Road Test Review – 2023 Nissan Titan Pro-4X – Is Pro-4X Still Viable In A Rapidly Changing Segment?

The Nissan Titan has been an enigma in the pickup segment. At a time when many of its rivals are gravitating towards smaller engines, fewer cylinders and even pure electrification the Titan has still managed to stick to some of the old-school essentials that have made it an enduring classic with some truck buyers. A big burbly V8 and a body-on-frame construction are certainly two of the key benchmarks, but with the rest of the segment changing around it, does the 2023 Nissan Titan still have what it takes to stand out from the rest of the pack? or is the world around it leaving the truck behind?


Light Updates Hide Some Of The Titan’s Wrinkles

Nissan made a few minor changes to the Titan lineup for 2023 with all of them focused on improving equipment availability, the Platinum Reserve model now gets wireless Apple CarPlay and the company also expanded the Midnight Package. All of these minor tweaks aside and it becomes clear that the Titan is embracing the old-school approach to truck design. The front end is still very slab sided but benefits from a light styling refresh that allows it to fall in line with the design language of a few of the company’s other models like the smaller Frontier pickup. The side profile leads out to the rear where it embraces a functional look with sportiness being treated as a second fiddle afterthought.

PRO-4X models like our example get a number of off-road focused changes that make the model stand out from the rest of the Titan lineup. In addition to the large Pro-4X badges on the bedsides, the model also get bigger wheels, off-road tires and red accents in select spots. The dark blue accents on our tester certainly helped these appointments pop but the main issue that holds the Titan back is that the look does not do enough to make it leap out from a crowded pool of contenders. Ford and Ram have leapfrogged the model in raw design while the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra have also made strides in the aesthetics department. As a result, the Titan is often seen as an entry that’s looking in versus a class leader and we hope that the next generation Titan will be able to help bridge that gap especially for new customers that put style as a leading requirement for their truck purchase.


Keep it Simple Titan Interior Is A Breath of Fresh Air

Slip inside the 2023 Nissan Titan and you’ll be greeted with an interior that also goes out of its way to embrace the old-school spirit. While it’s not as technologically advanced as a few of its rivals, the truck instead prefers an old-school approach to functionality with the controls, switchgear and even the infotainment layout being simple and easy to understand.

Every Titan model comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment system standard (a larger 9.0-inch system is optional) that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen is easy to use and the various menu icons are arraigned in a way that’s easy to master. While this is not the biggest screen out there, the Titan proves that size doesn’t matter and that functionality is what ultimately makes a good infotainment system work. The setup is mated to Nissan’s NissanConnect software that modernizes the user experience even further. Our tester had the larger 9.0-inch display but if we had our way, we would stick with the 8.0-inch screen since both systems deliver the same core user experience.

Our tester also had Nissan’s Zero Gravity front seats and these seats are easily the most comfortable seats in the pickup segment today. Perhaps our biggest gripe with the Titan is that there’s an abundance of dull plastics scattered throughout the cabin and they do a collective part of making the Titan feel cheaper than it really is. Our tester also arrived with an optional wireless charging pad and an optional Fender audio system that’s a marked improvement from past Titan models.


V8 Performance For Now, But Change Is Coming to Titan

Performance for all 2023 Titan models comes from a 5.6-liter naturally aspirated V8 that’s also the only engine available. It makes a stout 400-horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a nine-speed automatic. The setup is meant to maximize the Titan’s capability and ruggedness but it does so at the cost of refinement when driving in the urban jungle. The Bilstein sourced off-road shocks are great for light off-roading but they also caused our tester to feel a bit ponderous when navigating narrow city streets and even making the lane changes out on the freeway.

The biggest problem here though is that the Titan’s capacities all trail rivals. While the 9660 lb towing limit is enough for most pickup buyers, it also shows that there’s no flavor of Titan that manages to outshine its rivals. The PRO-4X for example is a rugged entry, but with the RAM TRX and the Ford F-150 Raptor and Raptor R cruising the streets it becomes a tough sell for buyers. Lesser Titans are not off the hook either with cargo and towing figures also being in the back of the pack. Nissan reps we spoke to mentioned that change is coming to the Titan but kept things close to the vest when pushed for more details.

We suspect that some of these changes will be found in performance hardware with the Titan potentially embarking on a plan similar to Toyota’s with the Titan pitching its large V8 for a smaller engine that would not only have less cylinders, but also turbocharging to help replicate some of the performance swagger once offered by the V8. It will be interesting to see which path the next generation Titan will go, but sadly we’ll have to wait a bit to see anything concrete with the current generation Titan expected to stick around in showrooms for a few more years.


Value Quotient

Pricing for the 2023 Nissan titan starts at $41,845 which will get you into a base King Cab S model with rear-wheel drive. As you climb up the trim ladder, pricing remains in the $40,000 to $48,000 range until you get to a PRO-4X like our tester. Here, you’ll be greeted with a base MSRP of $54,955. Our lightly optioned tester came with the PRO-4X Convivence Package which caused the price to creep upward to a final as tested sticker of $60,535.

This pricing allows the Titan to remain in the lower end of the truck market, but value can only get you so far and that’s evident when you look at some of its rivals. The Toyota Tundra for example has benefitted from its revamp with the interior in particular benefitting from a new generation of infotainment and luxury technology while the domestic big three have also made strides in adding more technology and passenger oriented features to their rigs. While the 2023 Nissan Titan is still a good value for Nissan loyalists and Titan fans, there’s still not enough here to help the truck standout to the broader pool of truck buyers. We hope that changes with the next generation model especially if Nissan is able to bring some of the features that truck buyers want.