2021 Nissan Titan

2021 Nissan Titan Review: It Does The Job

by Gerhard Horn

When you visit Nissan USA's website and click on the Nissan Titan tab, you're greeted with a bold statement. This, according to Nissan, is the full-size pickup with the most standard power, technology, and safety features in its class. So why does it struggle to post anywhere near the same sales figures as its rivals? Last year during the height of the pandemic, the Ford F-Series still managed to sell 787,422 F-Series trucks in the USA. During that same time, Nissan managed to sell just 26,441 Titans. And don't go thinking it's patriotism, as the Toyota Tundra managed to sell 109,203 units. Nissan had high hopes for the heavily-facelifted 2020 Titan, but it did not deliver, not even with 400 horsepower as standard and a towing capacity of up to 11,040 lbs. Looking at the spec sheet, it's difficult to see why the Titan pickup keeps on struggling. It's class-leading in so many ways, yet it remains the class dunce when it comes to sales. This anomaly requires further investigation...

2021 Nissan Titan Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Nissan Titan?

Since the Titan received a significant overhaul in 2020, there are no changes for the new Nissan Titan for the 2021 model year.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful V8 engine
  • Responsive nine-speed automatic
  • Impressive standard safety tech
  • Bold styling
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Refined for a truck
  • Only one engine available
  • Not particularly fuel-efficient
  • Rear seats feel small
  • Tow rating is below par

Best Deals on Titan

2021 Nissan Titan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
5.6L V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$36,950
SV
5.6L V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,790
PRO-4X
5.6L V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$48,470
SL
5.6L V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$54,930
Platinum Reserve
5.6L V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$56,440

Titan Exterior

The Titan has a distinctive exterior thanks to a large grille and Nissan's "double boomerang" LED daytime running lights. Not all models have the latter feature, yet the Titan remains easily distinguishable in a crowd. Base models ride on 18-inch steel wheels, while upper-tier models get 20-inch alloy wheels. There is some awkwardness to the design when viewed from the side. The large headlights are at odds with the smaller tail light clusters. This will sound like an odd description, but it looks as if the front end of a full-size pickup was welded to the body of a mid-size pickup. It's just an illusion, as demonstrated by the dimensions.

2021 Nissan Titan Front View CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
See All 2021 Nissan Titan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Nissan's Titan is a big beast. All Titan models have a 139.8-inch wheelbase, with the overall length depending on the trim. The Pro-4X is 229.5 inches long, while the rest of the range is 228.1 inches long. The truck has a width of between 79.5 and 80.7 inches and it is 75.1 to 77.2 inches tall. The Pro-4X is the most off-road-oriented model in the line-up. It has 10.6 inches of ground clearance, accounting for the skid plates. From the ground to the rear axle, the ground clearance is an impressive 9.8 inches. The approach/breakover/departure angles vary according to trim, but the best it can muster is 22.8/21.7/23 degrees respectively.

The bed is 63.8 inches wide and 50 inches between the wheel wells. The King Cab's bed is 78.7 inches long, while the Crew Cab has a 67-inch bed.

The Titan King Cab SV 4x2 is the lightest model at 5,487 pounds, while the Crew Cab SL 4x4 is 84 lbs shy of a full 6,000-pound curb weight.

  • Length 228.1 in
  • Wheelbase 139.8 in
  • Height 75.4 in
  • Max Width 79.5 in

Exterior Colors

Nissan's Titan is available in nine different hues, but specific colors are only available on high-spec models. The base model is available in Red Alert, Super Black, Gun Metallic, and Glacier White. Further up in the lineup you can add Brilliant Silver Metallic or Deep Blue Pearl Metallic at no charge, along with Cardinal Red Metallic Tricoat and Pearl White Tricoat for $395 each. The top-spec Crew Cab Platinum Reserve comes with four additional dual-tone color options. Deep Blue Pearl Metallic/Gun Metallic and Super Black/Gun Metallic are no-cost options, while Cardinal Red Metallic Tricoat/Gun Metallic and Pearl White Tricoat/Gun Metallic cost an additional $395. The Pro-4X is also available in Baja Storm, retailing for $395.

