NEW MIDNIGHT EDITION PACKAGE GIVES NISSAN TITAN A BOLDER LOOK FOR 2018
For 2018, the Titan takes on a more aggressive, rugged appearance with a new optional Midnight Edition package that includes a body color front grille with dark insert, dark headlamps, black fog lamp finisher, black exterior badging, black mirrors, black door handles, 20-inch black wheels, body color front and rear bumpers, black step rails, charcoal interior trim and "Midnight Edition" exterior badge.
It kind of looks like a truck Batman might take if he had to make a Home Depot or Lowe’s run.
Pickups in general seem to be all about choices, and such is the case with the Titan.
Five trim levels — S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve — are offered in either 4X2 or 4X4 configurations with one exception. The PRO-4X model is available as a 4X4 only.
Three cab styles — Single Cab, Crew Cab and a new King Cab — are offered as well as three bed lengths. Single Cab models get an 8-foot bed, Crew Cabs a 5.5-foot bed, and King Cabs a 6.5-foot bed.
And then, of course,there are all kinds of options, including the new Midnight Edition, to allow you to pretty much customize your truck to your own personal styling preferences.
Powering the Titan is a 5.6-liter V8 engine that boasts 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, giving it slightly more punch than the 317/385 more than the previous generation offered.
It is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with 4X4 models getting a shift-on-the-fly system that allows you to go to automatic, 4-Hi or 4-Lo mode with the turn of a knob on the dash.
Maximum towing capacity and payload are 9,740 and 1,940 pounds, respectively, for 4X2 models, 9,560/1.950 for 4X4s.
My test drive for the week was an SL 4X4 crew cab model equipped with the Midnight Edition package with a list of features that, if purchased separately, would have added $1,810 to the base MSRP of $50,360. That’s almost $600 more than the $1,250 they cost as a package.
With other options like rear bumper step, Titan Box, electronic tailgate lock, and special floor mats plus the $1,295 destination charge, the final tab came to $54,775.
That is near the top of the price range for the Titan lineup as well as for the segment as a whole. The Titan S Single Cab 4X2 starts at just over $30,000, and even the S Crew Cab carries a price tag of well under $36,000.
The Crew Cab’s interior is very functional and roomy with those in the second row getting a generous 38.5 inches of legroom.
The SV has leather-appointed, heated captain’s chairs with an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat as standard, and the 60-40 split leather-appointed rear seats flip up for under-the-seat storage and a fold-flat floor.
Standard features include Bluetooth hands-free phone system, front-and-rear sonar systems, a rearview monitor, dual-zone automatic climate control, NissanConnet with Navigation and voice recognition, and a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system that includes SiriusXM satellite radio.
All that makes the Titan not only a workhorse but a vehicle suitable for family transportation, too. Its ride is firm but comfortable enough and quiet as well, which keeps certain riding companions happy.
So why is the Titan lagging so far behind in sales in a segment dominated by Ford’s F-Series, Chevy’s Silverado (though Chevy numbers for May are not available because of GM’s quarterly reports), and the Ram?
Even Toyota’s Tundra is outselling the Titan for the year through May with 45,837 sold in the U.S. through May to the Titan’s 19,173. And the Titan’s year-to-date numbers through May were down 5.4 percent from last year.
Brand loyalty no doubt has something to do with it. The domestic trio has long dominated the market, and though the Titan was developed with input from company teams located in Tennessee, California, Michigan, Arizona, and Mississippi, and is assembled in Canton, Mississippi, with the V8 coming from Decherd, Tennessee, its roots are still in the Far East.
Also, however, as nice as the Titan is — and U.S. News & World Report analysts rate it ahead of Toyota’s Tundra — it needs something to separate it from its competitors, to make potential buyers take notice.
Exactly what that would be I must confess I don’t know. Such things like that are well above my pay grade.
What I liked about the 2018 Nissan Titan: The cabin is comfortable and nice and roomy. Technology is user-friendly (it took mere seconds to link my cell phone). The standard running boards make getting in and out much easier, though I might like to see a grab handle above the front doors in addition to the one on the A-pillar.
What I didn’t like about the 2018 Nissan Titan: The standard navigation screen is on the small side and not easy to catch at a glance, but adjustments are easy enough.
Would I buy the 2018 Nissan Titan? I’m not a pickup guy, so no, I wouldn’t buy it. But it is a very utilitarian truck with a long list of standard features. Optional “Midnight Edition” features give it an especially aggressive look. Overall, it’s worth a look if you are shopping in the segment.