2021 Nissan Titan

By March 12, 2021

The 2021 Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck with an extended cab or crew cab that comes in standard or XD models. It lacks a stripped-down work version, but there is a Platinum Reserve model with premium leather and wood trim. There’s also the Pro-4X model with Bilstein shocks and electronic locking rear differential, designed for off-road.

Refreshed last year, the 2021 Nissan Titan is unchanged.

The Titan comes with a familiar 5.6-liter V-8 making 400 hp and a very strong 413 lb-ft of torque. In long-wheelbase XD models with rear-wheel drive, it can tow more than 11,000 pounds. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic that helps gas mileage but is sometimes indecisive in low gears.

Its ride is stiff, like a truck, and the Titan lacks optional adaptive dampers or an air suspension, to soften the ride.

The long 6.5-foot bed pairs with the extended cab, while a 5.5-foot bed matches the crew cab. The XD model is the exception, with the crew cab and long bed.

The 2021 Nissan Titan with rear-wheel drive gets an EPA-rated 16 mpg city, 21 highway, 18 combined, while four-wheel drive gets the same combined mileage. The larger tires on the Pro-4X cost 1 mpg.

The NHTSA gave the Titan four stars overall. The IIHS gave the Titan its top scores in five tests, but only “Acceptable,” in the front passenger side.

The Titan offers more standard safety equipment than rivals, including front and rear automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The Titan also comes with blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, a driver-attention monitor, and trailer sway control. Optional safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera system.

Model Lineup

Made in Mississippi, the 2021 Titan comes in S, SL, SV, Pro-4X, and Platinum models, with extended or crew cab configurations, and standard or long wheelbase.

The S model extended cab with rear-wheel drive costs $38,415. Standard equipment includes cloth bench seats, satellite radio, keyless start, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the excellent safety features.

The crew cab version adds $2,450, and four-wheel drive costs $3,130. Options include a Fender sound system and Bilstein shocks.

The more popular Titan SV adds bucket seats with better cloth and 18-inch wheels. An SV with crew cab and four-wheel drive costs $47,455. The Pro-4X off-road SV costs $5,000 more. Options include a 9.0-inch touchscreen.

The top Platinum Reserve trim in the XD heavy duty model costs more than $63,000 with standard four-wheel drive. It comes with 20-inch black alloy wheels, heated and cooled leather seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and running boards. Options include a sunroof and bed step.

All Titans come with a 5-year/100,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Exterior

The big blocky truck has a big chunky vertical hourglass grille and a mishmash of shapes and design influences.

The 2020 restyling brought rounded wheel arches, bulged fenders, and wrap-around lights, where hard right angles sprout from those LED headlights and taillights. A horizontal character line begins at the grille and runs along the body.

The Pro-4X off-road model uses black trim, twin red tow hooks, and skid plates to add presence to the size.

Interior

The extended cab Titan is pretty basic with cloth bench seats and limited rear space, while the XD is bigger. The crew cab feels just right.

The finish tends toward function rather than flair. There are massive plastic chrome pieces that stretch from the top of the dash down to the center console. Door pockets, cup holders, and a deep console create plenty of storage.

The base models use an 8.0-inch touchscreen that looks small in the face of the large instrument panel, and even the optional 9.0-inch screen seems lost between twin bands of dials and buttons.

The front bench seats in the S and SV crew cabs split 40/20/40, and are covered in cloth upholstery. Leather bucket seats are optional, reducing the seating capacity to five. The buttery leather seats in the Platinum Reserve can be heated and cooled and power-adjusted eight ways. That top model also improves on the rubbery and/or hard plastic trim, with wood panels, wood accents, and a wood-trimmed steering wheel.

Rear-seat passengers sit upright but have an excellent 38 inches of leg room. The 60/40-split bench can be flipped up for storage.

Driving Impressions

The 2021 Nissan Titan uses a 400-hp 5.6-liter V-8 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes a strong 413 lb-ft of torque, which comes at a fairly high 4,000 rpm, but there’s still plenty of low-end torque to get off the line and help tow up to 9,310 pounds; it can carry 1,650 pounds in its bed.

The 9-speed is fairly refined and quick, but it sometimes searches for the right gear during everyday driving.

The longer and stronger frame on XD models increases the payload to 2,390 pounds and the towing capacity to 10,880 pounds, or 11,040 pounds when equipped with a gooseneck.

The Titan rides like an older truck, stiff around town and jouncy when unladen, but it’s smooth enough on the highway. The XD is slightly taller and wider, and about a foot longer, which might be too long for some garages.

Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive optional, or standard on the Pro-4X and Platinum Reserve. Four-wheel-drive Titans have a two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range settings, but the Pro-4X model encourages off-roading with an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks, hill-descent control, a crawling gear, tow hooks, and skid plates.

Final Word

The 2021 Nissan Titan has excellent standard safety equipment, a competitive powertrain and a good warranty. We’d choose the standard edition, with the crew cab and the SV trim package for the best value.

 

—By Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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