By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/4/2011
To all those Doubting Thomases out there who thought a foreign pickup truck could never compete with the offerings from Ram, Chevy and Ford, the 2012 Nissan Titan politely says sit down and rethink your position. Although there is no Titan 3/4- or 1-ton model available, the majority of pickups sold in the U.S. are of the half-ton variant, placing the 2012 Titan right in the thick of things. Every bit the equal to its domestic rivals, the Titan possesses a powerful V8 engine, sturdy boxed frame and a number of unique bed and cab equipment features designed to make life with a pickup truck a little easier. While marketed primarily to those who do light- to medium-duty work, it's probably a better bet that the 2012 Nissan Titan will find a home with those who like to spend weekends on the lake with their boat, or up in the mountains with their dirt bikes. For folks who need to venture far from the beaten path, the 2012 Nissan Titan's PRO-4X off-road package should be enticing.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for an alternative to the commonplace Ford, Ram or Chevy offerings, the 2012 Nissan Titan truck offers a unique twist on the full-size pickup formula, with bold styling and a proven record of resale and reliability.
The 2012 Nissan Titan's 317-horsepower V8 is not the strongest in the class, falling short of the Ram's 390-horsepower HEMI V8 and the Chevy's 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. If you're looking to haul or tow really heavy loads, the Titan's half-ton configuration can't match the Chevy, Ford and Ram 3/4- and 1-ton models. Nissan also doesn't offer a diesel engine option or a dually rear end.What's New for 2012
For 2012, Nissan offers a new Sport Appearance Package on the Titan King Cab and Crew Cab SV models. Included in the package are 20-inch SL aluminum-alloy wheels, dark grille treatment, body-colored front and rear bumpers, black step rails, PRO-4X seats with silver contrasting stitching, lockable bedside storage compartment, a body-side sport "Titan" graphic, white-faced gauges, foglights, and Captain's chairs with a center console.Driving It Driving Impressions
Although it does not have the most powerful V8 engine in its class, calling the 2012 Nissan Titan pickup truck weak would be a gross misrepresentation. The 5.6-liter V8 standard in all Titan trucks (there is no V6 option, even on the base truck), delivers a respectable 317 horsepower and, more important, 385 lb-ft of torque. The Titan's V8 is responsive at all speeds, delivering impressive power to pass traffic on steep inclines. Nissan's gated 5-speed automatic transmission came in handy on steep descents, where we often found ourselves shifting through the lower gear ranges to slow the vehicle and spare the brakes. This feature is particularly helpful when towing, too. We did sense some vibration telegraphed through the steering wheel, but the Titan's ride was composed and calm. Overall, our testers concluded that the 2012 Nissan Titan pickup delivers a smooth, controlled ride and exhibits better-than-average steering and handling response.Favorite Features
Wide-Swinging Rear Door
The hinged rear door on the Nissan Titan King Cab model swings back 168 degrees to create exceptionally convenient interior access.
Exterior Storage Box
The 2012 Nissan Titan's exterior storage box (located behind the left rear wheel) is perfect for storing such items as jumper cables or muddy clothing.
Thanks to Nissan's wide and varied trim options, the 2012 Nissan Titan truck can be anything from a bang-it-up work truck to near-luxury pickup. Bench seating and simple interior fabric choices grace the base-model trucks, which also include a column shifter. Upper-end models move to Captain's-chair-style seating with a center console gated shifter and wide center storage compartment big enough to fit a tablet or laptop. The advantage of a gated shifter is that it guides the shift lever through a jagged slotted path, which allows for more precise gear control when changing gears. Inside, while the 2012 Nissan Titan pickup's interior looks large and accommodating, some of our taller testers found headroom to be at a premium, even with the power driver's seat at its lowest position.
The 2012 Nissan Titan is offered in King or Crew Cab (there is no regular cab truck), with a choice of long or short wheelbase and three different bed lengths. Knowing they'd have to go the extra mile to win over die-hard domestic fans, Nissan engineers added clever and useful features such as a built-in bed channel system featuring movable cleats for securing items, and a factory spray-in bedliner to keep your investment looking new. Further usable features include a rear door on King Cab models that opens a full 168 degrees and a lockable external storage area located behind the left wheel well. The 2012 Titan truck offers 9.8 inches of ground clearance on 2-wheel-drive models and 10.7 inches on PRO-4X trims.
The 2012 Nissan Titan S has a 317-horsepower 5.6-liter V8, 5-speed automatic transmission with a Tow/Haul mode, 4-wheel Active-Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) brakes, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags, air conditioning, full gauges, exterior cargo light, dual manual side mirrors, full bench seat, a rear 12-volt outlet, AM/FM stereo with CD, fuel-tank skid plate, cruise control, tilt wheel, tire-pressure monitor and 18-inch steel wheels. The S Crew Cab, SV, SL and PRO-4X add even more standard features including power locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, a sliding rear window and 18-inch alloy wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim and include 4-wheel drive, a tow package, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Rockford Fosgate audio, a spray-in bedliner, an 8-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, rear-seat DVD entertainment system (on the Crew Cab), navigation, a limited-slip rear differential, bed extender, a HomeLink Universal Transceiver, and the SV Sport Appearance Package.
Unlike many of its competitors, the 2012 Nissan Titan offers only one engine choice, and it's the most powerful V8 Nissan builds. The 5.6-liter V8 produces an abundance of power, but it cannot reasonably be expected to deliver the best fuel economy. A no-cost option is the same engine fitted with technology making it E85 compatible.
317 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (2WD, gasoline), 12/17 (4WD, gasoline), 9/13 (2WD, E85), 9/13 (4WD, E85)
The 2012 Nissan Titan King Cab S full-size pickup has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $31,000, while a fully loaded PRO-4X Crew Cab tops out around $46,000. To make your best deal on a Titan, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction price paid for the truck in your area. Kelley Blue Book expects the 2012 Nissan Titan truck to maintain an average resale value over a 5-year period, holding below the Ford F-150 Super Cab, the Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab 1500 and Ram 1500 Quad Cab.