Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A silver 2021 Nissan Titan is shown off-roading after leaving a used Nissan truck dealer.

Which Used Nissan Pickup Truck Is Right for Me?

Do you find yourself in a trilemma of desiring the strength and capability of a pickup truck while also desiring the elegance and refinement of a luxury vehicle but not wanting to pay full price for either? This may feel like a trilemma, but if you pop into a used Nissan truck dealer, you will likely find that this trilemma can be solved as easily as it started. Nissan, a brand renowned for its refined luxury vehicles, carries that luxury and refinement into its high-performing pickup trucks. The brand’s lineup are three trucks—the Frontier, the Titan, and the Titan XD. While the Titan XD is a heightened version of the Titan, there are significant differences between the Frontier and the Titan, so you will want to study up before heading over to the dealership. After learning about what these trucks have to offer, you’ll be ready to get up and head out to the dealership well-versed and ready to test-drive!

A grey 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is shown driving up a rocky hill.


The Nissan frontier is a highly-capable midsize pickup—its performance capabilities have a little more bang than other pickups in its class. The 2017 model is a fantastic model year to buy used with the Frontier. At the heart of the 2017 Frontier is a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 engine, allowing the vehicle to perform at 261 horsepower and 281 pounds-feet of torque. With a Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System, you’ll be looking at great engineering efficiency. With the availability of both 5-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmission, you’ll be able to drive however you want in the 2017 Frontier. Terrain features on the 2017 model, such as 4-wheel limited-slip, Hill Descent Control, and Hill Start Assist, make it well-equipped to handle off-road adventures.

Storage is at the forefront with the 2017 Frontier, with various trim options, all of which offer different features allowing for premium cargo storage. One of the notable bed features of the 2017 model is the Utili-track system, which uses five c-shaped cross-section rails to provide premium flexibility in hauling large loads. Aside from bed storage, the 2017 Frontier strives to make in-vehicle practical storage as accessible as possible by under-seat storage boxes, console storage, one-liter bottle storage, and other practical storage accouterments.

The name of the game when it comes to the Frontier is simplicity and practicality. The 2018 model year brought in many awards, including the top-rated mid-size pickup award in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study for the third consecutive year. Recent model years have upped the Frontier’s design game by boldening its exterior features and accents and refining its interior, made up of dark, sleek leather. If you’re looking for a capable mid-size pickup, hit the Frontier.


Released as an all-new design, the 2016 Titan was designed to be a warrior both in its design and capabilities. In fact, the truck’s name is the inspiration for the front end of the vehicle and its logo, taking design cues from ancient warrior helmets. With all of this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the Titan is a higher-performing vehicle than its little sibling, the Frontier. Its very first iteration in 2015 performed at 310 horsepower with 555 pounds-feet of torque by way of its V8 and V6 engine options. With reimagined designed features, the 2016 model remains exciting today. The exterior is bolder than ever, and the interior finds a healthy balance between a work truck and a sports car.

The Titan has seen a steady increase in capability, as the 2021 model offers 400 horsepower and up to 11,040 pounds of towing capacity. In fact, the 2021 model holds the claim of having the most standard horsepower and the most standard safety technology in its class. It makes sense—if you’re going to drive with that much power, you’ll want to stay extra safe. Let’s now return to the trilemma laid out in the introduction—powerful truck vs. luxury vehicle + price. Well, this is why a used Titan from a recent model year is the answer to this trilema—the interior might be the finest you’ll find in any pickup. Nissan excels with its interior design, and it certainly does not shy away from this skill set in the Titan. With dark and subtle color schemes allowing for all kinds of moods, whether you need to get into the work mentality or have a romantic date night with your spouse, this interior will provide for your needs. You can’t go wrong with the iconic Nissan checkered leather seats.

If you need a full-size pickup truck, there is no need to back down because the Titan is here and ready to work, play, and do everything in-between.

A brown 2021 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X is shown driving up a dirt road.

Titan XD

Imagine taking the Titan but making it even bigger, bolder, and more impressive. That is the Titan XD. Making its debut in 2016, the Titan XD quickly became renowned. In its first year it was named “Truck of Texas” by the Texas Auto Writers Association; Texas likes things big, so that is probably why the Titan XD was an instant hit with the Lone Star State. It wasn’t just the folks in Texas who thought the world of this vehicle because it also took “Best Pickup of 2016” from both and This shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as the Titan XD is built stronger. The XD has a different frame and chassis from the regular Titan, using a fully boxed, full-length ladder frame to make sure the vehicle remains strong as it takes on adventures both on and off road. This unique chassis design allows the XD to be larger than its Titan counterpart, giving it a larger bed for extra storage.

Because of its stronger body, the XD is designed to perform at levels high above the Titan. The first Titan XD, the 2016 model, is equipped with a 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine that allows it to perform at 390 horsepower (80 more than its 2016 Titan). This engine, combined with hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled valve lift, makes for a highly-responsive vehicle. So, if you’re going to go the Titan route, why not do it with a little more strength and dexterity?

Strength and dexterity have, of course, only grown over time. The 2020 model reached the heights of 400 horsepower and 413 pounds-feet of torque with a new 9-speed automatic transmission. It isn’t just engineering advancements that make the 2020 Titan XD a great model to buy used because the whole vehicle went a step up for that model year. Now equipped with 4-wheel drive and available 20-inch wheels, the Titan XD went in for an exterior makeover in 2020. Most notable among this redesign is the grille. The interlocking frame grille, for example, gives the vehicle a bold look while simultaneously enhancing the vehicle’s cooling performance. While the redesigned bumper and wheel options are exciting, the real treat is inside.

The 2020 Titan XD took things up a step with technology. To begin with, the Nissan Concierge feature can make things easier on the go by taking care of scheduling appointments, making reservations, and even shopping. But the real treat for any music lover is the sound system. In the 2020 model, you can hook up to your vehicle through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and enjoy your favorite music through a Fender Premium Audio System, which includes twelve speakers and 485 watts of amplified power, spread across nine channels. You’ll feel the music with this system, but just to make sure you don’t feel it too much, the impressive sound system is equipped with Panasonic’s Acoustic motion Control, which reduces vibration to make sure everything stays nice and crisp. One last note about the interior of the 2020 model: you’ll be sitting in Zero Gravity seats for maximum comfort. Need I say more? If you’re in the truck for a long time, you’ll want to stay comfortable.

Truckin’ Time

Two things can be true at once—a vehicle can be a highly-capable pickup truck and a fine luxury vehicle. Nissan has found a healthy balance of work and play in its truck lineup. With higher performance capabilities than other trucks in its class, a luxury interior, and manageable dimensions, a used Frontier is the perfect way to get your feet wet with a pickup truck and have fun while doing so. If you’re looking for power and size, the Titan or the Titan XD might be a better fit since you’ll be getting higher performance capabilities and a larger build. You’ll just have to get behind the wheel see for yourself.