In the full-size hauler universe, personal-use buyers only make up about 25 percent of truck owners. And as gas prices and interest rates have climbed, personal-use buyers have been leaving the market in droves for other vehicles. With its new Long Wheelbase Titan, Nissan's looking to appeal to the other 75 percent--farmers, contractors, and other businesses--who depend on their trucks to earn a buck. So Nissan is moving the Titan away from where the lifestyle shopper is headed. The truck's bigger than it was before, thanks to the addition of two new longbed models, and it has a slew of upgrades that improve capability and comfort.
The Titan's product-planning manager, Paul Fisher, who oversees all the upgrades, says, "We feel it's very important for the Titan to be perceived not only as a private-use vehicle, but also as a work-use vehicle."
At 20.3 feet from nose to tailgate, the new Titan King Cab and Crew Cab longbeds are 20 inches longer than the short-wheelbase counterparts they supplement. They cut work-tough profiles that look more appropriate in the parking lot at Home Depot than in your driveway.
The King Cab has an 8.2 foot box instead of the standard 6.5 foot cargo space. It's ready to swallow 4x8 sheets of plywood without needing a bed extender, while the Crew Cab's 7.3 foot bed can haul around 85 percent of the ATVs and motorcycles out there with the tailgate closed and locked. Previously, it only was available with a 5.5 foot rear deck. The Titan LWB Crew Cab also can claim bragging rights to the longest bed available among half-ton pickups.
But it takes more than long beds to get the attention of commercial-truck buyers who need a mobile workshop as much as they need transportation to and from a job site. Nissan responded to the tool-toting needs of true truckers by giving the Titan a 33 percent boost in standard payload capacity, to just over 2000 pounds in the 140 inch Short Wheelbase King and Crew Cab two-wheel-drive trucks. Nissan beefed up the rear axle, strengthened suspension components, and increased front brake size to achieve this. Its 2000 pounds now beats the 1890-pound standard payload capacity of a similarly configured Ford F 150.
Revising the suspension also evened out the Titan's stance, so it no longer looks as heavy in the nose, an attribute that made earlier editions of the truck look more like a midsize. And though the front discs may be a bit smaller than those on the new Tundra, Nissan engineers are quick to indicate that it has 80 square inches more surface area for the brake pads to sweep because Tundra uses a larger center hub.
Nissan also introduced a new PRO 4X off-road model that's been slotted between the midpriced SE and premium LE. It comes with Rancho-supplied shocks, 18-inch wheels and BFGood-rich off-road tires, extra skidplates, and Eaton's electronic E-locker--the only electric rear-differential locker available on a full-size pickup.