The Big Three finally have some serious competition in the full-size pickup-truck market as Nissan has managed to produce a genuine contender. Unlike the seven-eighths-scale Toyota Tundra, the Titan has the size—and the power—to give the home teams a run for their money. The Titan also has a couple neat features that the other trucks don’t: With parking spaces getting ever narrower, the rear half-doors on the King Cab open out to almost 180 degrees, and that makes loading kids or cargo in the back seat a lot easier. Plus there’s a cargo bin in the left rear fender for storing grimy items such as jumper cables and tow straps that otherwise usually clutter up the cab.
The Titan is a perfect example of a company staying up late and doing its homework. Nissan got the easy stuff right with the torquey V-8 engine, smooth transmission, and a correctly large body that’s the equal of the domestics. This truck has good road manners, too, and a roomy rear seat. It’s the little things, though, that suggest how much midnight oil Nissan burned. The anchor points in the bed are easily accessible, there’s a handy storage bin behind the rear wheel, the seat fabric looks durable and easy to clean, and the turning radius is reasonably tight. Sure, these are small details, but in this competitive segment, they matter.
Four camshafts, 32 valves, and 5.6 liters of displacement simply will not be denied, as clearly demonstrated by the gutsy performance of this big Nissan pickup. I also appreciate its comfortable and spacious interior, the clever, easily adjustable partition in its bed, and its overall sense of quality and strength. For my taste, the steering is a little trucklike—slow and heavy—but otherwise, it’s a delight to drive. In fact, it will take a comparison test to sort out just how well it measures up to the new Ford F-150, as well as the existing full-size pickups. Meanwhile, every manufacturer in this segment will be feeling the pressure from this strong new entry.