Are Nissan Titans Family Friendly?

Nissan Titan CM 1 IINissan Titan CM 16 II

By Courtney Messenbaugh

I am an improbable fan of pickup trucks. I love their girth. I love their swagger. I love how driving one makes me feel like a rebel in the midst of my minivan- and SUV-packed world. I don't totally understand why pickups aren't more widely embraced by families, although I concede that poor fuel economy, intimidating size and fear of being different may contribute to their lack of popularity as family haulers. The truth is that pickups offer many of the same benefits provided by family sedans and SUVs.

It's obvious that truck beds offer lots of storage space, but what about inside the cab? The answer is yes, and in some cases lots of it. The all-new Nissan Titan and Titan XD feature lots of in-cabin storage, which could be what entices families to consider a pickup as a family vehicle. With front storage increased by 33 percent and rear storage by 28 percent over the previous-generation Titan, as well as a new locking under-seat storage feature, these pickups have family game.

Driving Experience

I tested the Titan in two four-door crew-cab forms: the heavier-duty 2017 XD diesel in the SL trim and the 2016 Pro-4X half ton. Although I loved the blue exterior and unabashed girth of the XD, it was simply more truck than my family needs. If we're considering a truck as potential family vehicle, there's no need to have one as large as this, even if it does make you feel powerful and cool. Additionally, during our relatively unscientific fuel-economy testing, the XD averaged 13.6 mpg city/highway combined and the Pro-4X averaged 17.6 mpg. Since I tend to forget about filling the tank, I'll take the extra 4 mpg.

The XD's bed was about 6.5 feet long, compared to the Pro-4X's 5.5 feet. Not surprisingly, the XD's extra foot of wheelbase (all of it in the bed length) made a significant difference in how the pickup felt to drive and maneuver through parking lots and carpool lanes. Losing a foot made no noticeable difference in terms of hauling everything a family needs on a daily basis. I was able to load up the Pro-4X with a huge pile of ski gear for my family's initial trip to the mountains this season with nary a problem. What is usually a tight squeeze in our minivan was easily accommodated by the Titan's bed.

So how about in-cabin cargo room? The Titan and Titan XD are about the same inside. Two words for the front of the cabin: console and cubbies. The center console is wonderfully vast. On Thanksgiving, it comfortably cradled the fixings for the cheese tray that I was tasked with. On our trip to the mountains, it swallowed a giant box of cheese crackers (health food for the kids), several DVDs (because we're modern) and a stack of magazines I intended to read (never did). It can even hold the largest of handbags, a feat bound to impress today's literally overburdened mother.

Interior Comfort

When it comes to handbags or purses though, the center console is not the only trick in this truck. I've taken to carrying a smaller purse because my days of being overburdened have left my shoulders whacked. Just in front of the center console is a bin deep and wide enough to handle my smaller cross-body bag, which measures about 6 by 8 inches. There are also several other cubbies: one that snugly held my phone and two lower cubbies on either side of the center stack that could hold plenty of snacks.

Nissan Titan CM 4 II

In the rear of the Titan crew cab, the width of the 60/40-split bench seat lends itself to three kids in booster seats beautifully. Things are spacious enough that there's not nearly as much "Get off me!" squabbling as there is in the crossovers and SUVs that I've tested.

However, seating capacity is not where the generosity of this bench seat ends. It also provides a heap of versatile storage options. You can flip up either or both sides of the seat to create an expansive, open space. Once flipped up, there's a lockable cargo organizer underneath composed of three small bins that are useful for hiding items such as extra snacks, small electronic devices or other bits of bribery to incite good behavior. I suppose you could keep things like tools or flashlights in there too. During my test week, I flipped up the larger side of the seat and filled it with a week's worth of groceries (about 12 sacks); my youngest child was able to sit safely in her booster seat with room to spare.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Titan's six cupholders and eight bottleholders. Plus, there is large glove box that offers even more space up front to stash things.

Final Thoughts

The Nissan Titan half ton is a family-friendly vehicle for my non-towing crew. We liked the slightly smaller, more maneuverable, non-diesel Titan better than the XD. It offered our family plenty of cargo space, plus the swagger that comes along with being a nonconformist parent who drives a pickup truck.