  • Red Alert
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic, Build Out: 09/30/2020
  • Glacier White
  • Gun Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Deep Blue Pearl Metallic
  • Cardinal Red Metallic
  • Pearl White
  • Baja Storm

Titan Performance

There's only one available engine option; a 5.6-liter naturally-aspirated V8 good for 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both 4x4 and 4x2 derivatives are available, both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. While top speed and 0 to 60 sprint times are meaningless in a truck, it's worth stating that the Titan's V8 does an admirable job in the city and at freeway speeds. It never feels short on grunt and performance is generally satisfying.

Towing figures are more important, so it's satisfying to see that the 4x2 King Cab models have a tow rating of 9,310 lbs. Not bad at all, and sufficient for most owners. Ford's F-150 is capable of towing much more, though, at up to 14,000 lbs.

2021 Nissan Titan Front Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

Nissan claims the Titan is the most powerful pickup in its class. That's not hard to do when you're competing against naturally-aspirated and turbocharged V6s. Still, you won't hear us complain too loudly about 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque delivered from the big 5.6-liter engine.

This power is sent to the wheel wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. It makes Nissan more competitive against rivals like Ford and GM, both of which are already using ten-speed transmissions. And it makes its Japanese rival look hopelessly outdated, as the Tundra soldiers on with a six-speed automatic.

The combination of engine and gearbox work well. Shifts are quick when you give it some stick, and it feels effortless when merely cruising along.

  • Engine
    5.6L V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Most pickup owners know the quirks of the traditional body-on-frame driving experience. They shake and shimmy over big bumps, which they frequently encounter due to how they are used. Still, some manufacturers have managed to hide this inherent flaw quite well. The Ram 1500 is a good example. The Nissan is adequate rather than superb. It's on par with the Tundra, which is one of the oldest competitors in this segment. With that in mind, last year's extensive revamp feels like a missed opportunity. The steering is unacceptably heavy at slow speeds, but it does get better once on the move.

There are no special driving modes, apart from a Tow Mode. We applaud Nissan for including a useful driving mode and not going the "Sport" route.

A part-time four-wheel-drive system is standard on the 4x4 models. It's an odd cost-saving, considering most of its rivals have a full-time system. A full-time 4WD can still be used in low grip situations on tarmac, while a part-time system can't.

Titan Gas Mileage

The 4x2 model returns the best gas mileage, but what surprises us is the slight differences between the various models. The 2WD Titan has an EPA-estimated figure of 16/21/18 mpg for the city/highway/combined cycles. In 4WD guise, it gets 15/21/18 mpg, meaning it's only less economical in the city. The Pro-4X's consumption is rated at 15/20/17 mpg.

Here we can see the downside of only having one engine option, as customers searching for a frugal pickup will immediately eliminate the Titan from their list. A Ford F-150 hybrid's EPA estimates are 25/26/25 mpg, while the diesel model is rated at 20/27/23 mpg.

The Titan is equipped with a 26-gallon tank, giving it a theoretical driving range of up to 468 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 16/21 mpg
* 2021 Nissan Titan S 2WD Crew Cab

Titan Interior

The Titan's interior is a highlight. You get a large touchscreen interface and a color LCD that doubles as an information display for the driver. The primary controls are where you'd expect them to be. Interior space is sufficient, though not class-leading. The Titan has Nissan's patented Zero Gravity seats with 14 pressure points, designed specifically for long-haul journeys.

Base models are sparsely equipped, with manual seats and manual air conditioning. Nissan's Safety Shield 360 is standard across the range. It includes automatic rear braking, intelligent forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and high beam assist. Optional extras include a surround-view camera, a dual-panel sunroof, and dual-zone climate control.

2021 Nissan Titan Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Steering Wheel Details CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Tow Mode CarBuzz
See All 2021 Nissan Titan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Titan is available as a five- or six-seater. Base models come with a front bench, which means three people can sit in the front. The bench is replaced with two individual seats and a center armrest with higher-spec models getting a storage bin.

