2012 Nissan Titan Review and Prices

Last Updated: Oct 12, 2011

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2012 Nissan Titan Buying Advice

The 2012 Nissan Titan is the best pickup for you if your vehicular needs can be met only by a big, brawny truck -- and you’re no domestic-brand loyalist.

The 2012 Nissan Titan full-size pickup truck should carry over with only minor updates. The 2012 Titan will likely continue in extended- and crew-cab configurations and a single V-8 engine. The Titan’s recent history has been complicated. A redesign based on the Dodge Ram pickup was originally slated for model-year 2012, but the co-development deal with Chrysler collapsed, and Nissan is now reportedly set to go it alone in developing a new version of the Titan. It may arrive in 2014 as an early model-year 2015 release. Titan sales have suffered more than most truck lines as a result of both the recession and changing consumer tastes. As is the case with Toyota and its Tundra model, Nissan was never able to sway sufficient numbers of brand-loyal full-size truck buyers away from the likes of Chevy and Ford, while the “casual” truck buyers who might have otherwise considered an import brand are shopping in other automotive segments these days.

Should you wait for the 2012 Nissan Titan or buy a 2011 Nissan Titan? There’s no reason to wait. The 2012 Titan won’t get any major changes, and deep discounts and lucrative rebates on 2011 models are out there for the taking. In fact, if you need a big pickup and fancy the Titan, head for your local Nisan dealer; if they still have any 2010 models on the lot with slashed sticker prices, so much the better because in every way that matters a 2010 Titan is the same truck as the 2011 and 2012 Titan.

2012 Nissan Titan Changes back to top

Styling: The 2012 Nissan Titan should see only minor cosmetic alterations, likely limited to one or more additional exterior color choices. This means we’ll continue to see the same basic look the Titan has had since its model-year 2004 debut as Nissan’s first full-size pickup. Though the Titan’s styling is appropriately muscular, it’s arguably become the blandest-looking full-size pickup truck in production. Its major defining visual elements are its three-section front grille treatment and wide headlamps, and they’re looking dated.

The 2012 Nissan Titan will continue to be a tall-riding truck; shorter passengers will require assistance climbing up and into either of its two cab styles. The King Cab is an extended-cab with forward-opening rear “access panel” doors and a smallish rear-seating area. The Crew Cab has four conventional rear doors and a much roomier rear cabin. You might even consider the Crew Cab a full-size SUV with a pickup bed instead of a cargo hold. If the 2012 Nissan Titan’s interior gets any changes they’ll be minor. It will remain comfortable and purposefully designed, with the Crew Cab versions providing generous rear-seat legroom.

The 2012 Nissan Titan King Cab will continue with a 138.9-inch wheelbase – the distance between the front and rear axles -- and have a 6-foot 6-inch-long cargo bed. The basic 2012 Titan Crew Cab will ride that same wheelbase and use 5-foot 7-inch bed. The 2012 Titan Crew Cab SV Long Wheelbase model has a 159.5-inch wheelbase and a 7-foot 3-inch cargo bed, which is the longest bed offered on any crew cab pickup truck.

With all bed lengths there’s plenty of room between the wheel wells to carry four-foot-wide sheets of building materials. One of Titan’s defining elements and one likely to continue is its available “high utility” cargo bed treatment that features a factory-applied spray-on bedliner, a lockable storage compartment, cargo-area light, 12-volt power outlet, and a customizable “Utili-track” tie-down system.

The 2012 Nissan Titan will continue in four levels of trim: the base S, better-equipped SV, the sporty off-road oriented PRO-4X, and top-of-the-line SL. The SL trim will likely continue only in  regular--wheelbase Crew Cab versions. A front bench seat (with column-mounted shifter) will likely remain standard on S and SV versions, while separate captain’s chairs (and a console shifter) will come with PRO-4X and SL models. The latter two versions’ center console will again include a 12-volt power point and various storage cubbies, will be able to hold a one-liter beverage bottle, and remain large enough to accommodate hanging files for remote business activities. An optional fold-flat front seatback will continue to be offered that can double as a mobile desk.

Rear-seat cushions on King Cab models will again flip up on a 60/40-split basis to create a large and secure cargo area; hooks can be added to the rear seats to secure plastic grocery bags. All versions will continue to feature the requisite number of cupholders and storage areas, while an available overhead console on King Cabs will add rear audio controls and even more storage for sunglasses, cell phones, and the like.

Mechanical: The 2012 Nissan Titan is unlikely to receive any substantive changes to its platform, powertrain, or major mechanical components. As before, the Titan will ride on a sturdy fully boxed frame that’s also sees duty in the Nissan Armada and Pathfinder SUVs and in the luxury-oriented Infiniti QX56 SUV.

