Full 2013 Nissan Titan Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Nissan Titan gets a few minor updates including a rearview camera (select models) and standard step rails on SV and SL models. Several trim levels also get a 120-volt household-style power outlet in the front console. A sunroof, navigation system and rear-seat video system are now available on SL and Pro-4X models. Finally, the Pro-4X also gets a restyled look inside and out.
While most car buyers don't feel an overly strong devotion to one car brand, pickup owners are a completely different story. You're a Ford guy or a Chevy girl or a Dodge man who feels weird describing himself now as a Ram man. That deep-seated brand loyalty is tough to crack, but it's a mission the 2013 Nissan Titan continues to pursue.
It doesn't get any easier when you consider the fact that the Titan hasn't had a thorough redesign since its 2004 introduction. Despite these significant hurdles, the Titan still has things to offer. With its burly 5.6-liter V8, solid construction, impressive 9,500-pound towing capacity and roomy interior, this Nissan truck can work equally well for personal use and work truck buyers.
Even though Nissan has tried sprucing things up around the edges this year with a number of new standard features and options, the Titan's main disadvantage remains its dated design. Simply put, some of the latest pickups out of Detroit have significantly raised the bar with more powerful and fuel-efficient engines, innovative features and upscale extras.
With that in mind, be sure to compare the 2013 Nissan Titan with the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500, both of which benefit from impressive recent redesigns. Like the Titan, the Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra are in need of some updating but still have their advantages, most notably in the engine compartment. Ultimately, even if you end up choosing one of these models over the Titan, the process of broadening your perspective to consider all your alternatives can only be a good thing.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Nissan Titan is offered in a limited number of configurations. The extended-cab model is known in Nissan-speak as the King Cab and comes with a standard 6-foot-6-inch cargo bed. Crew Cab models offer a choice of a short 5-foot-7-inch or a long 7-foot-3-inch cargo bed. Both body styles are available with either two- or four-wheel drive. Nissan also offers four trim levels -- S, SV, Pro-4X and SL -- though not all are available in both body styles.
The entry-level S model (not offered in Crew Cab/long bed configuration) comes standard with 18-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a 60/40-split rear bench seat, power windows and door locks (Crew Cab only) and a CD stereo with six speakers (eight in crew cab models). Springing for the Popular Equipment option package here adds 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rear privacy glass and a sliding rear window (King Cab only), keyless entry (Crew Cab only), a receiver hitch and a seven-pin wiring harness connector.
Stepping up to the SV gets you much of the Popular Equipment items (minus the hitch and connector), chrome bumpers, power outside mirrors, side step rails, tailgate assist, upgraded cloth upholstery and door trim, power mirrors, an auxiliary audio jack and an in-dash six-CD changer.
The available SV Value Truck package adds foglights, rear parking sensors, the hitch and connector, front bucket seats, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a household-style 120-volt power outlet in the center console, an enhanced radio head unit, satellite radio and a USB/iPod audio interface. The SV Utility option package includes a spray-in bedliner, lockable bedside compartment, adjustable tie-down cleats, tailgate area lighting and a bed-mounted 120-volt AC power outlet. The SV Premium Utility package includes all that plus a lower axle ratio, heavy-duty battery, front tow hooks, heated extendable towing mirrors, power-adjustable pedals and a Rockford Fosgate sound system with satellite radio and two additional speakers.
The top-of-the-line SL model adds to the SV equipment 20-inch alloy wheels (chrome finish optional), mud guards, automatic headlights, and heated power-folding outside mirrors with built-in turn signals and driver-side auto-dimming. Inside it adds dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, an eight-way power driver seat and four-way power passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory settings, Bluetooth, a touchscreen navigation system and a premium Rockford Fosgate audio system with satellite radio and eight speakers (10 in crew cab models). The SL Max Utility package adds the lower axle ratio, a heavy-duty battery, front tow hooks and extendable towing mirrors. A rear entertainment system is an option.
The off-road-oriented Pro-4X trim level is offered on all four-wheel-drive Titans except Crew Cab long beds and has standard features similar to SV models with the SV Value option package. It adds Rancho shocks, all-terrain tires, heavy-duty skid plates and an electronic locking rear differential, and front bucket seats with unique two-tone upholstery.
The available Pro-4X Premium Utility package bundles many of the same extras as the SV version. The Pro-4X Luxury package bundles leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, driver memory settings and a navigation system. Crew Cab Pro-4X models can also be had with a sunroof and the rear entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Nissan Titan is available with just one engine, a 5.6-liter V8 rated at 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of peak torque. It's connected to a standard five-speed automatic transmission that includes a tow/haul mode. Properly equipped, the Titan extended cab can tow up to 9,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-wheel-drive Titan is 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined, with four-wheel-drive models coming in at 12/17/14.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Nissan Titan include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
The Titan earned the highest possible rating of "Good" 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
Unlike some of its recently gussied-up competitors, the interior of the 2013 Nissan Titan is more functional than fancy. Gauges are large and easily readable and the controls are well-placed and intuitive. A number of thoughtful details enhance the space's utility, including storage bins, 12-volt DC/120-volt AC power outlets and an available front passenger seat that folds flat to make a handy work surface. One downside of this no-frills design approach is that most of the cabin's surfaces are covered in cheap-feeling hard plastics.
Seating comfort is good both front and back. Rear doors on extended King Cab models open 180 degrees for easy access, and the rear seat bottoms fold up to create a flat load floor for valuable items you'd rather not leave in the bed. Speaking of that bed, available options including a spray-on bedliner, adjustable tie-down points, tailgate-area lighting and power outlets and a clever outside storage compartment behind the left rear wheel add to its utility.
Driving the 2013 Nissan Titan is a satisfying experience thanks to the robust V8, nicely weighted steering and strong brakes. The trade-off for all this muscle is disappointing fuel economy, even by big pickup standards.
The rack-and-pinion steering makes the Titan feel relatively nimble for its size. Ride quality is generally decent with the exception of the off-road-oriented Pro-4X model. Its firmer suspension makes the ride a little too harsh for most folks' tastes. Visibility is good, and this year's widespread availability of a rearview camera eliminates one chronic blind spot.