Both King Cab and Crew Cab models offer a bench for three in the rear. The Crew Cab has 41 inches of headroom in the front and 40.4 inches (37.6 inches with a moonroof) of headroom in the rear. The legroom up front is a generous 41.8 inches, but the 38.5 inches in the back starts to feel cramped. The King Cab is the perfect car if you don't like your rear passengers. With just 24.8 inches of legroom, they're going to struggle back there. To put that into perspective, it's less legroom than you get in the rear of a Mini Cooper convertible.

  • Seating capacity
    6-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.8 in
  • Front Head Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The base model is a bare-bones workhorse, and the interior reflects that. It gets simple charcoal cloth and vinyl flooring. As you climb up the specification ladder, Nissan adds more luxury to disguise the Titan's agricultural nature. SV models get metallic trim, chrome interior door handles, and optional beige seats. The Pro-4X has more chrome, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, floor carpets with Pro-4X logos, and charcoal seats with contrast stitching. A leather interior is available for the Pro-4X. The SL and Platinum Reserve trims have leather seats as standard. The SL gives you a choice between beige or charcoal leather, while the Platinum Reserve comes with Platinum Reserve Premium Brown leather upholstery. SL models get wood-tone inlays, and the Platinum Reserve comes with open-pore wood trim.

The interior is a nice place to spend time, but, once again, not class-leading.

Titan Trunk and Cargo Space

Disappointingly, the Titan truck is let down by the very thing that makes it a pickup. You get a 6.5-foot bed in the King Cab, shrinking down to 5.5 feet in the Crew Cab. The maximum payload capacity is 1,680 lbs. The Chevy Silverado, for instance, offers an eight-foot bed, and it can carry more than 2,000 lbs. Ford's F-150 has an equally impressive load capacity.

We have to point out that Nissan put a lot of thought into making the bed a functional loading space, enabling owners to make the most of the limited space. All models have four tie-down hooks, and the tailgate is both lockable and removable. SL and Platinum Reserve Crew Cabs come with the Utili-track Channel System, consisting of four aluminum alloy cleats that can be moved around the bed walls and clamped in place.

On the inside, the Titan has a cubby where you can charge and store a smartphone. Models without the front three-seat bench have a large storage bin under the center armrest. One of the most annoying things about pickup ownership is the lack of a safe space for storing groceries. Put it in the bed, and you'll arrive home with all the ingredients already mixed together in an unappetizing manner unless you fit an aftermarket sliding tray system. The Titan's rear bench can fold down in a 60/40 split, which offers enough space for a week's worth of food.

2021 Nissan Titan Floor Storage CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Cargo Room CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Titan Cargo Capacity CarBuzz

Titan Infotainment and Features

Features

The base model comes with manual adjustment for the tilt-and-telescoping steering column, manual air conditioning, remote keyless entry and with push-button start, and a 12-volt power outlet. By law, a rearview camera is standard, and Nissan includes its Safety Shield 360 suite as standard across the entire range. From Pro-4X specification and up, an eight-way power driver's seat is standard. High-end Crew Cab models get a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a surround-view monitor, and puddle lights. The top-spec Platinum Reserve gets ventilated front seats as standard.

Infotainment

Nissan struggled for years to find a decent touchscreen interface for its cars. The new eight-inch system - Pro-4X models and up get a larger nine-inch unit - integrates into the cabin much better and is easier to use. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is all you need these days. However, it also comes with NissanConnect, including the Nissan Concierge. This system is usually found on high-end luxury cars and allows you to get live assistance at the push of a button. The Nissan assistant on the other end can make restaurant reservations, schedule appointments, or even order a gift for your significant other. Base models get a six-speaker sound system, while top-spec models come with a 12-speaker system, but a high-end Fender sound system with 12 speakers (ten in the King Cab) is available.

Titan Problems and Reliability

The Titan was last rated by the J.D. Power survey in 2019, where it scored 85 out of 100. The highest sub-category ratings it received were for quality and reliability (89 points) and resale value (88 points). The Nissan Titan reliability rating is among the best in the segment.

