UPDATE Feb. 12 10:29 a.m.: After reaching out to Nissan for comment, The Drive learned that the automaker is taking a different approach to bolstering the Titan's off-road credentials than what was originally reported by CarBuzz. Instead, it'll be working in partnership with a selection of aftermarket builders to provide upgrades for the truck that make it both more capable and more stylish. In tandem with the Pro-4X trim, it's possible that some customer Titans could find themselves in the same space as the Raptor, but Nissan isn't necessarily benchmarking the Ford for a factory-produced pickup.
Nissan, at the moment, has so many problems it's hard to keep track of them all. From scandals up top to an aging lineup to declining U.S. sales, it has to start somewhere to fix things. It's also not really a strong player in the truck market, with the Titan and ancient Frontier being drops in the bucket behind Ford, General Motors, Ram and even Toyota. Maybe Nissan needs to come at the king to make some waves.
According to the website CarBuzz, Nissan could be shooting even farther up-market than expected with the Titan, perhaps taking aim at the almighty Ford Raptor. The site had an interview with Tiago Castro, Nissan's director of light commercial vehicles for North America, and a key piece of info was revealed about a potential off-road Titan hero. When asked if the Japanese automaker was considering a Raptor-rivaling pickup, Castro allegedly answered: "Absolutely."
The idea would be to build a pickup that slots above the Titan's four-wheeling Pro-4X trim, as Castro explained. At present, that variant features Bilstein mono-tube off-road shocks, Hill Descent Control, and an electronic locking rear diff. It's surprisingly capable for a stock truck, as we tested late last year in the hills of Utah. But if it hopes to compete with the Blue Oval, the performance-focused Titan will need to grab another gear.
For truck hopefuls, this opens a box of possible configurations and components. As it seems, the Titan's 5.6-liter V8 engine is rated at 413 lb-ft of torque, which is too far from the Raptor's 510 lb-ft without a healthy dose of forced induction. Would this be the route that Nissan takes? Or might it go all-out and drop in the twin-turbocharged VR38DETT from the GT-R supercar? The latter seems extremely far-fetched, to say the least. But let's be honest. So does a Titan truly aimed at taking down the Raptor.
If Nissan does develop a high-powered, ultra-capable Titan, it'll also have competition from the likes of Ram and its potentially Hellcat-engined TRX. Ford proved that such a vehicle appeals to more than full-size truck customers as others from performance cars and even luxury SUVs have flocked to the Raptor purely for its cool factor. Others are taking note, and there might be a mad dash to see who can capitalize on the trend first.
I doubt Nissan will build something like the wild Titan Warrior Concept from 2016, but don't be surprised to see the brand take cues from the outlandish 4x4 if it decides on building a hotted-up Titan. Our fingers are crossed for internal bypass shocks and over a foot of suspension travel if this thing does come to fruition.
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