As in the sedan and SUV/crossover segments, competition among truck manufacturers stays fierce, even in the face of calls for fuel efficiency and clean energy. The segment itself is full of many well-known brands, such as Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, and GMC. Honda and Toyota stake their claim with the Ridgeline and Tacoma and Tundra twins respectively, but Nissan has taken its game to the big boys in the ring. While the Frontier is left to fend for itself among smaller-duty 4x4s, the Titan comes prepared to fight with the new Cummins engine and a whole slew of features and options.
Before you hitch a ride to the dealership, take a look at what we’ve gathered on the 2018 Nissan Titan. Stacking it up against the competition, we’ll compare and contrast the Titan for you so you’re better informed when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is. If you do end up choosing the Titan, of course. Either way, you’ll come away from this article with a better idea of how the market stands when it comes to trucks.
The 2018 Nissan Titan is powered by either a 5.6-liter V8 with 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, or a Cummins turbodiesel 5.0-liter V8 capable of 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a 7-speed automatic. Towing capacity depends on the trim level and engine size chosen, but ranges from about 9,000 to 12,000 pounds. All models can be purchased as either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2018 Nissan Titan 4 out of 5 stars overall in their crash testing, with perfect scores from “Side Crash” ratings and 4 out of 5 in their “Frontal Crash” and “Rollover” tests.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2018 Titan their top ranking “Good” rating for all crashworthiness tests, but only rated the headlights as “Marginal” in their “crash avoidance and mitigation” tests — mostly due to the Titan not having things like curve-assist or high-beam assist.
Wrapping your mind around the various possible features and trims available on the 2018 Nissan Titan is a bit hard to do without writing it all down on an Excel spreadsheet. Think about it this way: there are three types of cabs available, five trim levels, plus a special Midnight Edition trim that’s more of a black-out option than anything else. Let’s break it down further.
The three cab types available on the 2018 Titan are a bit like big, bigger, and biggest. The single cab features just two doors. King cabs feature two normal-size doors with adjoining half-doors, much like your standard Ford and/or Dodge truck would. If you’re looking to haul the entire family with you, choose the Crew Cab. Back-seat passengers will appreciate the extra room.
Now we get to the part everyone likes: adding in features. Base models, otherwise known as the S trim level, and the next trim level up, the SV trim, include options like remote keyless entry with push button start, 18-inch wheels, a dampened assist tailgate, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, chrome trim accents, vinyl flooring, cloth seats, RearView Monitor, Advanced Drive-Assist Display, and Trailer Sway Control. Base models begin at around $30,000.
Pro-4X is the next trim level up. More focused on off-road capabilities, the Pro-4X consists of off-road-specific tires, performance shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, transfer case and lower radiator skid plates, and hill descent control. For those looking to add a bit of flair to their 2018 Titan, choose the SL trim level. Equipped with remote engine start, leather seats, and a Rockford Fosgate audio system, the SL trim keeps you riding around in style.
True luxury exists, however, in the Platinum Reserve trim. Customers will enjoy 20-inch wheels, an Intelligent Around View Monitor, a trailer brake controller, and many other options. Finally, trick out your Titan with the Midnight Edition trim, which features black badging, an overall blacked-out look, 20-inch wheels, and black step rails. It looks incredibly stylish, if you want to spend the extra cash.
If you’re aiming for a fuel-efficient vehicle, chances are you probably shouldn’t be perusing the truck aisle. However, that’s not to say modern trucks still guzzle gas like they used to. Efficiency numbers are up, as seen in the marks the 2018 Nissan Titan receives. The EPA reports the two-wheel drive models and four-wheel drive models equipped with the 5.6-liter V8 both achieve 15 city and 21 highway EPA-estimated MPG. Pro-4X models, which are strictly 4×4, only lose one MPG point to the highway rating. Consumer Reports puts it into perspective: “fuel economy is right in the mix with other non-diesel trucks.”
Titan XD models can be equipped with a Cummins turbodiesel 5.o liter V8. According to Kelley Blue Book, because the Titan XD weighs more than 8,500 pounds, the EPA does not rate its fuel efficiency. However, since diesels are a bit more fuel efficient than their gas siblings when comparing liter-to-liter, so we’d feel safe guessing that the 5.0-liter turbodiesel engine will most likely achieve similar or even better MPG ratings than its 5.6-liter gas V8 companion.
How the 2018 Nissan Titan Stacks Up
Unlike the sedan and crossover segments, the truck segment doesn’t suffer from as many competing players. That makes it even harder for the 2018 Nissan Titan to fight its way to the top. The Titan’s competition includes the Honda Ridgeline, Ford Ranger and F-series lineup, Dodge’s slew of pickups from the Dakota to the Ram series, GMC’s Canyon and Sierra, Chevrolet’s Colorado and Silverado, and the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra twins.
As the bigger brother to the Nissan Frontier, the Titan has a lot to live up to. Edmunds’ experts noted the truck has “plenty of power” and appreciated the generous warranty Nissan offers on their flagship 4×4. Lamenting the lack of engine options available on the 2018 Titan, Edmunds nevertheless recommended the Titan SV trim level with the Convenience package. This allows purchasers to get the most truck for their investment.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) echoes the praise given by Edmunds, calling the 2018 Titan “powerful and confident.” Made in Mississippi, the 2018 Titan is projected to hold its value as well as the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado do (but the Toyota Tundra is still the king of resale value).
- Cummins turbodiesel engine option
- Stylish and upscale
- Highly capable in any trim
- Technology trails what competitors can offer
- Lackluster transmission
- Long-term value not as high as competitors
Despite bringing up the rear of the truck segment in the past, Nissan is stepping up their game with the new 2018 Titan. The bold move to incorporate a Cummins diesel into their offering might just be the ticket the brand needs, but only time will tell. Can Nissan refine their image to finally give Ford, Dodge, and Chevy the rival they need? Or will the Titan fade into the background once more?