According to the NHTSA, the 2021 Nissan Titan has so far been recalled once for an issue whereby sudden tire air loss could result in the driver losing control of the vehicle. The same issue pertains to 2020 models, which were also recalled for an exposed wire in the engine harness that can lead to a stall.

All Titan models are covered by a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, and a powertrain warranty valid for the same period.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Nissan Titan Safety Reviews

The NHTSA only tested the King Cab for rollover safety, and it scored four out of five stars. The Crew Cab was subjected to a more thorough test and received an overall rating of four out of five stars. For side impacts, it received five stars, but the rollover rating for the 4x4 Crew Cab was three stars; the 4x2 Crew Cab received a better four-star rating for the rollover test.

The IIHS gave the 2021 Titan a thorough review. Only two anomalies were detected; an "acceptable" rating for the small overlap passenger-side crash and the headlights were rated "poor."

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

While those Nissan Titan crashworthiness reviews were middling, the Titan is well-equipped to keep a crash from happening in the first place. All models come with Nissan's Safety Shield 360, which consists of a rearview camera, cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic rear braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. Top-tier models get a surround-view monitor, front parking sensors, and traffic sign recognition.

The conventional safety kit consists of ABS with EBD, traction control, hill-start control, trailer assist, tire pressure monitoring, and eight airbags.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Nissan Titan a good truck?

There are two major issues to consider here. The full-size pickup truck segment is one of the most ruthless segments in the automotive industry, and existing owners have already pledged their allegiance to the truck currently standing in their garage. If it's a Ram, Ford, or Chevrolet, you can forget about it. These guys already have the outline of their chosen truck tattooed on their buttocks, right next to the outline of the state they live in. The Titan offers a powerful V8, an extensive infotainment system, and many driver assistance features as standard. Does it matter? The Titan is better than the Tundra, yet the Toyota outsold the Nissan by a vast margin. Nissan can keep on pointing at all the class-leading features as much as they want, but the Toyota fanboys will keep buying the Tundra, claiming that it has unrivaled reliability.

The second issue has less to do with buying habits and everything to do with the truck. Throughout a test drive of the Titan, there wasn't one particular segment where it stood out. It doesn't have that one thing you can point to while loudly proclaiming, "this is why my Titan is better than your F-150." It's not a bad car, nor is it exceptional. The Nissan Titan truck is stuck somewhere in the middle, caught in the shadows of the existing, beloved rivals in this segment.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Nissan Titan?

The most affordable Titan is the base King Cab S with an MSRP of $36,950, while the King Cab SV retails for $40,790. The Crew Cab S starts at $39,680 and the Crew Cab SV goes for $43,130. Moving to the mid-spec models, the Crew Cab SL has an MSRP of $54,930, while the Platinum Reserve Crew Cab starts at $56,440. The Crew Cab Pro-4X is only available in 4x4 guise and retails for $50,690. Adding a part-time 4x4 system to any of the models besides the Pro-4X will inevitably raise the price; in the case of the King Cab S, 4x4 will cost $3,230 extra. The most expensive model in the line-up is the Crew Cab Platinum Reserve 4x4, with a hefty MSRP of $59,680. The price of the Nissan Titan excludes the company's shipping and handling for US customers, which costs $1,695.

New Nissan Titan Models

The Nissan Titan is available in five trim levels: S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. All models use the same 5.6-liter naturally-aspirated V8 producing 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, with 4x2 being the default setup. The Pro-4X is the only model with a part-time 4x4 system as standard, while 4x4 is optional on all other models.

In base S specification, the Titan is equipped with 18-inch steel wheels, auto headlights, basic cloth upholstery, manual seats, manual air conditioning, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers, remote keyless entry, and the Safety Shield 360 suite.

SV trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a chrome bumper, and heated side mirrors. The SV has access to a longer options menu, which means you can add the luxury features you need. The King Cab body style is only available in S and SV trim.

Off-roaders will appreciate the Pro-4X, which comes ready-made for challenging situations. It has LED headlights, gray-painted bumpers, a skid plate for the radiator, an electronic locking rear differential, more rigid towing pins, a nine-inch infotainment display, and eight-way power adjustment for the driver's seat.

