Review: 2014 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Sep. 11, 2014 By Josh Burns
 

2014 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Review

Once we popped the Pro-4X Titan into 4Hi we had no trouble climbing the steep, rutted climbs on our off-road test loop.

Testing the Titan
In Greek mythology, the Titans were essentially a race of powerful God-like beings. Nissan no doubt chose this title to promote a strong, powerful image for its first full-sized truck. Since being introduced in 2004, the stout 5.6-liter motor has served the Titan well. Back when it was first introduced, the 305 horsepower rating and 379 lb-ft of torque was noteworthy and turned a few heads. While the Titanís V8 has been updated to 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque, the motor now feels a little underpowered when compared to motors such as the 2014 Toyota Tundraís 5.7-liter V8 rated at 381 hp and 401 lb-ft and the 2014 Ford F-150ís smaller 5.0-liter V8 rated at 360 hp and 380 lb-ft.

Putting the numbers race aside, whatís important is the real-world feel of the motor, and we have to say we still enjoy the Titanís V8 and donít feel that it is lacking. It has great low-end punch and plenty of acceleration on hand for hopping on the highway or making a pass. Our biggest concern with our Pro-4X 4x4 is the rated fuel economy of 12 mpg city and 17 highway. During testing, we were pleasantly surprised to get better city fuel economy at 13.8 mpg, though our highway rating was a bit lower than advertised at 15.7 mpg. While fuel efficiency may not be a strongpoint for the Titan, we are pleased with the 28-gallon fuel tank, which provides for improved range over other trucks in the segment with smaller tanks.

The Titanís instrumentation offers the driver all of the pertinent at-a-glance info. The digital display also shows the driver whether two-wheel drive (shown) or four-wheel-drive is engaged by filling in the wheel locations.

On the highway, the Titan rides smooth and comfortably. There are no major blind spots to worry about when changing lanes. Backseat passengers will appreciate the ample space during extended road trips on the Crew Cab. We also appreciate the optional storage bin under the rear seats as well, though weíd like it even more if they offered a lid for closure. Driving around town, the Titan doesnít feel cumbersome or awkward. We had no issues with the turning radius in tight parking lots, and we never struggled to fit into parking spots. The backup camera certainly makes backing up a simpler task, and the backup sensors offer additional aid by providing an audible warning when youíre getting close to an object. Our only gripe with the backup sensors is that with the truck bed down they constantly beep, so if youíre carrying a dirt bike, camping gear or hauling your buddyís furniture when he asked you to help him move (you know, because you have a truck), keep in mind this system offers nothing but annoyance when youíre in reverse.

Once we got the Titan in the dirt, we were pleased with the way the truck handled. We kept it in 2WD and didnít shift into 4Lo until we encountered a steep, rutted hill. The Titan handled the slow-speed stuff quite well, and the rear locker works just fine in 4Lo situations where added traction is needed. Most wonít need it unless they get into a really tricky spot Ė and we managed to do just that during our off-road test loop Ė but itís nice to know itís there just in case.

While we liked the Titanís slow-speed off-road handling, our main complaint with its performance off-road is the front suspension. While negotiating bumpy terrain at a more moderate pace in 4Hi, the truck was a bit bouncy for our liking. Weíre not sure whether itís the springs or the Rancho shocks, but some added stiffness would smooth out short-spaced bumps and increased driver confidence. Driving over deeper ruts made the truck dive too easily as well, though this makes having the front skid plate on the Pro-4X package all the more useful. In general, if youíre just cruising off-road, the Titan is just fine. If youíre looking to pick up the pace, however, its suspension struggles, and you may find yourself looking to the aftermarket for upgrades.

Once in the dirt, the Titan performed quite well at slow speed, but once we picked up the pace the front suspension had a tough time keeping up Ė a little more stiffness up front would go a long way.

Aesthetically, the Titan looks and feels like a nice truck. For the most part, everything is well laid out, easy to find and use while driving, and the added comfort features on our Pro-4x model make it that much more plush. The center stack may leave a little left to be desired in terms of its basic looking design, however. Our only issue with regard to the controls is that the A/C and stereo knobs can get easily confused when youíre trying to make a quick adjustment while driving (Note: there are steering wheel controls for the stereo). Otherwise, everything is easy to find and control Ė including the moonroof and power rear window.

The backseat storage is nice to have but we do wish it had lids.

The captain seats up front for driver and passenger are very comfortable, and itís nice to have the added electric adjustment options. We particularly appreciate the Utili-Track Bed Channel System, which makes cargo management that much easier. The added protection on our Titan is nice as well, as there are skid plates found on the oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and lower radiator. Itís also nice to have a 120-volt power outlet inside the cab (in the center console) and in the truck bed for powering equipment outside.

The Final Word
Even 10 years into its lifecycle, the Titan is still a good all-around truck. It really didnít blow us away in any one area, but it also didnít let us down. Sure, weíd like to see a little better performance in the dirt out of the Pro-4X package, but our fully equipped Titan offers good value for truck buyers, especially when considering that there are deals to be had at the end of the 2014 model year and that the diesel-powered option on the horizon for the 2016 will undoubtedly influence sale pricing of the gasoline-powered Titans. After destination charges, our test truck has an MSRP of $46,625, but we believe the truck could be had for less.

The 2014 Titan may not be breaking any new ground, but it's still a truck worth considering.

Other full-size truck manufacturers have stepped up their powertrains across the board, with some manufacturers even going to a larger 6.2-liter V8, and the Titanís 5.6-liter motor is now a little behind the power curve compared to them. That said, a truck doesnít drive on paper, and we still feel the Titan V8ís real-world, seat-of-the-pants performance is more than adequate. As with any purchase, the final sale price, potential dealer incentives and resale value are factors, but when allís said and done the Titan is absolutely an option worth exploring.

Specifications Ė 2014 Nissan Titan Pro-4X 4x4
Engine: 5.6L DOHC V8
Horsepower: 317 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque: 385 @ 3,400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic with overdrive
Height: 76.5 in.
Width: 79.5 in.
Length: 224.6 in.
Wheelbase: 139.8 in.
Approach Angle: 30.7 degrees
Departure Angle: 27.8 degrees
Breakover Angle: 21.8 degrees
Ground Clearance: 11.3 in. (front w/skid plate), 10.7 in (rear)
Curb Weight: 5557.8 lbs.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 7200.2 lbs.
Towing Capacity: 9400 lbs.
Fuel Tank: 28 gal.
Seating Capacity: 5
Gear Ratio: 3.357
MPG Rating: 12 city; 17 highway
Aver. MPG (tested): 13.8 city, 15.67 hwy
Price: $46,625*
*Sticker price as tested, includes destination charges


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