This is the second time in the last two years we've tested a Nissan Titan Pro-4X. We know the latest model we've tested is not the exact same truck, because the latest example sported a navigation system, a new four-spoke steering wheel design, and a leather interior. But little else has changed. Same engine, same basic shape, and same body and cab configuration. For that matter, precious little has changed in the decade the Titan has been in production. The Endurance 5.6L DOHC V-8 got a modest power bump a few years ago from 305 to 317 hp, with a torque increase from 379 to 385 lb-ft, but the seat-of-the-pants feel and throaty exhaust note are much the same as they've always been.
Having a 10-year-old truck in the showroom was not the original plan. Before the marketplace meltdown in 2008 and 2009, plans were for Nissan and Chrysler to share development on a new fullsize truck, with both companies getting a new truck out of the deal. But upon review of products in the pipeline, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne promptly scrapped the program, leaving Nissan holding the bag and, apparently, no plan B in place for a new truck. So as was the case when it was introduced, the Titan has just a single powertrain option: the 5.6L Endurance V-8 mated to a five-speed automatic. Buyers do get the choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and the choice of a longer bed was offered starting in 2008, along with larger brakes.
The latest version of the Pro-4X does seem slightly more civilized than past models, likely due to the plusher accommodations with the leather seats and navigation system. But there's no escaping the fact that the current model is sadly dated. Nissan knows it, and it's public knowledge that an all-new model is coming in 2015 and will be packing a much broader array of powertrains and body/cab configurations. Nissan has called the fullsize truck market in the U.S. "too big to ignore." No matter how good the new Titan is, it will likely never reach the sales volume of the Ford F-Series, which dominates the segment by a considerable margin. However, a competitive Titan, with more powertrain and configuration options, could finally be a legitimate rival to the Toyota Tundra, which typically sells 10,000 units a month, compared to the current Titan's 1,000-to-1,500-a-month average.
The Titan has fans for its torquey, rumbling V-8, chunky, angular styling, and relatively low price, compared to comparably equipped competitive models. Of course, we use the term "relatively," because our tester doesn't exactly qualify as cheap, considering its $46,625 as-tested price. For that sum, you get a decent array of goodies, including driver-side memory seats, touchscreen navigation, and leather seats. But the premium aura is only skin-deep. The quantity of hard plastic interior surfaces lets the interior down and betrays the Titan's age.
The current Titan definitely has a distinct personality—one we hope isn't completely sanitized in the new model. However, there's a difference between "personality" and "dated," and the current Titan certainly has plenty of the latter it could shed without sacrificing the former on the new model. Driving today's model makes us anticipate the new one that much more, especially with the optional Cummins turbodiesel V-8. The current Titan has had an unusually long run, and its replacement will be eagerly examined, driven, and critiqued by the media and consumers alike. Let's hope it's as much of a leap forward as it deserves to be.
|2014 Nissan Titan V8 Pro-4X|
|BASE PRICE ||$40,875 |
|PRICE AS TESTED ||$46,625 |
|VEHICLE LAYOUT ||Front-engine, 4WD, five-passenger, four-door truck|
|ENGINE ||5.6L/317-hp/385-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8 |
|TRANSMISSION|| 5-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)|| 5500 lb (55/45%)|
|WHEELBASE|| 139.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT|| 224.6 x 79.5 x 76.6 in|
|0-60 MPH|| 6.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE|| 15.4 sec @ 88.9 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH|| 120 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION|| 0.69 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON|| 12/17/14 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY|| 281/198 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS|| 1.40 lb/mile|