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Like other Japanese automakers, the Nissan name indicates the promise of an expected level of quality in its vehicles. The Nissan Titan, the automaker’s full-size pickup truck, continues delivering on that promise nearly 20 years after its introduction. Unfortunately, however, not every model year Titan holds up as well as the others. 

A 2006 Nissan Titan drives through mud.
2006 Nissan Titan | Mark Elias/Bloomberg, Getty Images

The history of Nissan’s full-size truck

Nissan introduced its new full-size pickup truck, the Titan, in 2003 as an alternative to other models produced by “the big three Detroit” automakers and Toyota.

However, the Titan quickly outgrew its role as merely an alternative to other full-size pickup trucks, with the 2019 Nissan Titan finding a spot on the U.S. News list of “Best 2019 Full-Size Pickup Trucks,” solidly ahead of the 2019 Toyota Tundra and nearly tied with the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500. 

From its inception, the Titan received praise among North American buyers for its “roomy interior, towing capacity, fresh styling, and innovative features.

Nissan didn’t rest on the Titan’s success for long, giving the truck a refresh in 2008 that included:

  • New seating
  • A heated leather front seat
  • An updated center stack with radio and climate control
  • A larger navigation screen
  • Satellite Radio
  • Bluetooth integration 
  • The Pro-4X trim package option

The 2016 model year ushered in the Titan’s second generation with a new exterior style, a 5.6-liter V8 powertrain, and the addition of the Titan XD nameplate. Another mid-cycle refresh in 2020 dropped the regular cab configuration across the Titan lineup. It replaced the seven-speed transmission with a new nine-speed automatic, increased horsepower from 390 to 400, and added a “long list of standard driver-assist features.” 

Nissan Titan model years that may not hold up well

The first is the Titan that started it all, the 2004 model. The other is another older model, the 2006 Titan. 

Much like the first model year of a new vehicle generation, the first all-new model generally has flaws that the manufacturer works out over a few years, so seeing the 2004 Nissan Titan on this list may not be surprising.

The 2004 Titan has seven NHTSA recalls, 1,039 registered complaints, and poor owner satisfaction ratings. The NHTSA also issued seven recalls for the 2006 Nissan Titan but only registered 425 owner-reported complaints. 

How is the 2023 Nissan Titan?

The 2023 Nissan Titan starts at $41,845 for the base model S trim, which Car and Driver named the trim to buy. The Titan’s aging platform contributes to this recommendation as reviewers felt it best serves as a work truck instead of a family vehicle.

However, the S trim’s standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warnings provide substantial value for a base model offering. 

The 2023 Titan has a single engine and transmission option but provides drivetrain options for rear or all-wheel drive. The 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 has 413 lb-ft of torque and comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission. 

The Titan’s suspension provides a smooth ride and confident handling. However, it lags behind the competition for payload capacity, towing power, and off-road capability. If you need a more truck-like Nissan, consider the Titan XD. 


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