We have had our 2018 Nissan Titan Pro-4X for quite some time. We have taken it off-road, a lot, taken it towing, and lived with this truck in many different environments. However, there is one area where we haven’t tested the Titan for any decent length of time, the high country of Colorado and in the snow. Fortunately, I had a place to stay in Buena Vista, Colorado. So, I took the Titan with me to see how it performs in some of the harshest living conditions (for a vehicle, at least) that Colorado has to offer. I got to put the Pro-4X package to good use, as well as test the Titan’s performance in the snow, and on some less-than well-kept service roads. All of which happened at or above 9,000 feet of elevation. Oh, and while I was at it, I decided to do a mountain MPG loop, just cause.
Not lacking for power, even at 9,000 ft.
If you didn’t already know, the Titan has a 5.6L naturally aspirated V8 that makes 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, down at sea level at least. Power is sent to all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. I was expecting the 5.6 to struggle a fair amount up at 9,000 feet. Especially considering the lack of forced induction. But, much to my surprise, the 5.6 kept chugging with little struggle, even while traveling through multiple 12,000 foot passes along highway 285. Plus, if you haven’t heard, this engine makes one of the best noises we have heard out of a factory truck.
The only part of this drivetrain that I don’t like is the transmission. The 7-speed auto is perfectly smooth, but when it has to work hard, towing or high up in the mountains, it begins to fish for gears quite a bit. A lot of the time, that means sitting higher in the revs than is ideal, which almost certainly hurts MPG.
A beast in the snow
Being November, in Colorado, in the mountains, I more than expected it to snow while I was in Buena Vista. And sure enough, it snowed a good amount while I was there, perfect for some real-world winter testing. Of course, any vehicle’s performance in the snow comes down mostly to the choice of tire. Our Titan rides on a set of 32-inch General Grabbers. Despite being a relatively budget-oriented off-road tire, the grabbers performed exceptionally well, as did the Titan’s traction control system. I woke up tp roughly 5 to 6 inches of fresh snow one morning and decided to do some impromptu stress testing on this 4×4/tire combo. I found a nice incline, put the truck in 4-hi, and then came to a complete stop to see how well the Titan could pull itself out of a tricky spot. Without any hesitation or noticeable wheel slip, the truck pulled forwards and made its way up the relatively steep, snow-covered, dirt road that I found outside of town.
Heck, even taking these pictures put the 4X4 system to the test. I had to back out of the spot where I took these, uphill in the snow. Not an issue for the Titan. I was impressed.
Overall, the performance in the snow is right on par with what you expect from a 4×4 pickup. Solid, confidence inspiring, and hardly challenged by a couple inches of snow.
Fuel economy? Not great
While I was really happy with the Titan as it drove up in the mountains, there was one pretty big downside to the whole ordeal. That being gas mileage. It is not surprising that the Titan sucked a lot of fuel on this trip. But, still, we live in a world of mild hybrid Rams, Diesel Colorados, and EcoBoosted Fords, that can make some really impressive MPG figures. I started the trip with a full tank of gas. My round trip was 303.7 miles, in which I used 18.718 gallons of gas. Plug that into a calculator (cause I don’t want to do math myself) and you get 16.25 MPG. Oddly, this is lower than the trip computer’s estimation, 17.4 mpg, but only slightly. While that was technically a mix of highway and mountain town driving, a good 250 of those miles were spent on the highway, specifically highway 285 which goes from Golden, Colorado up to Buena Vista. The road is twisty, and features a ton of elevation gain and drops, the perfect high-elevation test for the Titan. Overall, I gained (and then lost) up to 7,000 feet of elevation on this trip.
The EPA estimates our titan should get 15 MPG in the city, but 20 MPG on the highway. So, Either I have an actual lead foot (which is a little true), or this Titan just sucks fuel. Mind you, I was going pretty near the Regardless, I wish it were better. Not to mention, I wasn’t towing, or hauling anything more than myself, some family members and our stuff.
Go anywhere in any weather
Buena Vista is a hotspot for some of the best off-road trails in Colorado. But, I am a novice off-road and definitely did not want to damage our Titan. That being said, this is a truck that deserves to stretch its legs, or at least its suspension, here and then. So, I found a snowy, poorly kept forest service road and made my way into some spots that required the use of 4-Lo and that lockable rear diff. As we already knew, the Titan is a super capable truck off-road. Plenty of ground clearance, 9.3-inches, plenty of under-body protection, and enough grip to make you feel like you could literally go anywhere. Including (but not limited to) trails like Cliffhanger 2.0 (one of our toughest tests).
I worried the off-road oriented suspension (incl. Bilstein shocks in the rear) would make for a bouncy highway journey. In some ways, my concerns were valid. Depending on the road surface, the Titan did tend get into a bouncy rhythm that was not super pleasant. But, by and large, the ride was compliant, comfortable and quiet. It is just fine for daily use.
A nice place to be, too
It would be pretty stupid to say this truck has one of the better interiors in the business. The Titan cannot shake a stick at the new Ram. But, there is a utilitarian quality to this interior that I really like. There are tons of cupholders, and cubbies. Plus, the heated seats (front and rear) saw much use thanks to a daily high temperature around 20 degrees. Those same seats come swathed in leather (and cool Pro-4X graphics) and provided plenty of space and comfort for the 300-mile round trip. The one place where the Titan lacks utility is the floor, which is not flat across. But that doesn’t upset me too much.
Technologically, the Titan lacks a little. The 7-inch touchscreen feels dated, and lacks Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Though, Nissan are fixing that for 2019. Plus the USB port doesn’t provide fast charging. In fact, every phone I plugged in barely charged while playing music or running navigation. Oh yeah, no wireless charger either. But the Titan isn’t supposed to be Bill Gates’ house, it is an off-road worthy half-ton from Nissan.
The one upside from a tech standpoint has to be the Rockford Fosgate stereo. While this is not vital to many people, I am a man who likes his tunes, especially on a road trip. Much to my listening pleasure, the TItan’s combo of a quiet cabin and this stereo system made for a great listening experience, which I was thankful for.
A good truck in most ways
As many of you know, the Titan is not a class leading truck (in any segment), nor does it sell anywhere as many units as the American manufacturers. But I think it is a truck worth some attention. Especially in when you add the Pro-4X package. For a little over $52,000, you get a truck with incredible amounts of off-road capability, that can still tow a respectable 9,230 lbs, and looks & sounds pretty cool (at least in my book). While this truck lacks technology offerings like the American options, it hits a sweet spot for lovers of old-school tech taken to its limit. Old school, in this case means simple, cheaper, and effective. All good traits in my book.
Fortunately, we are not done with this truck just yet, so stay tuned to TFLtruck on YouTube and right here on TFLtruck.com for even more articles and videos with the Titan Pro-4X.
To see more about the 2018 Nissan Titan Pro-4X, and our various activities with this truck, please check out our long-term update below: