2018 Nissan Titan

2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Review

The 2018 Nissan Titan comes up short in a few areas, but in general it's a likable full-size truck.
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

There are few metrics by which the 2018 Nissan Titan beats its rivals outright. Several full-size pickup trucks can tow more, haul more and have more modern interiors. Overall, though, the 2018 Titan is still appealing.

It might not have gargantuan towing capabilities, but the 2018 Nissan Titan is thoroughly qualified to pull most trailers. It doesn't have an ultra-luxurious or modern vibe, but it does have several tech and safety features worth noting. What's more, the Titan is comfortable, versatile and competitively priced. The Titan wouldn't likely be our first choice in the full-size truck segment, but it's still worth considering, especially if you're a buyer looking for a well-rounded package.



What's new for 2018

This year, a Nissan Titan King Cab, with a long bed and an extended cab, has been added to the lineup along with some new appearance packages.

We recommend

For most buyers, we recommend the midlevel Titan SV with the Convenience package. Compared to similarly equipped rivals, it's reasonably priced, and on top of the standard S and SV equipment, the Convenience package adds parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, the larger 7-inch touchscreen, the NissanConnect system with navigation, and heated front seats. And if you need them, several other options are available on the SV including a Tow package, a spray-in bedliner and cosmetic upgrades.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck available in five trims: S, SV, SL, Platinum Reserve and the off-road-oriented Pro-4X. As is the case with most full-size trucks, there are multiple cab configurations and a wide array of options. The S is essentially a basic work truck. The SV and SL bring more in the way of convenience and tech features (power mirrors, an upgraded stereo), while the Platinum Reserve adds mostly luxury equipment (leather upholstery and chrome accents). The Pro-4X offers some unique off-road equipment and a more rugged appearance.

Depending on your needs, you can get a Titan as a crew cab with a short (5-foot-7-inch) bed, a single cab with a long (8-foot) bed, or an extended cab with a standard (6-foot-6.7-inch) bed. The single cab can seat two or three, while the King Cab and the crew cab can seat five or six, depending on the trim level.

The Titan S work truck is available with any of the three cab configurations and comes standard with a 5.6-liter V8 engine (390 horsepower, 394 pound-feet of torque) paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. It includes 18-inch steel wheels, an active grille shutter, cab-mounted LED bed lights, a lockable damped tailgate, remote locking and unlocking, manual exterior mirrors, push-button ignition, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, a vinyl floor, power windows and locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split folding front bench seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a 5-inch color display, Bluetooth, NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, an auxiliary input and a USB port.

Step up to the SV, and you'll also get alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim (bumpers, door handles and grille), front tow hooks (4x4 only), power-adjustable heated mirrors, a carpeted floor, cloth and vinyl upholstery, a driver information display, satellite radio and Nissan's Trailer Sway Control, which helps keep a trailer tracking straight when buffeted by crosswinds or while driving on poor-quality roads.

On top of the SV's equipment, the off-road-focused Pro-4X (4WD only) gets dark-finish wheels with all-terrain tires, off-road-tuned Bilstein shocks, a lockable rear differential, hill descent control, a receiver hitch, and a seven-pin wiring harness connector, skid plates, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, a spray-in bedliner, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, front bucket seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), unique cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen, voice controls (with Siri Eyes Free), a navigation system, a rear air vent, a 120-volt household-style power outlet and floor mats.

Next is the SL (available only in crew cab), which takes the Pro-4X's upgrades (minus the all-terrain tires and off-road mechanical upgrades) and adds 20-inch wheels, power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps, running boards, a power-sliding rear window, LED cargo box lighting, and a Utili-Track bed rail system with four movable tie-down cleats. It also has remote engine start, front and rear parking sensors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a Rockford Fosgate 12-speaker audio system, a 120-volt outlet inside the bed, and NissanConnect Services, a subscription-based emergency telematics features suite.

The range-topping Platinum Reserve builds upon the SL's features, adding unique wheels, dark chrome exterior trim, a 360-degree parking camera, upgraded leather upholstery, chrome and wood interior accents, a heated steering wheel with wood inserts, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.

