trucks also offer more choices in terms of body styles and powertrains.
Thanks to its slow evolutionary march, the Titan remains a good truck. It'll do just about anything you ask of it, as witnessed by its respectable 9,500-pound maximum towing capacity, spacious cabin and versatile cargo options. But considering that other competing trucks are better in just about every regard, we'd recommend going with the Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra before settling on the Titan.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck available in King (extended) Cab and crew cab configurations. For 2011, the King Cab offers only a 6-foot-6-inch cargo bed, while the crew cab features either a 5-foot, 7-inch or 7-foot, 3-inch bed.
The Titan is available in four trim levels: S, SV, Pro-4X and SL. The Titan King Cab S comes standard with 18-inch steel wheels, a lockable tailgate, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a 60/40-split rear bench seat, air-conditioning and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. The Titan Crew Cab S adds power windows and locks. Selecting the optional Popular Equipment package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sliding rear window, keyless entry (crew cab only), a receiver hitch and a seven-pin wiring harness connector.
The Titan SV adds the content of the S Popular Equipment package plus chrome steel bumpers, full power accessories, cruise control, an auxiliary audio jack and an in-dash six-CD changer with MP3 capability.
The SV Value Truck package adds foglamps, rear parking sensors, a class IV hitch, front bucket seats, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass display and Bluetooth. The SV Utility package includes a lockable bedside compartment, adjustable tie-down cleats, tailgate area lighting, a 12-volt power source and a spray-in bedliner. The SV Premium Utility package includes all that plus power-adjustable pedals, power-extending/heated side mirrors, front tow hooks and an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system with satellite radio.
The Titan SL includes all of the above and adds 20-inch alloy wheels (in optional chrome finish), dual-zone automatic climate control, driver memory functions, leather seating, a four-way power passenger seat, 12-volt power source in the tailgate area, wood trim and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The SL Max Utility package adds step rails to a feature set similar to the SV Premium Utility package.
The Pro-4X, available only in four-wheel drive, is equipped similarly to an SV with the Value Truck and Utility package. It adds Rancho dampers, heavy-duty skid plates, a shorter final-drive ratio, all-terrain tires and a push-button rear locking differential. The Pro-4X's Premium Utility package is similar to the SV's, while the Leather package adds leather upholstery, four-way power passenger seat and driver memory functions.
Available only on the Pro-4X and SL crew cabs is the Technology package, which includes a sunroof, navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system. On all trims except the S, an iPod adapter is optional.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Nissan Titan is available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, with only one powertrain combination: a 5.6-liter V8 joined to a five-speed automatic transmission. The V8 is rated at 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. Properly equipped, the Titan extended cab is rated to pull up to 9,500 pounds while the crew cab is rated at just 100 pounds less. The transmission features a tow-haul mode for handling heavy loads.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Titan 4X4 is 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. The 2WD Titan rates 1 mpg better across the board.
Standard on all Titans are antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
The 2011 Nissan Titan has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to 2011 ratings) was a perfect five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for passenger protection. The Titan earned a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing; however, it scored only a Marginal rating (second worst of four) in that agency's side-impact test.
Interior Design and Special Features
Both King Cab and Crew Cab Titans feature a spacious and functional interior design, with easy-to-use controls and numerous storage bins. Materials quality is only average, however, with hard plastics covering most surfaces. The rear seats fold up to provide a large load floor for hauling items inside the cab, and the rear doors on king cab models open nearly 180 degrees for easier access. With standard and optional features like a durable spray-on bedliner, movable tie-down cleats, handy tailgate illumination and a driver-side lockbox, the Titan can be quite the hard-working truck.
The 2011 Nissan Titan's precise steering is nicely weighted, which makes the truck relatively nimble and easy to drive on pavement. However, the rather stiff suspension (especially on Pro-4X models) can make the Titan feel skittish in off-road situations. The Titan's tractable 5.6-liter V8 delivers plenty of muscle right from idle. It sounds great too, but that booming exhaust note can grow tiresome on long drives.