Kicking around ideas for focusing our new truck content, we began to debate the best ½-ton truck available on dealer's lots. With no definitive winner determined by our back and forth discussions, a decision was made. Rather than talk a good talk, we'd let the trucks choose their own fates. That led us to this—a ½-ton fullsize truck shootout. We recruited the top light-duty trucks from Chevy, Dodge, Ford, and Nissan (a Tundra was unavailable for our test), and proceeded to drive each one for a week, comparing the strengths and weaknesses in areas that fullsize truck owners genuinely care about. During this weeklong test, we got a feel for how each one stacked up in day-to-day driving, we ran a bevy of performance trials, and looked to see if we were writing a check each month, which truck would be sitting in our driveways. After compiling all of the data, we sorted the marketing hyperbole with cold, hard facts, and some good old-fashioned conviction. Without further ado, we present our 2012 1/2-ton truck shootout.
Nissan Titan 4x4 Pro-4X
Base Price: $37,340
Price as Tested: $40,025
Engine: 5.6L V-8
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
0-60: 6.7 seconds
¼-mile: 15.3 @ 89 mph
Weight: 5,549 lbs
Tow Rating: 9,400 lbs
Observed Gas Mileage: 15.3
Looking at the plastic interior of the Titan and comparing it to the other trucks, it looked more appropriate for a kid's Power ...
Walking up to the Titan we thought to ourselves, "Why has Nissan not changed the Titan in eight years?" Since its 2004 debut, the Titan has received minimal changes coming by way of light/grille freshening, a few more ponies from the V-8, and interior tweaks here and there. Based on a no-frills package, the Titan comes in either a King Cab or crew cab and one engine option, the aforementioned 5.6L V-8.
From the Log Book
After jumping into the crew cab, the first thing we noticed was the cheap and harsh plastic interior. The steering wheel and shifter knob feature black leather with red stitching, which is nice but seems misplaced given the rest of the low-grade materials. Just beyond the steering wheel sits a set of white-faced gauges outlined in orange, reminding us of an '80s Atari game. The Titan has always been known for the many storage compartments inside, which did keep everything organized, but wasn't enough to garner high marks. Adjustable pedals and Pro-4X stitching in the seats and floor mats are a couple of the options that were a part of Nissan's off-road edition. Sitting in the back offers plenty of legroom and a drop-down monitor in the roof gives the little ones something to help pass the time. A large roll-down rear window, which allows access to the bed, is great for retrieving beverages on long road trips. Setting the gear selector to ‘D,' engaged the familiar 5.6L engine that offers enough power to get the 5,000-plus-pound truck up to highway speeds quickly. The RE505A five-speed automatic transmission presents smooth shifts, even with the throttle pinned for freeway merging and passing. Rancho shocks on all four corners provide a firm but forgiving suspension, and when towing a 4,000-pound truck on a double axle trailer, the Nissan had no problem towing up and down grades.
Looking at the as-tested price of $40K, and understanding Nissan's had eight years to improve the cabin materials, we were underwhelmed with the Titan. It's no surprise sales have continued to decline, and until a massive overhaul is performed, Nissan's fullsize offering will continue to fall further behind its competitors.