Several option packages are available, many of which bring the luxury and utility features from higher trims to the lower trims. Other notable packages include the SL Tow package (tow mirrors, a trailer brake controller, and front tow hooks for rear-wheel-drive models), the SV and SL's Chrome package (20-inch chrome wheels, chrome exhaust tips and a chrome grille) and the Platinum Utility package (in-bed Titan Box storage bins, a remote locking tailgate and a bed utility step). The Platinum Reserve can also be ordered with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and an Off-Road package with the Pro-4X's 18-inch alloys, all-terrain tires and Bilstein shocks. The Midnight Edition package is available on SV and SL crew-cab models, and it adds black body accents, unique interior trim and black 20-inch wheels.

The SL and Platinum Reserve come with NissanConnect Services, including automatic crash notification, stolen-vehicle recovery assistance and roadside assistance. It's added to the Pro-4X when you buy the Convenience package.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve Crew Cab (5.6L V8 | 7-speed automatic | 4WD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Nissan Titan has received some revisions, such as the addition of a King Cab (extended-cab) configuration, but our findings remain applicable to this year's Titan.

Driving

The Titan proves that big trucks don't have to drive that way. The accurate steering, strong motor and confident, powerful brakes make the Titan one of the better-driving trucks in its class. While we wouldn't call it carlike, its manners might be the Nissan's strongest selling point.

Acceleration

The all-new, direct-injected 5.6L V8 delivers strong acceleration. It's also free-revving and has good throttle response. This is the only engine offered in the Titan, but its horsepower and torque ratings are well-situated among the competition, most of which offer multiple engine options.

Braking

While the pedal might feel a little soft initially, the brakes are friendly, never grabby, and they have generous stopping power. Test numbers revealed good consistency through the course of multiple heavy braking runs with most stops within a foot of each other.

Steering

Confidence and accuracy aren't traits usually associated with full-size truck steering, but the Titan's goes a long way to make driving a large truck as enjoyable as possible. The power assist isn't overly light and manages to transmit road surface conditions and grip levels to the driver.

Handling

The Titan's sheer size will make back-road driving difficult enough, but thanks to good body control and accurate steering, it's not a nerve-racking proposition. As expected, the tires prefer gentle curves and interstates where their relatively low grip limits aren't tested.

Drivability

As snappy and engaging as this new V8 is, the transmission and a very tall third gear tend to get in the way of good around-town drivability. The transmission can be very reluctant to downshift, but manual override is available. Tow mode helps greatly with engine braking on long downhill grades.

Off-road

With the twist of a rotary switch, both 4WD High and Low ranges can be selected from the driver's seat. Capabilities are limited by the all-season tires and the test vehicle's standard step bars. Should you want for more off-road prowess, Nissan offers the Pro-4X trim level.

Comfort

The Titan could be excused for being noisy and having a rough ride. But it is, in fact, just the opposite. The cabin is quiet, and the ride is one of the best in class. Covering a lot of ground in the Titan certainly won't take much of a toll on its occupants.

Seat comfort

You certainly can't call the front seats uncomfortable, but they don't have much in the way of lateral support for your upper or lower body. The rear seats seem a bit too basic, lacking any real comfort and leg support even though there's plenty of space to make them better.

Ride comfort

The Titan's a full-size truck with four-wheel drive, so there's no getting away from a firm ride. But Nissan has done a good job balancing capability with comfort. Most bumps and road irregularities are absorbed, and the body control is very good.

Noise & vibration

The cabin is quiet and well-isolated. The cab feels solid without rattles or squeaks, but the passenger seat did shake quite a bit over rough roads. Some wind noise is noticeable around the windshield, windshield pillars and rearview mirrors, but it's similar to noise levels in other large trucks.

Climate control

Dual climate control works as expected, and airflow is fairly good. The buttons and temperature knobs, however, seem needlessly small for such a vast cabin. The display can also be a bit difficult to see in direct sunlight, and it doesn't match the other displays in the Titan in appearance.

