While not the first manufacturer to pop into people’s minds when it comes to full-size trucks, Nissan has been at it for a very long time; 55 years in the U.S. to be exact.
Most will think of Nissan and its heritage based on sporty cars such as the Fairlady Z or 240Z, but the reality is that the first vehicles from the brand to be sold in the U.S. were pickups, namely the 1960 Datsun 1200.
The first pickup produced in North America at the Smyrna, TN plant, rolled off the line in 1983. In fact, it was the first ever Nissan/Datsun vehicle built in North America.
In the last few decades, Nissan has expanded its truck presence by participating in a number of motorsport events by building dedicated race trucks for the Baja 1000, Dakar, and even for the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The one pickup that you remember -- the one that put Nissan/Datsun on the map -- was the 1990 Hardbody. From there, the Frontier and the subject of this story emerged, the Titan.
Although never a leader in the segment that includes truck royalty from the Big 3, comprising of the bestseller Ford F-150, the Titan did develop its own following.
This time around, the Canton, Mississippi-built Titan is back and more truck than ever. Everything about the Titan’s styling screams power and purpose. The front end is monstrous (that is to say, perfect) and the fully boxed ladder frame underneath it all sets the tone for what is the most capable Titan ever, and then some.
The kicker, and likely the most anticipated piece of news, is the details on the new Cummins diesel engine that will be offered as an option. The Columbus, IN assembled mill will not only provide the big pickup with loads of useable power, but far better fuel economy to boot. Output for the 5.0L turbocharged diesel V8 is 310 horsepower and a whopping 555 lb-ft of torque. The new Titan will also make gas V6 and V8 engines available.
Much research and consumer focus went into designing and creating a truck that truck buyers want, desire, and need. Much attention has not only been paid to exterior aesthetic cues but also to the interior.
Premium is a word that can be used to describe the level of quality materials and craftsmanship that goes into the new Titan’s cabin. Depending on trim, front and rear NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats, chrome finishers, and premium stitched trim can be found throughout the truck’s innards. Cool, thoughtful touches include large cupholders (I know, not a huge novelty, but…), a new 4-spoke steering wheel, and the previous Titan's gated centre shift lever was moved to the column, where it belongs.
Exterior features include LED bed rail lighting, and more flexible in-bed storage boxes, along with a number of improvements to the truck’s aerodynamics. The first Titan introduced a number of firsts including the damped tailgate, spray-in bedliner, and the lock-down channel system -- and they’re all back in 2016.
The new Titan is an evolution from the original. It is in fact more than that. As Nissan puts it: the new 2016 Nissan Titan is designed to be a warrior for "warriors."