Expect the sole engine to again be Nissan’s 5.6-liter “Endurance” V-8 and Titan’s only transmission to be a five-speed automatic. The V-8 should continue at 317 horsepower and a strong 385 pound-feet of torque. Torque is the key ingredient in acceleration and especially in pulling power and Titan launches with verve and has a maximum towing capacity of 9,500 pounds when properly equipped. The trailer rating isn’t among the highest in this competitive set but should meet the towing needs of most buyers in the half-ton-pickup class. 

The 2012 Titan will probably again be available in a flex-fuel version at no extra cost. It’ll be able to run on either straight gasoline or any mix of E85 ethanol, which is a blend of 85 percent alcohol and 15 percent gasoline. Benefitting from government subsidies, E85 is usually less expensive per gallon than conventional gas in most areas, but it’s not available at all service stations and usually cuts fuel economy by about 35 percent.

The 2012 Nissan Titan will likely carry on with its double-wishbone suspension configuration up front and the big-truck-conventional solid axle with leaf springs in the rear. Only the Dodge Ram 1500 breaks tradition by combining its solid rear axle with a coil-spring rear suspension. Setups like Titan’s date to the covered wagon era and are durable but do little to help soak up potholes and pavement irregularities.

Speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering will continue to help manage this truck’s bulk, but expect the 2012 Nissan Titan to still be a handful to maneuver, especially in tight urban areas. It should continue to feel most at home on the open road where it will remain secure and stable at highway speeds. Standard four-wheel disc antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist will continue to help bring Titan to a halt with authority. Nissan’s Active Brake Limited-Slip Differential will likewise remain standard.

Rear-wheel-drive will continue as the standard configuration. All versions of the 2012 Titan will also again be available with a manually selectable “shift on the fly” four-wheel-drive (4wd) system that includes low-range gearing for crawling through deep mud or snow. PRO-4X versions should  continue with 4wd only and include heavy-duty Rancho-brand shock absorbers, a lower final gear ratio, and an electronic locking rear differential for added off-road prowess.

Features: Expect the 2012 Nissan Titan’s equipment packaging to remain fairly close to that of the 2011 model. The 2012 Titan S base model will continue modestly equipped as a basic work truck. S-model King Cabs, for example, come with roll-down windows and manual door locks, though Crew Cab S models get power windows and locks, plus a power sliding rear bed-access window.

The 2012 Nissan Titan SV models will likely again add to S models such items as 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome steel bumpers, a front overhead console, cruise control, and remote keyless entry. In addition to the aforementioned mechanical upgrades, 2012 Titan PRO-4X versions should continue standard with specific interior leather upholstery and off-road-optimized wheels and tires.

Expect the 2012 Nissan Titan SL to again ride 20-inch aluminum wheels and include leather upholstery, simulated wood interior trim, the utility-bed features, dual-zone auto-climate control, and power folding heated side mirrors. SL Crew Cabs will likely continue add front and rear overhead consoles and both SL cab styles will get Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone interface and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with XM satellite radio.

As before, the 2012 Nissan Titan should offer a plethora of comfort- and convenience-oriented optional equipment, including a rear DVD entertainment system for Crew Cab models, power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, a navigation system, power moonroof, and heated front seats. Options will likely continue to be offered only in packages, with certain features limited to specific trim levels.

Side-curtain bags covering both seating rows will continue to come standard to protect outboard riders’ heads in side collisions; they’ll also deploy if sensors detect an impending rollover.

2012 Nissan Titan Prices back to top

Prices for the 2012 Nissan Titan had not been released in time for this review but should remain close to their 2011 levels.

For 2012, expect the rear-drive King Cab S base prices to range from around $27,500-$30,500 with rear and 4WD, with Crew Cab versions ranging from about $30,000-$33,000. (Prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Nissan’s fee for the 2011 Titan was $950.)

The SV should command base prices from about $29,500 with rear-drive, short wheelbase, and King Cab configuration to around $34,500 with 4WD, long wheelbase, and a Crew Cab. The 4WD PRO-4X will likely carry base prices of around $35,500 with a King Cab and about $37,500 with a Crew Cab. The top SL Crew Cab’s base prices should range from approximately $38,000 with rear-drive and around $40,500 with 4WD.

