Eager to Belong, Nissan Gives Titan and Titan XD Owners a Lift

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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3 of 17 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Feb 13, 2018

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

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 13, 2018

      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.

  • Dont.fit.in.cars Dont.fit.in.cars on Feb 13, 2018

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

  • Lou_BC Another way to look at this is the upgrading of hardware and software. ...............The average length of car ownership is 10 - 12 years ....................The average lifetime ownership of a cell phone is 2.5 years. ................................................................... My phone will remain up to date, my vehicle won't. Especially if you buy a new "end of run" model.
  • TheEndlessEnigma "...we could be seeing a foundational shift in how Americans and car buyers see Stellantis products." yeah, I view Stellantis products as being off the cross-shop list. Stellantis is doing an excellent job of killing the Chrysler and Dodge brands and turning Jeep into something it isn't.
  • 2manyvettes 495 hp in a base C8 is more than enough. 800+ hp in a ZR1 is not worth the extra $60k (plus dealer markups). Unless the buyer is going for bragging rights. I remember when the C7 Grand Sport came out, and a reviewer got his hands on one and put it on the track at Lime Rock. His conclusion? Save yourself $15k and skip the Z06 and get a Grand Sport.
  • MaintenanceCosts Last year, I rented a closely related Audi A3. The overwhelming impression was of cheap build quality, although the drive wasn't bad. It had ~45,000 miles and the sunroof sunshade and passenger side power window were already not working correctly. Lots of rattles, too.
  • Lou_BC As others have pointed out, some "in car" apps aren't good or you pay for upgrades. My truck did not come with navigation. It was an expensive option. There's a lame GM maps app that you need to subscribe to "in-car" data. The map does not give you navigation other than to tell you where restaurants and gas stations are located. I'd want Android auto since I already pay for the phone.