Long-term 2021 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Update: Loveable Imperfection

This new Titan has over 14,000 miles on the clock.

2021 nissan titan long-term update review off-road

The 2021 Nissan Titan PRO-4X is a damn good truck, but it doesn’t exceed at any one thing. That’s one issue – out of a few…

Over the past (nearly) two decades, the Nissan Titan represents a rugged and somewhat simple choice among competitors. The truck you see here is a PRO-4X off-road model crew cab with nearly every option, some NISMO off-road parts, and over 14,000 miles on the clock.

2021 Nissan Titan PRO-4X’s only engine

The one engine/one transmission choice has been a mainstay, with the exception of a brief dance with a 5.0-liter diesel in the XD trucks. While Nissan still builds the beefier XD, all engines and transmissions remain the same. We (TFL Truck staff) adore the 5.6-liter V8, which is built by Nissan. Like the truck itself, it’s kind of an anachronism. There are fewer and fewer V8s out there nowadays. Overall performance is good, but not outstanding. 

This V8 makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. It’s hooked up to Nissan’s fairly new nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s better than the previous seven-speed, and most shifts are pretty smooth.

The rest of the Titan..

Nissan provided a long-term Titan for us to live with. I admit that out of all the TFL Studios team members, I drive it home most often. My commute is about 92 miles, round trip, from Denver to Boulder. Highway mileage has floated between 16 and 18 mpg, depending on traffic. Fortunately, using less expensive grade fuel doesn’t upset the engine. You do lose power, but it’s hard to tell day-to-day. 

The 2021 Nissan Titan PRO-4X has a decent ride, and it is one of the better handling trucks in its class. Credit Nissan engineers for working hard on steering feel and response. Also, the Titan still uses a pump-assisted steering system (as opposed to an electrically assisted system). It makes a difference. IF Nissan added coils to the rear, which is becoming a trend, it might help its overall ride. Still, it’s not too shabby.

When pushed, it moves rapidly. The powertrain is very responsive, even way up in Denver. Unfortunately, the rear end makes an unusual “clunk” noise when pushed, as if there is slack in the shaft. It doesn’t affect performance, but you do hear it. 

Dislikes? Only a few things come to mind..

I’m still displeased with the quality of the interior materials. Sure, the seats are very comfy, but some materials feel cheap compared to every competitor. Recently, Ford updated their F-150 interior design and completely leapfrogged Nissan. Toyota did too, but not as dramatically, at least in my book.

I don’t mind the relatively small (9-inch) screen but the controls feel a bit dated.

The PRO-4X is the way to go. It gives you a locker, beefier suspension, tires and it looks pretty cool. The big issue is the poor front-end clearance. Honestly, the approach angle (22.8-degree) is one of the lowest of competitors with similar off-road packages.

My other dislike? Price

Yes, the 2022 Nissan Titan S (base model) starts at $39,950. For that, you get the V8 and transmission in an extra-cab configuration. That’s not too bad, but it’s more expensive than many competitors. Yes, you get more kit for the dough, but it’s not good enough. Nissan must be the entry-level choice, AND offer more for the money.

Why? Look man, Nissan is barely moving enough Titans to get a sufficient return on their investment. In fact, they may be on the brink. Nissan sold less than 27,000 Titans in 2020 in the U.S. Ram sold nearly 570,000 in 2020. Things look bleak for Titan’s 2021 sales numbers too. Bottom line: nock off about 15-percent on every Titan so you can increase those abysmal sales numbers.


I like the Titan and I want to see it succeed. Nissan has the knowledge to make it better, for less. I know they do. Hell, there’s a brand new 3.8-liter V6 used in the Frontier, and nothing else. Why not make a sweet base Titan with that power and start by leading the entry-level market?

There are lots of directions Nissan can go. The rest of the competition is moving forward by leaps and bounds. Nissan needs to catch up. Let’s hope they implement some changes before it’s too late.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.