Having spent two weeks in a Nissan Titan back in 2012 on a road trip through Texas and Tennessee in the United States, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of the latest iteration, the 2019 Nissan Titan PRO-4X. This time, though, we were heading off-road in Morocco and into the wilds of the Sahara Desert.
Would the Nissan Titan work in Australia? Undoubtedly. I have no doubt that full-size American pick-ups are a real point of interest for anyone in Australia who needs to tow a medium to heavy weight often, tow a heavy trailer semi-regularly, or needs a proper workhorse with a big tray. People living on the rural fringe and in the country proper also embrace this kind of vehicle.
Reference the success of RAM (now offering the 1500 alongside the 2500 and 3500), and Chevrolet (2500 and 3500) under the Walkinshaw conversions banner, not to mention all the other smaller conversion companies that offer various other models including Tundra, Titan and the full gamut of F-Trucks.
Once you’ve towed with one of these full-size trucks, you’d never want to go back to a conventional dual-cab either – certainly not if you could afford the asking price. Take a look at our RAM 1500 tow story, where we hauled the CarAdvice Mitsubishi Triton with ridiculous ease. The most affordable currently is the RAM 1500, which can be had for $80,000 in entry-level Express guise or $99,950 in full-fruit Laramie guise.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about American trucks, beyond how spacious they are, is how well appointed they are. Used as default family vehicles in their country of origin, there’s a full list of standard features, creature comfort and technology on offer, making them a real step up from the dual-cabs we’re used to in Australia.
The PRO-4X is the sportier, toughened up, off-road-focused Titan variant. There’s a full suite of models available, as you’d expect, but think of this as the HiLux Rugged or Rogue of the Titan line-up.
The Titan gets the same 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine that powers the Patrol and the same automatic gearbox. The big V8 belts out 291kW and 534Nm in effortless fashion, and in Morocco we saw the on-road cruising fuel use sit around 12–13L/100km – not bad at all for something this big. Off-road that obviously goes up, especially when you’re working the driveline hard in thick sand, as we did in Morocco.
The payload for this model is listed at 676kg, but the focus for these trucks is towing, with a rating of 4132kg on that front. Yes, these trucks don’t have a payload to match the heaviest in our conventional dual-cabs, but you don’t see too many HiLux SR5s, Ranger Wildtraks, Navara ST-Xs and Triton Exceeds loaded up to capacity either. At the higher end of the pricing spectrum, these vehicles are all a lifestyle and image choice in Australia.
The 22.8 approach and 26.8 departure angles strengthen the off-road capabilities, as do proper low-range gearing and an electronic rear diff lock. Added to that, though, are Bilstein off-road performance shocks, all-terrain off-road rubber and hill descent control.
Other standard-feature highlights on this model include: extendable door mirrors for towing, remote trailer light check, trailer brake control, trailer sway control, LED bed rail lighting, spray-on bedliner, 120V power outlets in the cabin, and Nissan’s Utili-Trak system with adjustable cleats.
Tech inclusions are solid too, with Intelligent Around-view Monitor featuring four cameras to give a virtual 360-degree view, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and the Nissan Connect touchscreen infotainment system.
The cabin effectively puts our dual-cabs to shame – it features higher-quality plastics, trim and finishes than just about anything else you can compare it to, and has more storage, more room, and more comfort as well. The front seats are electrically adjustable and heated/cooled, and the steering wheel is also heated.
Storage is cavernous, as you’d expect, but the rear seats that fold up, and then feature fold-out sections that give you a fully flat floor across the back row, are clever and incredibly useful. In the second row, there is room for three adults across the bench, even with tall occupants up front. It’s amazing how big the cabin is, and how much room it has. In Australia, you’d have to look at the first two rows of a Patrol to even get close to what the Titan can offer. Visibility is excellent, aided mainly by the high-riding seating position, and as such there’s a commanding view in all directions, which helps off-road.
Our sections of mud, dirt, gravel and sand off-roading are punctuated by short highway runs. We tool through a few small Moroccan towns, but on the highway the Titan is effortless. The big V8 hums along below 2000rpm in top gear at 100km/h, and roll-on overtaking is effortless too.
There’s also a smooth relationship between engine and transmission, which becomes even more noticeable off-road in either 4High or 4Low. What that smoothness does more than anything is allow you to concentrate on the terrain in front of you, never losing momentum or forward progress.
While the Patrol is my personal favourite here off-road, the Titan is surprising despite its heft and wheelbase. In 4Low and with the diff locked in, it monsters the heavy Saharan sand, and you need to try to get stuck or do something silly. While the diesel Terra and Navara also tackle the same terrain, the Titan with its heavy-duty V8 engine does everything so much easier.
Its ride is exceptional too, either on-road or off, once again only pipped by the magic carpet ride of the Patrol. Rutted dirt and gravel, sharp drop-offs and washouts, and corrugated mud do little to unsettle the sense of calm inside the cabin – to the point you start to wonder why all dual-cabs can’t ride this well. Perhaps only the Ranger Raptor can match it in Australia.
Nissan prides itself on toughness with the Titan, and it offers a five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty in the United States, which is something we’d like to see mirrored on all dual-cabs in Australia.
So, will we see the Titan make it to Australia in RHD backed by Nissan? That’s hard to say, although talking to the engineers responsible for it, they would love to see their handiwork on sale Down Under. Interestingly, Nissan’s product planning representatives told CarAdvice that it wouldn’t need volume in the hundreds of thousands to justify the business case.
Whatever the wash-up, we’d love to see the Titan make it to Australia. Nissan fans would obviously love it, but it would add to the current RAM and Chevrolet offerings already making significant inroads into the local market.