By on February 12, 2018

Image: Nissan

Until now, every time a rolling wall of steel pulled up alongside you at a stoplight, blocking out nearly half of your peripheral vision, the culprit was almost always behind the wheel of a Detroit Three truck — one hoisted aloft by an aftermarket lift kit. Such kits allow pickups to mount the curb outside the 7-Eleven without endangering their fragile underbellies, while affording drivers a bird’s-eye view of surrounding environs (just not the vehicles immediately adjacent.)

Given the popularity of the Ford F-Series, General Motors’ Silverado and Sierra, and Ram’s brawny lineup, suspension lifts are generally the domain of American models. Well, Nissan wants to change this perception. In its bid to make the Titan and Titan XD pickups “one of the guys,” the Japanese automaker will offer a hands-off, bolt-on factory lift kit, ideally paired with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 for the purposes of rolling coal.*

*Neither Nissan nor TTAC endorses this obnoxious practice. Local laws may apply.

The ICON Vehicle Dynamics kit, developed with Nissan’s help and offered through its dealers, adds three inches to a Titan or Titan XD’s ride height, but only for four-wheel-drive crew cab models. As there’s no cutting or drilling required, the Titan’s warranty stays intact, as does the truck (when returned at the end of its lease.) Nissan says dealers can install the kit in four hours.

It’s the first factory-authorized lift kit offered by Nissan, and its existence says a lot about how the company wants Americans to view its trucks. Not satisfied with being an also-ran in the full-size truck segment, Nissan is doing everything in its power to ingratiate the Titan and its almost-heavy duty XD sibling to the buying public. Multiple cab and bed configurations, an available plow package, and even a Midnight Edition have joined the Titan ranks since the model’s recent revamp.

The message seems to be, “Anything you can do, we can do.”

For those owners willing to take the plunge, ICON’s kit includes adjustable-height coil-over shock absorbers, custom rod end bearings, and patent-pending Delta Joints. Caked-on mud comes separate. Payload and towing ratings aren’t changed by the installation, and the parts are covered by a separate warranty offered by the supplier. Clearly, Nissan’s trying to make it as easy as possible for buyers to bring home “the look.”

But are more buyers bringing home a Titan? Yes, just not in the numbers enjoyed by members of the Detroit Three. January saw 4,051 Titan and Titan XD trucks roll off dealer lots, a 46.4 percent year-over-year increase for the lineup. Thanks to the fresh design and new XD, Titan volume rose to its highest point since 2007 last year, with 52,924 trucks sold — more than double the previous year’s tally.

Having more high-margin trucks in the automaker’s product mix means a stronger financial footing in an era of sliding sedan sales. Still, Nissan has a long way to go before segment leader Ford breaks into a nervous sweat. In 2017, the Blue Oval sold 896,764 F-Series trucks.

Nissan’s jacked-in-a-box option comes online this spring.

[Images: Nissan]

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17 Comments on “Eager to Belong, Nissan Gives Titan and Titan XD Owners a Lift...”

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The first time this generation of Titan has been appealing to me. Look at all that usable ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar

      The gen 1 Pro 4Xs are monsters in terms of clearance. Almost 12 inches stock, with some pretty legit skid plating and a true locking rear diff. They are pretty underappreciated in that regard IMO.

      This factory lift looks awesome as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Now all they need is a decent sized fuel tank, and you could go somewhere out of sight of the pump…..

        Add that, plus a camera/adaptive cruise/lane keep blah-blah package to all trim levels above complete stripper, and they’ll sell like hotcakes. Toyota is selling all they can make of the ancient Tundra. Per my informal market research, in no small part at all due to the presence of the above.

        That Nascar edition Cummins they’re using, also cries out for a proper transmission, but aside from yours truly, I’m not sure how many buyers such a gesture of generosity to truckdom would net them…..

        But the tank and the tech, that’s a slam waiting to be dunked, if there ever was one..

  • avatar

    When was the kit released?

    Our local dealer already has a lifted XD model sitting on prime real estate next to the curb so all can see.

    The local Ford dealer seems to do a brisk business in tricking out trucks. The GMC dealer prefers to buy already worked over models from outfits like “Rocky Mountain Truckworks.”

  • avatar

    Well, this will certainly be appealing to all those flat bill bros out there who MUST have a Japanese brand truck but can’t afford a Tundra.

    • 0 avatar

      I see a lot of Titans parked on military bases in my area. Very popular with young military men (and a few military active-duty women) here, even though the nearest dealership is 85miles West.

      Getting credit on Nissan products is easy as pie, especially for active duty military, who pay off their loans by allotment.

      And you’re right, Tundra trucks are too pricey to the tune of ~$5k-$7K more than similar Ford, GM and RAM alternatives. Titan trucks are less expensive yet, at least in my area.

      And since all vehicles depreciate the moment you drive it off the lot, a Titan is not a bad choice if you trade it off before the factory warranty expires.

      • 0 avatar

        The Nissan/Infiniti military price is (or at least was a few years ago) unbeatable by anyone else. In my experience it will be thousands below retail as opposed to the usual $500 military rebate.

        There is no negotiation involved – they look up the price in a book and usually have to check twice because it’s so cheap.

        I suspect this is why there are so many Nissans on base.

        • 0 avatar

          I still think the military price still stands these days.

          Aside from Titans, Murano, Altima, Pathfinder seem to be military faves at many military bases I visit every year. And not just in New Mexico or El Paso, TX.

          Also AZ, NV, and CA.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure I have seen a new Titan in the wild… Lots of old ones. I wonder if they are scrambling since it seems like a flop not being able to outsell the 13 year old Frontier…

    • 0 avatar

      I think I saw one parked at the local collision shop on my way home, not sure if it was a repair or a rental….

    • 0 avatar

      I agree here in the Indy area the new ones are not often seen. For a while last year there were lots of the Cummins powered ones running around town, I assume as part of an engine test program because they had DOT numbers on them.

  • avatar

    Toyota would just be happy if the Tundra could come anywhere close to it’s Tacoma sales. As it is, the Taco outsells it’s bigger brother by a margin of 2:1. Ironically, the old (smaller) Tundra’s market share was higher than they’ve ever been able to hit with the newer upsized version. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    The whole Titan story is a head scratcher. 187,000 pickups were sold in January, of which 4,000 were Titans. At that rate, it’ll take decades to recoup the R&D money.

    • 0 avatar

      Well being willing to deal on a Tundra’s would be a good step in the right direction. The closest to MSRP advertised price you’ll find in the full-size truck world is on the Tundra, the biggest price gap between MSRP and advertised price is more or less a tie between RAM and Nissan.

      At a low enough price you’ll find a buyer for just about anything.

  • avatar

    Good idea, but here’s a better one:

    – Give the NV3500 passenger van a 4wd system
    – Create lift kit
    – Bring on the zombie apocalypse

  • avatar

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a new-generation Titan that was *not* an XD diesel.

    • 0 avatar

      They have sold well around here (XD and non-XD, 1st generation and 2nd generation) but this rural part-reservation county is the exception – not the rule. Trucks will sell period because of the driving conditions and needs of the population. People bought the 1st gen Titan because it was the cheapest way to get into a full size truck, period.

      The Chevy dealer in Gallup NM was selling 50% pickup trucks back when Chevelle was the hot seller on most dealer’s lots.

  • avatar

    “Anything you can do, we can do.” Lift yes payload not so much.

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