Interior

Most full-size trucks carry their tougher-than-nails persona into the cabin, but Nissan has opted for a much friendlier, almost crossoverlike interior. Combine that friendly look with a smaller steering wheel and good ergonomics, and the Titan is a truck anyone will want to drive.

Ease of use

Its friendly and spacious cabin is closer in appearance to a crossover's than truck's, but it looks a bit dated. For all the space, many buttons and knobs can prove difficult to use because they're simply too small. The instrumentation, however, is attractive and easy to read at a quick glance.

Getting in/getting out

Thanks to the standard side steps, generous door openings and windshield-pillar grab handles, getting into the front seats of the Titan is relatively easy for people of all heights. The wide-opening rear doors mean the back seats are also easily accessible.

Driving position

The low dashboard, relatively small steering wheel and high seating position give you the impression of sitting in a crossover rather than a full-size truck. The power seat and tilt-and-telescoping wheel help you to find a comfortable position quickly, but power-adjustable pedals are not an option.

Roominess

Befitting a full-size truck, front passengers have ample leg-, headroom and shoulder room. A pair of rear passengers will enjoy similar amounts of space, but the addition of a third person in the middle seat would make it a tighter squeeze on a longer road trip.

Visibility

Forward visibility is OK, but navigating bends takes a bit of faith because of the massive windshield pillar base. The exterior side mirrors could stand to be larger, as could the inset convex spotter mirrors. Nissan's 360-degree camera system gives confidence when moving in tight spaces.

Quality

The Titan feels very solid, and the interior is well-assembled. Most materials that fall readily to hand have a soft touch, and hard plastics are relegated to storage compartments. But the area just behind the rear seats feels a bit unfinished, especially when compared to the rest of the truck.

Utility

Nissan hasn't gone to all this trouble to build a truck that can't work like a truck should, and the Titan will not leave you wanting for much in the way of capability. Where the Titan does come up short is with its single engine option, which puts it midpack when it comes to towing and hauling.

Small-item storage

Full-size trucks generally have tons of interior storage space, and the Titan is no different. There's a multitude of places for drinks of all sizes, plus odds and ends of all shapes, even a laptop. Inevitably, most of the storage has hard plastic sides, so smaller objects tend to rattle around.

Cargo space

Depending on your needs, the Crew Cab's standard 5.5-foot bed is either just right or frustratingly short. A retractable cargo-bed step is available on the driver side, but it was finicky about being deployed. The excellent bed lighting and the numerous cargo tie-down options are the highlights.

Child safety seat accommodation

The outboard rear seats have LATCH anchors, and there's plenty of room for even larger child seats. The main drawback is the height of the Titan itself, which makes seat installation and access more difficult.

Towing

The Titan is rated to tow just over 9,700 pounds when properly equipped. While that's an admirable tow rating, some rivals offer more powerful engine and axle gearing options that can handily out-tow the Titan's 5.6L V8.

Hauling

With four-wheel drive, the maximum payload is 1,620 pounds. Some rivals have higher payload capacities from more powerful optional engines. There are plenty of cargo tie-down options in the bed, as well as excellent LED lighting for after-hours loading and unloading.

Technology

Tech might well be the Titan's Achilles' heel. While it has the features to make up the numbers, its small display, dated graphics and small buttons seem very early 2000s. Seat time in any of the Titan's competitors only makes the Nissan's hardware seem more out-of-date.

Audio & navigation

The functionality is adequate, but the displays are running far behind the offerings of rivals. The Rockford Fosgate audio system is powerful and will satisfy all but the most discerning listeners. Likewise, the navigation system handles its duties well but is let down by dated graphics.

Smartphone integration

Only Apple products can be synced through a USB connection, so Android users must stream music through Bluetooth. Connecting via Bluetooth is as simple as it should be, and there are ample power points for charging multiple devices.

Driver aids

A blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and Nissan's Around View Monitor take some of the fear and guesswork out of navigating such a big truck.

Voice control

The menu for voice controls makes a good case for simply pressing the buttons you need to achieve the desired result. It's a cumbersome system better suited to making calls than it is for controlling any of the Titan's other features.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.