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Column-mounted shifters are nothing new in pickup trucks. Actually, some manufacturers are getting away from them in favor of dials or electronic buttons. However, the Nissan Titan is a different breed of full-size pickup. In the newer models, drivers get a shifter on the column, but you probably didn’t know you could manually shift the truck with it.

Didn’t the Nissan Titan have a console-mounted shifter?

When the Nissan Titan debuted in the 2004 model year, it departed from traditional pickup trucks in a few ways. Yes, its V8 had 32 valves instead of 16, but the shifter was one of the more noticeable things. It was in the center console where cupholders are supposed to be. Spaces for drinks were still present, but the Titan’s shifter was a point of contention for many.

When did the Titan shift to a column-mounted configuration?

The Titan gained updated styling and a medium-duty diesel option in the second generation beginning in the 2016 model year. But Nissan also put the shifter elsewhere. Why?

TorqueNews asserts that Nissan did its research to find what Titan customers wanted. Reportedly, their research found that modern pickup truck buyers need three cupholders rather than two. Therefore, the shifter was moved from the center stack to the column.

The Nissan Titan’s button-engaged manual shifting

Although a shifter on the column is nothing out of the ordinary, some of the buttons on it are. Located near the end of the gear lever stalk are buttons with arrows indicating “up” and “down.” Owners will be able to have much more control over the six-speed Aisin automatic in the diesel Titan or the seven or nine-speed Jatco auto in the gasoline version.

Those towing with their Titans—especially the Cummins-powered Titan XD—will find the feature a welcome addition. Maintaining control with a trailer in tow is much easier when drivers lock the truck into gear. Therefore, the revs can be kept high when ascending a hill, and the trunk won’t run away on a steep descent.

Is the Nissan Titan good for towing?

The 2023 Nissan Titan has a manual-shifting column shifter
2023 Nissan Titan | Nissan

Out of the six full-size trucks currently on sale in the U.S., the Nissan Titan has the lowest overall towing capacity. For the gasoline version, the Titan’s 5.6-liter V8 with 400 horsepower and 413 pounds-feet of torque can manage 9,320 pounds. With the 5.0-liter diesel XD, that jumps to 11,033 pounds with the aid of beefier suspension components.

Even though the gasoline Titan can’t break the 10,000-pound mark, its limit will likely be enough for daily towing requirements. Considering most may not even tow with it, the manual feature could be fun for pop and bang-producing downshifts.


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