Seven years ago, Nissan knew what Americans liked in their pickup trucks: Big. Big engine. Big cab. Big towing capacity. So Nissan came barreling out of the gate with the aptly named Titan. It had the size and power needed to make half-ton-truck buyers (and the American truckmakers) take notice, and we even ranked it first in a truck comparison test at the time.
But now entering its seventh model year with no major changes, the tough Titan is now the oldest pickup on the market. All of the trucks from the Detroit Three (our new term for the former "Big Three") have been recently redesigned. Toyota's on its game, too, having introduced the very capable second-generation Tundra a few years ago. With these newer trucks, Chevy, Ford and Toyota have been able to outpace the Titan in terms of power, capability and comfort.
As a testament to what Nissan got right initially, the 2010 Nissan Titan remains a good truck. Its muscular 5.6-liter V8 can easily handle almost any hauling and towing task its owner may throw into or behind it, for instance, and its cabin is spacious and well-equipped. But faced with the above-mentioned deficits as well as the truck's long-running lack of customizable configurations, we'd recommend going with the Silverado, F-150, Ram or Tundra before settling on the Titan.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The 2010 Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck. It is available in king (extended) cab and crew cab configurations. The king cab gets a choice of 6-foot-6-inch or 8-foot beds, while the crew cab gets either a 5-foot-6-inch or 7-foot bed. From there, the Titan is available in XE, SE, Pro-4X and LE trim levels.
The Titan King Cab XE comes standard with 18-inch steel wheels, a lockable tailgate, 40/20/40-split front bench seat, 60/40-split rear bench seat, air-conditioning and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. The Titan Crew Cab XE adds power windows and locks, a power vertical-drop rear window and an eight-speaker stereo.
The XE Popular Equipment package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a front overhead console, a receiver hitch and, on the King Cab, a sliding rear window.
The Titan SE adds the content of the XE's Popular Equipment package, plus chrome grille and bumpers, power mirrors, keyless entry, a dampened-assist tailgate, manual lumbar support, a trip computer, an auxiliary audio jack and an in-dash six-CD changer with MP3 capability.
The SE Popular Equipment package adds an eight-way power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass. The SE Value Truck package adds to that a receiver hitch, foglights, Bluetooth, bucket seats and center console and a fold-flat front passenger seat. The SE Utility package adds a lockable bedside compartment, adjustable tie-down cleats and a spray-in bedliner. The SE Premium Utility package includes all that plus power-extending/heated sideview mirrors, front tow hooks and a premium Rockford Fosgate sound system with satellite radio.
The SE Heavy Metal (or Texas Titan, depending on region) adds chrome (18-inch) wheels/mirrors/door handles/side-step rails and a billet grille.
The Titan LE (crew-cab only) includes all the above equipment plus dual-zone automatic climate control, driver memory functions, leather seating, a four-way power passenger seat, a leather-wrapped shifter, a pair of additional speakers (for 10 total) a universal garage opener and wood trim.
The Pro-4X trim is available only with four-wheel drive and is equipped similarly to an SE with Popular Equipment and Value Truck packages. It adds Rancho shocks, heavy-duty skid plates, a lower final-drive ratio, all-terrain tires and a push-button rear locking differential. The Pro-4X's Premium Utility package is similar to the SE's. The Pro-4X Leather package adds leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat and driver memory functions.
Available only on Pro-4X and LE crew cabs are the Technology package (sunroof and a navigation system) and the Entertainment package (rear-seat DVD entertainment system). The LE can also be equipped with the Heavy Metal/Texas Titan package, which is similar to the SE's except that the chromed-out wheels measure 20 inches.
Powertrains and Performance:
The 2010 Nissan Titan is available with two-wheel drive or 4WD. There is only one powertrain combination: a 5.6-liter V8 hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission. The V8 is rated at 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. With the optional Tow package, the Titan extended cab is rated to pull up to 9,500 pounds while the crew cab is rated at just 100 pounds less. The transmission features a tow-haul mode for handling heavy loads.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Titan 4X4 is 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. The 2WD Titan rates 1 mpg better across the board.
Standard on all Titans are antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
In government crash testing, the 2010 Nissan Titan received a perfect five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for passenger protection. The Titan earned a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing; however, it scored only a Marginal rating (second worst of four) in that agency's side-impact test.
Interior Design and Special Features:
Both King Cab and Crew Cab Titans feature a spacious and functional interior design, with easy-to-use controls and numerous storage bins. Materials quality is only average, however. The rear seats fold up to provide a large load floor for hauling items inside the cab, and the rear doors on extended-cab models open nearly 180 degrees for easier access. With standard and optional features like a durable spray-on bedliner, movable tie-down cleats, handy tailgate illumination and a driver-side lockbox, the Titan can be quite the hard-working truck.
The 2010 Nissan Titan's precise steering is nicely weighted, which makes the truck relatively nimble and easy to drive on pavement. However, the rather stiff suspension (especially on Pro-4X models) can make the Titan feel skittish in off-road situations. The Titan's tractable 5.6-liter V8 delivers plenty of muscle right from idle. It sounds great, too, but that booming exhaust note can grow tiresome on long drives.