Blue Water Healthy Living
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Peters’ Garage: 2023 Nissan Titan

By Eric Peters

A number of new half-ton trucks no longer even offer V8 engines; the rest offer them as optional engines. Only one half-ton truck still comes standard with one.

That would be Nissan’s Titan, which hasn’t been “updated” much since the 2016 model year.

If you like a truck like they used to build ’em, that is a very good thing.

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What It Is

The Titan is Nissan’s rival to the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra half-ton (1500 series) pickups.

It is the oldest 2023 truck of the bunch because the current truck is essentially the same truck as the 2016 model, only you can still buy it brand-new, with zero miles on the clock and a new vehicle warranty — the best whole-vehicle warranty (five years, 100,000 miles) in the segment.

And that’s not the only new half-ton truck that comes standard with a V8 — and a 9,300-pound tow rating.

Prices start at $39,700 for the base S trim King cab with 2WD. A top-of-the-line Platinum Crew Cab with 4WD — and the same 400 horsepower V8 — stickers for $61,980.

What’s New

A Midnight Edition with blacked-out styling elements is available, but only with Crew Cab versions.

What’s Good

Most standard horsepower and towing capacity in the class.

All steel (rather than aluminum) construction.

Available with a three-across bench seat, just like they used to make ’em.

What’s Not So Good

No two-door/regular cab configuration.

The longest-available bed is only 6.5 feet long.

Rivals can tow more when equipped with their optionally available engines.

Under The Hood

Every Titan, irrespective of trim, comes standard with the biggest, strongest standard engine in the class. It’s a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 foot-pounds of torque.

It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic and either 2WD (rear-drive) or 4WD, with a two-speed transfer case and low-range gearing.

Gas mileage (16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway) isn’t Prius-like, but this is a truck. And it’s only slightly worse than some of the newest six-cylinder-only trucks, like the new Tundra, which carries an 18 city, 24 highway rating.

The stats stack up similarly versus the other 1500s.

On The Road

The Titan is one of the few new trucks that still drives like an older truck — heavy and solid — because it is. No aluminum panels to cut weight and add to your cost of repairs (and probably also insurance premiums, for just that reason). A solid rear axle and leaf springs in the rear are simpler and more inherently rugged because there’s less to break or wear out than an independent/coil-spring rear.

The price you pay for this truckish ruggedness is, of course, a less car-like ride, especially on unpaved roads. You will feel some axle hop reverb, but this can be tamped down by slowing down.

You may notice the wide-load (48-foot) turning circle, which is partly a function of the King/Crew-only (no regular cab) layout. It is also probably why Nissan does not offer an eight-foot bed with this pickup, as that would probably push the turning circle past 50 feet.

On the other hand, the steering isn’t electrically assisted (rack and pinion, instead) and so hasn’t got that absence of feedback (or artifical feel) you sometimes get with electrically boosted power steering.

At The Curb

There are two available bed lengths: 6.5 feet and 5.5 feet.

The one you get depends on which cab you pick. Crew cabs, with four full-size doors and more room inside for passengers, get the shorter 5.5-foot bed. King cabs, with two standard-size and two smaller-size rear doors and less room for passengers, get more room for cargo — in the standard 6.5-foot bed.

The lack of an eight-foot bed limits the length of what you can carry — at least with the tailgate up. But with it down, you can still carry home 4×8 sheets laid flat, and Nissan’s adjustable tie-down system helps secure the load.

The Rest

The Titan still has an analog main gauge cluster rather than an LCD flatscreen. If you don’t like these LCD flatscreens, this will appeal to you. Also appealing is the presence of old-school 12V power points, as opposed to USB-only.

There’s one more thing that’s unusual — unique, in fact — about the Titan. It’s the Titan XD, which is built to be tougher than a half-ton but not as massive and (for some) overwhelming as moving up to a three-quarter ton (2500) truck. It has a heavier-duty frame and is set up for gooseneck trailering and can pull up to 11,033 pounds.

The Bottom Line

It is very, make that extremely, likely that the Titan will be profoundly altered for 2024 — in the manner of altering your dog. This, therefore, is probably your last chance to buy an old truck that’s still brand-new.

View the Nissan Titan this week.

Eric’s latest book, “Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!” will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM

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