There are certain press loaners that I look forward to more than others, and the 2019 Nissan TITAN Pro-4X was certainly one that I couldn’t wait to get some extended seat time in. As the owner of a current Gen, face lifted Nissan Frontier SV (D40), I’m familiar with the genetics and peculiarities of the brand and I was curious how the DNA of Nissan Trucks had evolved as the product moved upscale. All told, I stand very impressed.
There are an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to evaluating a vehicle for purchase, but nothing beats putting the car or truck through the activities of your daily life to really test and see what the ownership experience would be like. For instance, how your leg interacts with the center console or whether your elbow sits in the armrest in just the right spot. I’ve tried to distill my experience in the TITAN down to three categories. They are:
This second Gen TITAN came with a 390 hp, 394 lb⋅ft of torque 5.6 litre V8, coupled with a 7-speed automatic transmission. My first love is how great this power plant sounds when under full throttle. Obviously it isn’t the fastest or most powerful truck ever made, but it has a great auditory note that even caused my neighbor who is the owner of a new Tundra to exclaim, “Wow that sounds good”. From idle to redline, inside the truck or hearing it drive by, the sound gives your goosebumps.
The old saying “Trucks make money” has everything to do with the bed. I love the bed of the TITAN. My wife and I enjoyed the added bonus of using the‘TITAN Truck Tent’ (dealer part # 999T7WY900) that Nissan equips with the vehicle during a recent camping trip in Lake Tahoe. However, most impressive is the way in which the bed liner is sprayed, the electrical outlet to plug in chargers, the tie-down cleats that slide on both the upper side rails, and more importantly the two rails mounted in the floor of the bed between the ridges, all which make for maximum utility. While the real cherry on top for me was the lighting in the bed, it’s all LED and extremely bright. The detail that really knocked my socks off were the lights mounted under rail, 4 in total, that cut through the darkness and illuminate at a level I’ve never seen before in a truck. It reminded me of when a blimp overhead shows you a stadium on Monday Night Football, it just looks epic.
I love how stiff the frame/chassis is, specifically when offroading. I was able to enjoy some pretty aggressive trails in and around Lake Tahoe. From my years of testing various rigs in Moab and other 4×4 destinations, I always look for the amount of cab/bed twist. The TITAN has none, no flex, it is solid and prepared for what you can throw at it. This stiffness continues into the cab, not that you’re jarred by riding inside of it, but that there are no rattles or squeaks from interior trim pieces that have decided to rub against something. Quite a refined experience.
I mentioned sleeping in the bed of the TITAN where my wife and I camped, which ended up being at the end of a logging road overlooking Lake Tahoe. I was surprised by how roomy the truck tent was. Despite no real instructions, it took a bit of puzzle logic, sorting through the color coded rods, and the next thing we know, all done. There was never a sense of it being narrow, we laid down two bedrolls and had ample room on the sides to store ancillary gear without feeling cramped. The overall height of the tent was equally impressive, giving an open and airy feeling that you usually don’t get with 2 person ground tents. I will note a key feature: The truck tent includes a bottom. Most aftermarket tents just cover the tops, starting at the sides of the bed, leaving you open to whatever grime is in the truck bed. The TITAN Truck Tent includes a bottom liner, like a ground tent, so you don’t need to wash out the bed of the truck before setting up for the night.
While offroad you don’t realize how awesome it is to have a forward facing camera. I found myself using it while climbing obstacles in low range and it might as well be a human spotter. It’s perfect for judging rocks that you are trying to steer clear of yet not drive directly over and placing in the path of the drivetrain. I’m going to miss it tremendously the next time I’m offroading.
Alternatively, at speed on paved roads, the TITAN is very well balanced and conveys a lot of confidence at speed specifically in the curves. You forget you’re in such a massive vehicle at times. It’s by no means a NISMO JDM race car, but it handles all but the extreme maneuvers with no understeer or oversteer.
While it was a huge convenience enjoying Apple CarPlay in the TITAN, my first wish would be to increase the size of the info-tainment screen. Obviously it does the job, but focusing on improving this part of the owners’ experience will pay large dividends for Nissan. Having been in and out of over 40 cars within the month of this TITAN loaner, I began to realize how small the 7 inch screen actually is, and how much more it could be.
My second wish really comes down to wanting to take the offroading experience to the next level with an option of a locking front differential. There was one trail that was steep and narrow, and the rocks were piled high… And I could tell the front end was beginning to dig in as the traction hopped from left to right. Some would have tried to continue, however I felt best to back down the way I came and not try to force the issue at the risk of causing any harm to the TITAN. I’m confident that a front locker would have made all the difference and would have turned this obstacle into a very achievable route.
Lastly, I must admit that I have overly sensitive hearing, mainly from my days of testing and prepping (PDI) new cars when they arrive at the dealership. I noticed that either at idle in park, or in stop and go traffic, there was an annoying “tick” sound of the AC compressor, as the clutch on it engaged and disengaged. On many smaller engined vehicles, you can both hear and feel the clutch on the compressor doing it’s job. On the TITAN I could only hear it, and that was at idle. I think this could be improved.
Overall, Nissan is offering a great value with the 2019 TITAN Pro-4X, the loaner had an MSRP of about $54K. Through a brief search using TrueCar in my area (San Francisco), I found dealers quoting $6-7K under MSRP, and that’s before the real negotiating begins. Whether the amount may very depending on where you live, time of the year, or end of the month sales, know that Nissan is serious about offering a very competitive product on all fronts, and it’s worth your consideration if you’re in the market for a full size truck.