By Derek Price
First things first: The Nissan Titan is in need of an update, which is why there’s an all-new version of this pickup coming out for 2016. I can’t wait to drive it.
For now, though, the current generation Titan can still get the job done for certain types of buyers as it reaches the end of its lifespan. People who need a powerful V8 and a brilliantly designed cargo tie-down system for a work truck could be well served by the big Nissan, and they might find some great bargains on dealer lots as the new truck gets ready to launch.
This pickup’s strongest and weakest point is, paradoxically, the same thing: its engine.
The huge, 5.6-liter, 317-horsepower V8 in the Titan remains a muscular performer, allowing for a tow rating of 7,400 pounds even on the base model. It can pull up to 9,500 pounds with the proper equipment and offers a wild, bellowing kick when you stomp on the gas pedal.
Unfortunately, that sense of endless torque comes with a price: a city fuel economy rating of just 13 mpg, or 12 mpg with four-wheel drive. The lack of a smaller, more efficient option under the hood remains this truck’s greatest drawback.
Other things I’m looking forward to seeing improved on the new 2016 Titan include its plastic-laden interior, stiff ride and slightly dated exterior styling.
Yes, those are picky things, but you’ve got to be picky in today’s competitive truck market.
On the flip side, there were several features I loved on my $47,100 test truck in addition to the ample V8 power.
One is Nissan’s Utili-Track system for tying down cargo in the bed. It uses big, strong cleats that can slide along sturdy rails to make it easy to secure cumbersome or odd-shaped cargo. Other trucks are offering similar tie-down systems, but I’m a fan of Nissan’s version because of its simplicity and solid, heavy feel.
Another nice feature is the bedside storage bin Nissan has managed to squeeze behind the rear wheel. This optional, lockable storage compartment is perfect for tossing small tools or gloves into, giving you easy access to frequently used items without having to climb into the bed and unlock a big tool box.
With its rugged feel and smart storage options, I love the Titan as a work truck. I’m not as wild about it as a comfortable, drive-around-town truck, though, because of all those picky things that its recently redesigned competitors have improved upon.
If you’re looking for a good value on a V8-powered work truck, the 2015 Titan could make a great choice.
And if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in pickups, mark your calendar to get some seat time at your Nissan dealer later this year. The all-new Titan was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show recently and will be available in “late 2015,” Nissan says.
At a Glance
What was tested?
2015 Nissan Titan Crew Cab 4×4 SL ($43,860). Options: Utility accessory package ($370), rear bumper step assist ($235), Texas Titan floor mats ($165), Texas Titan package ($1,375). Price as tested (including $1,095 destination charge): $47,100
Wheelbase: 139.8 in.
Length: 224.6 in.
Width: 79.5 in.
Height: 76.3 in.
Engine: 5.6-liter V8 (317 horsepower, 385 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Estimated Mileage: 13 city, 18 highway
2015 Nissan Titan
Why buy it?
If you need a V8-powered work truck, the Titan can do the job. Its Utili-Track cargo tie downs and standard V8 power make it a capable performer.