The SL trim comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, aluminum running boards, leather seats with heating for the front passengers, power adjustment for the front passenger seat, and a 12-speaker sound system.

As the halo model in the range, the Platinum Reserve adds two-tone paint, a satin-finish grille for extra exterior elegance, ventilated front seats, premium leather, and a heated steering wheel.

See All 2021 Nissan Titan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Nissan chose the optional packages to suit the nature of the vehicles. The entry-level King Cab S is available with a Utility Package. It adds a front overhead storage console, a factory-applied bedliner, and a Class IV tow hitch receiver for $990. The SV King Cab adds even more practicality, as you can add a Tow Package for $790 and a Utility Package for $1,690. You can also take the comfort and convenience up a notch by adding the $2,440 Convenience Package. The Tow Package may seem cheap, but you have to equip both the Utility and Convenience Package to get it. The Utility Package also requires the fitment of the Tow and Convenience Packages.

The Pro-4X is available with a $2,190 Utility Package that adds LED bed illumination, the Utili-track channel system, and the premium Fender sound system, to name just a few. SL, Pro-4X, and Platinum Reserve models can be had with a $1,490 moonroof, while the latter model has its own $1,390 Utility Package that adds Titan boxes for secure small-item storage in the bed and a rear bumper step for the vertically challenged. Notably, this package requires the moonroof option to also be equipped.

🚗What Nissan Titan Model Should I Buy?

The base King Cab models are workhorses, so if that's what you're after, go for one of them.

When it comes to Crew Cabs, we reckon the Pro-4X offers the best value for money. Starting at $50,690, it looks quite cool in the optional Baja Storm exterior hue. The interior also looks stunning, thanks to the red contrast stitching. The standard spec on this model is already good. Nissan's Safety Shield is standard, as are LED headlights, a locking rear differential, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and the bigger nine-inch infotainment system.

Check out other Nissan Titan Styles

2021 Nissan Titan Comparisons

Toyota Tundra CarBuzz
Ford F-150 CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Titan400 hp16/21 mpg$36,950
Toyota Tundra 381 hp13/17 mpg$33,575
Ford F-150 290 hp20/24 mpg$29,290

2021 Nissan Titan vs Toyota Tundra

Titan's main competitor also comes from Japan, and it follows the same recipe. One big V8 engine option and lots of standard kit. Toyota's Tundra offers 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are close enough to the Nissan's outputs, but the Tundra's V8 is still mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. That being said, the Tundra betters the Titan in towing capacity. The Tundra can tow over 10,000 lbs. As a workhorse, the Tundra is also better. You can have it with an 8.1-foot bed, which the Titan simply can't match. The Titan still has a ways to go before it can prove itself in terms of reliability and toughness, which is something you get standard in the Tundra. As a luxury offering, the Titan is better. We also can't ignore the driver assistance features, but we doubt these things are enough to lure a Toyota customer over to Nissan.

See Toyota Tundra Review

2021 Nissan Titan vs Ford F-150

The all-new Ford F-150 recently made its debut, and as we expected, it's going to give the Titan a massive headache. First, it takes a giant number two all over Nissan's "most powerful" claim thanks to the new hybrid model boasting 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque. This particular model also has a 7.2 kW onboard generator located in the bed.

In total, there are six different engine options, and it is available in three body styles. The longest available bed is an eight-footer. As you'd expect, the all-new model comes with a host of advanced features. It matches the Titan's interior specifications, though specific models are not as handsomely equipped in the safety department. The new F-150's interior is a giant leap forward. Better quality materials, advanced tech, and a 12-inch touchscreen display with SYNC4 for high-end models are just a few of the highlights. No wonder this is still the best-selling truck in the USA. The previous-generation F-150 was already a better truck than the Titan, and the all-new model just widens the gap between them further.

See Ford F-150 Review

Nissan Titan Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Nissan Titan:

2021 Nissan Titan Video Review

Check out some informative Nissan Titan video reviews below.

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Photos
$36,950 - $59,680
Price Range (MSRP)
Nissan Titan
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