Not every full-size truck plying American highways hails from one of the Big Three - there are a number of intriguing pickup options available from Japanese automakers available as well. Two of the biggest names in the imported full-size truck segment are Toyota and Nissan, brands which offer the Tundra and the Titan respectively. Each of these pickups has made waves over the years as viable alternatives to traditional truck sales leaders, so we decided to match them up against each other, head to head, and see which one came out on top.
01. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Horsepower
The 2011 Toyota Tundra hits hard with three available engine options. Base model pickups are outfitted with a 4.0-liter V-6 that churns out 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, while mid-range models offer up a 4.6-liter V-8 that has been tuned to provide 310 horses and 327 lb-ft of torque. The top-tier Tundra benefits from a 5.7-liter iForce V-8 that churns out an exceptional 381 ponies and a stump-pulling 401 lb-ft of torque.
The 2011 Nissan Titan certainly doesn't skimp when it comes to power, but it does come up short in terms of providing buyers with a range of drivetrain choices. The Titan is exclusively available with a 317 horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8 that is also good for 385 lb-ft of torque.
The Winner: The Tundra takes this round easily, offering not only three times as many engine options as the Titan but also clobbering its rival in terms of output and performance.
02. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Fuel Efficiency
The 2011 Toyota Tundra's base V-6 leads the fuel mileage charge for the full-size pickup, posting up numbers of 16-mpg in city driving and 20-mpg highway, and the much more powerful 4.6-liter V-8 isn't far behind with to a 15-mpg city and 20-mpg highway rating. The Tundra's 5.7-liter V-8 turns in a performance of 14-mpg around town and 18-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2011 Nissan Titan's 5.6-liter V-6 falls short of all three Tundra city ratings, showing fuel mileage of 13-mpg in stop and go driving. On the highway, it manages to match the more powerful 5.7-liter Toyota V-8 of 18-mpg but again is no match for the frugality of the other two power plants offered by the pickup.
The Winner: Every engine offered by the Toyota Tundra is more fuel efficient than the Nissan Titan's solitary V-8 drivetrain.
03. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Towing and Payload
The 2011 Toyota Tundra's minimum tow rating (for V-6 models) shows as 4,900 lbs, while the 5.7-liter V-8 is capable of pulling up to 10,400 lbs of trailer weight - a staggering number for a quarter-ton pickup truck. The Tundra's payload maxes out at 2,090 lbs.
Despite sharing the same engine, the 2011 Nissan Titan offers a range of towing capacities starting at 7,400 lbs and reaching all the way up to a 9,500 lbs rating at the top end. In terms of payload, the Titan impresses with rating of 2,153 lbs in its most capable trim.
The Winner: The Tundra can pull almost 1,000 lbs more than the Titan when properly equipped, which is a more significant advantage than the 60 lbs of additional payload capacity offered by the Nissan. That being said, with a minimum tow rating of 7,400 lbs the Titan is a better all-around choice when going up against V-6 versions of the Toyota. We're going to call this one a draw.
04. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Body Styles
The 2011 Toyota Tundra comes in regular, extended (Double Cab) and CrewMax body styles, with the latter two featuring an additional set of rear doors to help improve access to the vehicle's passenger compartment. The Tundra can also be ordered with either a five-foot, six-inch, a six-foot, six-inch or an eight-foot cargo bed.
The 2011 Nissan Titan offers extended (King) and Crew cab body styles, each of which offer four doors. Bed lengths include a five-foot, seven unit, a six-foot, six inch cargo area or a seven-foot, three-inch option.
The Winner: The Toyota Tundra's regular cab option alone makes the pickup the more appealing option in this category. Simply put, the Titan's lack of a two-door body style puts it on the outside looking in when it comes to fleet buyers or those looking for a basic work truck.
05. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Off-Road Capability
The 2011 Toyota Tundra is available with a low-range four-wheel drive system as well as the TRD Rock Warrior package, which upgrades the vehicle's suspension system to include Bilstein shock absorbers and all-terrain tires mounted on special 17-inch wheels. The Tundra additionally offers the TRD Off-Road package, which includes the same elements found with the Rock Warrior edition of the pickup but also installs larger 18-inch wheels and tries, skid plates to protect the truck's undercarriage and tow hooks to help tug it free should it become stuck in the mud.
The 2011 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X adds significant trail-driving capabilities to four-wheel drive editions of the pickup. The PRO-4X trim armors up the Titan with skid plates, swaps out the standard shocks for Rancho units and installs a lower gear ratio and off-road tires. The truck also comes with a rear differential that can be locked from inside the truck's cabin.
The Winner: While it might seem like the Tundra's dual-package attack would carry the day, the fact is both the TRD Off-Road and PRO-4X pickups are solid all-terrain options. Another draw as the Titan and the Tundra cancel each other out in this particular category.
06. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Equipment
Even discounting the stripped-down Work Trim model, the 2011 Toyota Tundra's entry-level truck is designed to appeal to a no-frills crowd, although it still offers air conditioning, a CD player and tilt steering. Like most modern pickups, the Tundra can be optioned up to include a startling array of comfort equipment, such as heated leather seats, satellite radio, dual automatic climate control and a navigation system.
The 2011 Nissan Titan offers a base model that is almost identically equipped when compared against the inexpensive Tundra offering, although it comes with a six-speaker instead of a four-speaker audio system. Like the Tundra, the Titan's available features include leather, automatic climate control and even an upgraded audio system, navigation system and a sunroof.
The Winner: pickup trucks can be either rolling living rooms or sparse, task-focused tools. Both the Tundra and the Titan cover these bases - and everything in between - although the Toyota edges ahead slightly when it comes to overall interior comfort. Still, we're going to score this category as a dead heat.
07. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: Pricing
The 2011 Toyota Tundra starts an MSRP of $24,435 for a barebones, regular cab pickup outfitted with a V-6 engine. Pimping out a Tundra CrewMax to the Limited trim - not including any options packages - inflates the pickup's MSRP to $39,895.
The 2011 Nissan Titan can't match the bargain-priced Toyota, largely due to the fact that it comes with an extra set of doors plus a V-8 engine in its lowest trim level. The Titan's introductory MSRP is set at $27,410, and while the PRO-4X trim's $35,140 price tag might seem like a bargain when compared against the CrewMax Limited, in reality Nissan requires the judicious application of options and packages to match the Toyota's level of equipment at the top end. This narrows the price gap considerably between the two vehicles.
The Winner: The Toyota Tundra is undeniably the cheaper choice for anyone who need a basic work truck. The Titan's additional passenger room and power is nice, but not everyone wants to pay for more truck than they actually need. Once again, due to the sheer variety offered by Toyota, the Tundra comes out a winner.
08. Toyota Tundra vs. Nissan Titan: The Verdict
We compared the 2011 Toyota Tundra versus the 2011 Nissan Titan in seven categories that pickup buyers typically count as the most important when it comes to selecting a new truck. The Tundra took four of those seven categories, but perhaps more importantly, the Titan was not able to win but could merely match its Toyota rival in the remaining three. This means that the Toyota Tundra is the undisputed winner of this particular battle royal.
The Tundra's almost total domination over the Titan is really not that much of a surprise. Scratch underneath the surface of the Nissan and you'll find the oldest full-size pickup platform on sale in the United States, a design that has not bee updated since 2004. Until the Titan is given the redesign it deserves, it is doomed to continually come up second best when compared against its much more modern competitors - like the Toyota Tundra.