The full-size pickup truck market is dominated by Ford, General Motors, and Ram. But the 2018 Nissan Titan is worthy of examination too. A strong V8 engine, competitive pricing, and excellent warranties are among its top attractions. But like most competing models, the 2018 Titan isn’t fuel efficient and its steering falls short of the big guys.

Best Value

The 2018 Nissan Titan comes in Single, King (two half-sized suicide doors), and Crew Cab (four full doors) body configurations. With the latter example, you’ll find a 5.6-foot bed.

There are five trim levels to choose from: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. Unlike some manufacturers, the base model doesn't sacrifice performance. It features the same powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission as the other models ,along with robust payload and towing capabilities.

Our recommendation is to take the Titan SV in the Crew Cab body with four-wheel drive. It supplies the ideal combination of passenger space, content, and cost. The SV adds trailer sway control, chrome exterior trim, an drive-assist display in the instrument cluster, and satellite radio. Its cloth seats are fine and the available leather means committing to multiple options that would add $4,000 to your price. No thanks. We do like the Convenience Package as it adds numerous comfort, safety, and towing features, and even with it equipped we think you’ll drive away from your Nissan dealership in a 2018 SV 4x4 for just over $45,000.

  • Model: 2018 Nissan Titan SV 4x4 Crew Cab
  • Engine: 5.6-liter V8
  • Output: 390 hp/394 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 15 City/20 Hwy
  • Options: Four-wheel drive ($3,030), Convenience Package ($1,995, automatic headlights, front bucket seats, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, navigation, Siri Eyes Free, dual-zone climate control, power rear window, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a Class IV tow hitch receiver)
  • Base Price: $38,820 (plus $1,295 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $45,140

Performance

Nissan Titan

With one engine and transmission choice available, Nissan offers a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. We think most pickup truck shoppers will take it, given that this powertrain is stout. The Titan delivers 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, well within the range of V8s in this segment.

The Titan lumbers a bit off the mark, but quickly builds up speed. Its 9,400-pound towing capacity confirms this engine’s robustness. With a crew of five or six, a full bed and a connected trailer, the V8 is up to the task. The seven-speed automatic works seamlessly, finding the right gear under the proper circumstances.

Steering is this truck’s weakest link, lazily wandering at times, but especially when cruising – it's infuriating on the freeway. Handling is far from nimble, but then you’re maneuvering nearly three tons of truck stretching 19 feet long. Braking, however, is strong and firm.

Interior and Exterior

The first-generation Nissan Titan was a beastly truck. For the most part it worked, although Nissan’s pool of customers was largely limited to Frontier owners wanting to move up and truck owners not beholden to Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, and Ram.

That look continued for an extraordinary 13 years and the Titan name suffered considerably. The good news is that the latest model is a clean sheet design and improves on the first-generation model’s appearance and capabilities. Front to back the Titan offers a powerful and aggressive stance. The grille is as bold as the hood is wide.

Inside, the cabin is spacious with comfortable seats all around. The driver and front passenger have a commanding view of the road. Between the seats is a big armrest with a spacious and deep storage compartment. Moving the shifter from the floor to the center console for this model frees up space at the base of that console.

The Best and Worst Things

Perhaps the best thing about the new Titan has nothing to do with the design or operation of the truck itself. Rather, it is the class-leading warranties that help it stand out from the pack.

Fuel economy is never a strong suit with full-size pickup trucks and the Nissan Titan is squarely within that realm. Lacking a smaller gas engine or a turbodiesel means customers will find 15 mpg a common return with this truck.

Right For? Wrong For?

Nissan Titan

Individuals wanting a full-size pickup truck but want to stand out from the herds of F-150s and Silverados will like the Titan. It's far newer and more modern than Japan's other full-size truck, the Toyota Tundra, making it a better vehicle to live with day to day.

If a V8 engine isn’t on your list of must haves, the Nissan Titan may disappoint. You won’t find a turbo V6 as you do with the Ford F-150 or even the standard V6s sporting GMC, Chevrolet, and Ram labels.

The Bottom Line

Nissan ripped a page from the American pickup truck design book with the Titan and that’s a good thing. You get the powerful stance, ample cab and bed options, and a strong engine. The second-generation Titan took its time coming to the market, but we’re pleased that the result is a highly competent and desirable full-size pickup truck.