2012 Nissan Titan King Cab - FROM $28,520
The 2012 Nissan Titan lineup possesses some rugged qualities and value opportunities, but overall it's outclassed by other, newer pickups.
What's New for 2012
There are no significant changes for the 2012 Nissan Titan.
Nissan was the first import automaker to truly challenge the American full-size pickup market with the introduction of its Titan in 2004. At that time, Toyota was building a 7/8-scale Tundra, and its truck wouldn't mature into an adult-sized pickup until 2007.
The Titan immediately drew praise for its big engine, big cab and big towing capacity. We even ranked it first in a comparison test, and the truck continued to garner positive sales and more acclaim in those formative years. But Nissan hasn't given the Titan a significant makeover since its debut, and the competition has moved far ahead in providing more power, better fuel economy, additional utility features and more upscale options.
The 2012 Nissan Titan remains a good truck that can fit the needs of many personal-use and workhorse owners. It'll do just about anything you ask of it, as witnessed by its respectable 9,500-pound maximum towing capacity, spacious cabin and versatile cargo options. But considering that other competing trucks are superior in terms of configuration availability, power, towing capacity, fuel economy and feature content, we'd recommend going with the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Nissan Titan is available in limited configurations and thereby appeals to a very focused full-size truck consumer. The lineup includes the extended-cab King Cab model with a standard 6-foot-6-inch cargo bed, and the Crew Cab that comes with a choice of a short 5-foot-7 or a long 7-foot-3 cargo bed. All six configurations are available in either two- or four-wheel drive.
Nissan offers four trim levels for the Titan -- S, SV, Pro-4X and SL -- but all are not available for every configuration. The base King Cab S comes standard with 18-inch steel wheels, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a 60/40-split rear bench seat, air-conditioning and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. The Titan Crew Cab S adds power windows and locks. Selecting the optional Popular Equipment package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sliding rear window (King Cab only), keyless entry (crew cab only), a receiver hitch and a seven-pin wiring harness connector. The S trim is not available in crew cabs with the long bed.
The Titan SV takes the S Popular Equipment package and adds chrome steel bumpers, full power accessories, tailgate assist, cruise control, an auxiliary audio jack and an in-dash six-CD changer. The optional SV Sport Appearance package features 20-inch alloy wheels and special exterior and interior trim.
The SV Value Truck package adds foglamps, rear parking sensors, a class-IV hitch, front bucket seats, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Bluetooth. The SV Utility package includes a lockable bedside compartment, adjustable tie-down cleats, tailgate area lighting, a 12-volt power source and a spray-in bedliner. The SV Premium Utility package includes all that plus power-adjustable pedals, power-extending/heated side mirrors, front tow hooks, a lower axle ratio and an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system with satellite radio.
The Titan SL includes all of the above and adds 20-inch alloy wheels (in optional chrome finish), dual-zone automatic climate control, driver memory functions, leather seating, a four-way power passenger seat, a 12-volt power source in the tailgate area, wood trim and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The SL Max Utility package adds step rails and other features found in the SV Premium Utility package.
Four-wheel-drive models, except the Crew Cab long bed, can be ordered with the Pro-4X trim. It's similar to the SV with the Value Truck and Utility package, then adds Rancho dampers, heavy-duty skid plates, all-terrain tires and an electronic locking rear differential. The Pro-4X's Premium Utility package is similar to the SV's, while the Leather package adds leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat and driver memory functions. The Pro-4X also has the most distinctive interior, with white-face gauges and red stitching on the seats and a leather-covered shift knob.
Available only on the Pro-4X and SL crew cabs is the Technology package, which includes a sunroof, navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system. On all trims except the S, an iPod adapter is optional.
Powertrains and Performance
Nissan offers only one engine for the 2012 Titan, a 5.6-liter V8 rated at 317 horsepower with 385 pound-feet of peak torque. It's connected to a standard five-speed automatic transmission that offers a tow/haul mode. Properly equipped, the Titan extended cab is rated to tow up to 9,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 4WD Titan is 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. The 2WD Titan rates 1 mpg better across the board.
Standard on all 2012 Nissan Titans are antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
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 examples of the Titan feature a spacious and efficient interior design, with controls that are easy to reach and operate, large dials on the instrument panel, numerous storage bins and a rather manly steering wheel. Materials quality is only average, however, with hard plastics covering most surfaces.
Seating is pleasantly comfortable but also utilitarian. The rear seats fold up to access a large, flat load floor for hauling items inside the cab, and the front passenger seatback folds forward to provide a work table. The rear doors on King Cab models open nearly 180 degrees for easier loading of gear or passengers. With standard and optional features like a durable spray-on bedliner, sliding tie-down cleats, handy tailgate illumination and a driver-side lockbox, the Titan is well-suited to work truck duties.
After the first few moments behind the wheel of the 2012 Nissan Titan, you notice first that the effort level of the rack-and-pinion steering is nicely weighted and second that the engine is spirited. This truck is relatively nimble and easy to drive on pavement, hence the generally favorable reception by owners who utilize the Titan mostly for personal use and not grunt work on the job site. The Titan's V8 is strong, but it no longer stands out in a very competitive full-size truck segment.