Cars.com photos by Courtney Messenbaugh

 

Nissan Titan CM 2 II

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Nissan Titan CM 14 II

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Nissan Titan CM 21 II

 

Comments

Reduce the length of the front engine compartment to be more like a smaller suv, let alone a mini van, and it will be easier to see over the engine and hence easier to park. Then more people might opt for trucks.

I owned a 2010 F150 Super Crew for 3 years. Kids are gone but did haul a few grandkids from time to time. The back seat area in the Screw is cavernous. MPG is the only downside to a truck. Other than that they're way nicer to drive on long trips. In town the SUV/Mini van wins. Women are intimidated somewhat by it's size. But then again size does matter.

I'm currently contemplating going from a mid/compact size to a full size truck due to the family potentially outgrowing the truck.

One of the main reasons against it, is as stated in the article the size.

No doubt that the interior size of a full size crew cab truck should accommodate most small families in comfort well.

However depending on what you do and where you go the size of full trucks can cause problems. For example if you go to a crowded event where parking is tight and limited. Where at our child's school, I aleady often have to circle around and find a spot where my midsize can fit in. So see a full size truck to be even more of a problem. Then other things related to size, such as how easy it would be for little kids to climb into their seats from the ground and how easy it would be to reach into the bed from the sides.

So would like to stick in the midsize market but don't really see any current midsize truck that is "perfect" in trucklike abilities, reputation of reliability or already being established from being out in a while, interior room and comfort, etc.

A pickup driver is a nonconformist? The best selling vehicles are pickups and thier everywhere in suburbia.

The idea that trucks aren't embraced as family vehicles is absurd. Probably 1/3 or greater of families in my area have trucks, and if you head out into a more rural area the number increases. The real reason that isn't mentioned is PRICE. Not everyone can afford or justify a $35k truck when you can get one of those hipster hamster boxes for half the price.

Need VS Want?

An article about the family friendly nature of a truck that focuses almost solely on storage space a cubbys... That's PATHETIC... Nothing about crash rating, active and passive safety. Infotainment, rear accessory jacks, rear cup holders, rear leg room, child seat tie downs/compatibility, maximum rear door opening angle, rear vents (or the absence of) how far down the rear windows go into the doors... When I sold cars i learned that these are the things that people and especially kids that sit in the back care about. Kids ESPECIALLY cared about how far down the rear windows went and whether or not there were rear HVAC vents. Parents care about the rest especially the crash ratings and anyone with a child seat knows about the importance of easy hook up and how wide the doors open. Sad easy misses by this article.

How in the name of Carlos did he get the diesel 4 mpg less than the gasser 1/2 ton? If even remotely close to real world I can't imagine any diesels selling to an informed buyer.

The diesel has much lower emissions that makes it family friendly cause everybody wants lower emissions.
The Ram Eco-Diesel has even LOWER emissions than the Titan that makes it better

Nissan Titan Diesel is a flop.

@Clint- no need to write about crash ratings- for anyone who cares- they're easy o find. All FS Crew cabs have plenty of back seat space, sufficiently opening doors and LATCH anchors. They all have VDC. The article gives one woman's opinion on how it is to live with- driving and carrying your stuff. Not a thing wrong with that.
@CreigMac- chances are she drove a lot of short trips. A lot of diesels are bad at this. Even on the highway, though, the Titan diesel doesn't best the Gas XD by much- 10% in the TFL comparison, both towing and unloaded. From a cost standpoint, the price premium on diesel fuel alone wipes out any savings you might ever see.

@Mr Knowitall... Why didn't you write the nearly pointless article? You're vauge platitudes at least gloss over that which she missed ENTIRELY even though none of my points occurred to you. You only address them in in a vague manner in an attempt to justify your self given name to yourself. Why don't you do some homework and actually provide the following in quantifiable factual manner? Then you would live up to your name and do the job for the author of this mess of an article. So what angle do the rear doors open to? How far down do the rear windows go? How many vents are in the back for the rear occupants? Are they adjustable? (kids really do this this vent and window issue a lot). How many accessory jacks are in the rear? What is the specific crash rating (alotta consumers don't look it up even if it is easy to find). Are the latch anchors easily accessible or not (ive noticed a HUGE difference in this from one model of car to another)? My point is that this article shouldn't mention "family friendly" at all in its title. Its should be titled "nooks and crannies and FE in the Titan".

