Built for work — and comfort
Titan tough, but soft where it counts
WHEN a pickup truck is as comfortable and luxurious as some family sedans, will anyone really use it for its true purpose?
That was a question I asked while driving around in the 2013 Nissan Titan, my ride being the fully loaded SL Crew Cab 4X4.
After a test of its capabilities, it is obvious the Titan, with its four-wheel drive and versatility, can play the part just fine. And while I felt terrible getting the shiny Gun Metal paint (a $135 extra) filthy, I couldn’t resist putting that four-wheel-drive system to the test.
The Titan is offered in either King Cab or Crew Cab format, with the former starting at $33,898, plus a destination charge of $1,730.
My test ride was also fitted with the $2,000 rear-seat DVD entertainment system, pushing the price to $53,898.
With leather seating, plenty of creature comforts and the TV screen to keep the children occupied in the back, it’s sometimes easy to forget you are riding around in a pickup.
There’s no denying the Titan is a large truck, a presence that is quite evident from the tall front grille, which is a Nissan signature look for its trucks. The excess chrome up the middle also makes the Titan’s front end hard to miss.
The high passenger cab is made accessible by a chrome step. But even with that, entering the cabin will be a challenge for those who are less vertically gifted.
The designers found a way to use what would otherwise be wasted space on the lower panel behind the rear wheel on the driver’s side. The lockable storage space isn’t large, but it could hold some tools for the contractors who use the Titan.
On the inside, the Titan’s occupants are coddled in luxury in the SL Crew Cab 4X4. From the leather seating and navigation system to a nice sound system, the Titan has many of the bells and whistles most people desire. And in the case of the tester, it was equipped with a Rockford Fosgate audio system, whose screen does stick out a little high on the centre stack.
The rest of the controls are neatly packaged and easy to operate, including a dial off to the left of the panel for the Titan’s four-wheel drive setup.
In the back seats, passengers get plenty of leg room — when you aren’t trying to squeeze in around all those tools. And if you need extra room for the tools, the seat cushions fold up for increased cargo capacity.
The cargo bay of the standard bed comes with the factory applied sprayon bedliner, which protects the metal from scratches and dings.
Providing the brute force for the Titan is a 5.6-litre DOHC V8. It produces 317 horsepower and, more importantly, 385 pound-feet of torque.
That torque comes in handy because the Titan can tow up to 4,173 kilograms, something I got to test at Nissan 360, a global event held in California in August that showcases the company’s products from around the world.
The Titan’s transmission may sound a bit antiquated when you hear it is a five-speed automatic, but the setup works quite effectively. It is equipped with a tow/haul mode to help with moving that extra cargo.
With the four-wheel-drive system, the Titan also has off-road capabilities, enhanced by Rancho off-road shocks and underbody skid plates. Controlled via the dial on the centre stack, selecting the right setting for your situation is easy.
I put it to the test in some rough offroad conditions in some undeveloped land in the West Island area and the Titan performed as expected, handling deep ruts and mud with aplomb.
Fuel economy for the Titan comes in at 17.8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 12.2 L/100 km at highway speeds.
For a pickup truck, the Titan drives quite well. Acceleration is good and the steering feel is nice.
And of vital importance for any vehicle this size is visibility, and the Titan has all the angles covered with the large side mirrors, which feature a lower convex mirror that clearly shows the driver where his wheels are at any given time. That feature came in rather handy in some tight spots, including a local drive-thru to satisfy a late-night craving.
Also helping with vision is the rearview camera, which is essential because it is near impossible to see what is behind the Titan without it.
The Titan can live a double life as a workhorse during the week — one that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty — and a family vehicle on the weekend, after a visit to the car wash, of course.