Option package prices will also likewise remain steady for the 2012 Nissan Titan. Expect a retail price of around $1,100 for a package on the S that includes a modicum of basic features like cruise control and a sliding rear window. A “Value” package on the SV will likely continue to offer amenities like captain’s chairs with a center console, Bluetooth, fog lights, rear parking proximity sensors, and a trailer harness for around $1,300; the bed storage and utility features will likely still be bundled in the “Utility” package and sell for around $1,000. A PRO-4X Luxury Package will likely continue to bring the off-road optimized version up to SL equipment levels for around $2,300.

2012 Nissan Titan Fuel Economy back to top

EPA mileage estimates for 2012 models had not been released in time for this review but the 2012 Nissan Titan’s fuel-economy ratings are not expected to change.

This means you can expect the 2012 Nissan Titan to achieve EPA ratings of 13/18 mpg city/highway for 2wd versions and 12/17 mpg for 4wd models. These ratings are on the low side, particularly with domestic-brand rivals now boasting ratings of as much as 20 mpg on the highway with a V-8 engine, and even better fuel economy with an available V-6, which the Titan doesn’t offer.

2012 Nissan Titan Release Date back to top

The 2012 Nissan Titan should reach dealer’s showrooms in September 2011.

What's next for the 2012 Nissan Titan back to top

As discussed earlier, Nissan had planned for a new Titan to hit the market by 2011 or 2012 as a version of the Dodge Ram 1500. When those plans fell through, Nissan decided to develop the next-generation Titan independently. That means the current version will likely carry over until model-year 2014 or 2015. Given that the Titan isn’t particularly a strong seller, there’s always the possibility Nissan could still decide to give up on the vehicle altogether, especially if the big-truck segment remains depressed long after the recession subsides.

Assuming there is a second-generation Nissan Titan, expect major mechanical changes; many will be necessary to meet stricter federally mandated corporate average fuel economy rules that will be phased in by 2016. The Titan will likely go on a weight-reduction program because removing excess pounds is the most-effective way to boost fuel economy. King Cab and Crew Cab models with rear- and four-wheel drive will likely return, though Nissan may limit the truck to one wheelbase, again to save weight.

An off-road oriented PRO-4X or similar version isn’t a guaranteed part of the model mix. But it is probable a future Titan will come with a standard V-6 engine as a fuel-economy leader. If Nissan follows the lead Ford is setting with the F-150, the next Titan could offer a turbocharged V-6 designed to provide eight-cylinder power and six-cylinder fuel economy. A V-8 will likely continue, albeit tweaked to maximize fuel economy. Additional features from Nissan’s corporate parts in will likely include such items as lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems.

2012 Nissan Titan Competition back to top

Toyota Tundra: The other import-brand full-size pickup has suffered similar acceptance problems in the U.S. despite being a good-looking and eminently capable truck with good road manners and a wide product line. A 236-horsepower V-6 is the base engine, with V-8s of 310 and 381 horsepower also offered; five- and six-speed automatics are the transmissions, depending on engine. Tundra’s been around in its current basic form since model-year 2007 and isn’t likely to be redesigned until model-year 2014. Base prices range is roughly 24,000-$43,500.

Ford F-150: The latest version of Ford’s venerable F-150points the direction for future full-size pickups, at least powertrain-wise. A new range of engines debuted for model-year 2011 and includes a fuel-efficient 300-hp 3.7-liter V-6 for light-duty use, and V-8s of 360 and 411 horsepower for heavy hauling. The surprise was introduction of a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 from Ford’s EcoBoost family of engines. It has a V-6-like fuel economy but V-8-capability with 365 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque, and an 11,300-pound tow rating. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line. Specialty versions include the off-road sporty SVT Raptor, King Ranch, and Harley-Davidson editions. A long list of options includes a dashboard-mounted computer that can both connect to the Internet (with a monthly subscription charge) and help keep track of tools and other equipment via radio-enabled tags. Base prices range from about $24,000-$42,000.

Dodge Ram 1500: Boasting the best ride and handling in the class thanks to its coil-spring rear suspension but wrapped in bold, burly styling, the Ram 1500 can fulfill a wide range of needs. It offers multiple cab configurations and cargo-box sizes. A fuel-saving 215-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 engine powers 2wd regular-cab and Quad Cab models. Other versions offer a choice of a 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 or a 390-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Clever features include an optional “RamBox” cargo system with weatherproof and lockable storage bins built into the cargo bed rails; four-door versions feature two “store in the floor” bins that are large enough for ten 12-ounce cans and ice. Options include either of two satellite TV systems and Chrysler’s UConnect web system that turns the truck into a Wi-Fi hot spot. Base prices range from approximately $21,500-$43,000.

2012 Nissan Titan Next Steps