@Mr Knowitall

we probably agree, but just to be sure:

Nobody should be buying a diesel 1/2 ton, or HD, simply to satisfy perceptions about the fuel economy. Diesels have many positives but unless you really need the extra muscle a diesel promises, the gasser is the most flexible, quiet, durable and cost effective choice.

If big grunt is required on a regular basis, the diesel is your choice.

Sounds great; but it's still too big.

Nissan did do one thing right though; the way the floor of the back seat works out when the seats themselves are flipped up does make it more functional than most of the others if you need to carry oversized objects inside. Personally I prefer the flat floor of the Honda with its lower lift height but the fact this offers a flat surface and not one broken into multiple, uncovered compartments is a huge advantage when hauling roller bags which would hang its wheels (or other projections like a golf bag on a roller) as you try to load or unload them. Storage design is important, no matter what type or size of vehicle you choose.

And by no means is the author the first woman to drive a pickup truck; I've known several who've driven pickups pretty much all their lives and it wasn't because they were "family vehicles." In all actuality, the Nissan Titan as described in this article is little different from a Chevy Suburban minus the hard-top bed cover and the Suburban's ability to fold the back seats down means just that much more internal storage when needed.

I see women driving full-size pickups all the time in my area.

the Nissan Titan as described in this article is little different from a Chevy Suburban

@Roadwhale

I would argue about the Titan VS Suburban comparison you made. The Chevy rides like a limo compared to the Titan pickup. Big difference.

If your point was simply about usable space, that's a bit different.

The real difference is the ride of a pick up truck.
This is why the Honda Ridgeline trumps the others in ride and driving. No jiggle wiggle of the bed and body like other pick-up trucks. If your towing a heavy boat or camping trailer putting the family in going somewhere in a truck might make sense.
But when it comes to comfort the pickup truck on a long drive is not the best. That's why I sing the praises of the Ridgeline not the best towing pickup truck But it is the best riding driving pickup truck for driver and passengers.
So that Body on Frame stuff that many pickup buyers deeply think they need or want does work with comfort and driving dynamics. Suburban/ Tahoe many have magnetic ride suspension . The way a pickup truck is built with bed is different body on frame. Ridgeline pickup is unit-body construction like Car/SUV type vehicles that makes in ride and handle more civilized than other pickup trucks. Also it has independent suspension. So the other pickups are Body on Frame not the best riding vehicle with a bed in the back bouncing wiggling around not a practical family hauler over Ridgeline or other SUV type vehicles.

Just to make clear correction in other post I said Body on Frame does work I mean clearly it does not work when it comes to comfort over unit body. So question was ask are pickup trucks family friendly. I would not buy a pickup truck over a SUV or Cross Over vehicle. Unless you are plaining on doing serious towing hauling I would not. This is why I say Honda Ridgeline it's clearly different than other pickups the way it's built and is family friendly over other for ride and comfort.
Big macho pickup truck owners laugh at it but it clearly beats them all in this category. So if your using your pickup as a lifestyle vehicle occasional light hauling non heavy construction towing your light bass boat ect. But then your using that pickup as your primary vehicle to do every day commute or picking kids up from school. Ridgeline or SUV/Cross Over better choice over traditional pickup truck. Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer changed the way they were built to unit body construction from body on frame like most tradition pickup trucks. The unit body construction offers smoother ride better handling. Just like rival vehicles Honda Pilot/Toyota Highlander
that already were built that way. The Ridgeline is built on the same platform as Pilot but constructed for pickup truck duty and has a beefed up suspension but it still provides smooth ride.
So unless it's a Honda Ridgeline or say suspected Hyundai Santa Cruz type pickup truck don't compare with SUV/Cross Over. I think many people have done this in buying pickup trucks. There are rumors swirling as if some other midsized pickup trucks from other companies like GM Ford Toyota probably not Tacoma will try the Ridgeline way in the near future. A lot has to do with this family friendly ease of use smooth riding stuff more people want. Pickup trucks are uncivilized it all depends on what you use it for and the trade offs.



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