When you are looking for a real workhorse that you can depend on to get you around Orange County, then there is a good chance that you are comparing the 2013 Nissan Titan and the 2013 Toyota Tundra. Both offer a variety of cabs with strong engines, but while one tends to get a few extra votes in exterior appearance, the other is often a preferred pick for performance-minded buyers.
Toyota Tundra gets a bit of an edge in this category primarily because it offers three different engines; Nissan Titan only offers one. That being said, there is no arguing that the 5.6-liter V8 in the Titan is the entire engine you will ever need. Paired with a standard five-speed automatic transmission, Titan delivers 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque and can tow up to 9,500 pounds. The standard two-wheel drive powertrain returns 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, but the four-wheel drive only affects these numbers by 1 mpg.
The 2013 Toyota Tundra has a little something for everyone. The Regular and Double Cabs that are rear-wheel drive get a 4.0-liter V6 that offers 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque while returning 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Then, standard on certain CrewMax models and optional on others is a strong 4.6-liter V8 that can accelerate zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds thanks to 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy barely changes, still averaging 17 mpg.
Lastly, Limited and Platinum trims get a standard 3.7-liter V8 that is good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Not only does it offer quick acceleration, it can pull a 10,400-pound trailer with the optional Tow Package.
Driving and Handling
While the 2013 Titan tends to be a little more nimble on pavement, Tundra feels like a larger truck. However, if you have to take the road less traveled to the job site, Tundra will come out ahead in this competition. Thanks to the well-sorted transmission and thoughtful axle ratio, Tundra’s brawn will handle the grunt work you demand with ease. Although it may feel large, it still provides a comfortable but firm ride, and the steering is incredibly light.
The first thing you notice about Titan is that is hardly feels like a truck. The engine is spirited and rack-and-pinion steering is perfectly weighted for a pleasant driving experience. It may not excel like Tundra on more unfavorable terrain, but for in-city driving, it is a popular pick.
There are pretty big differences in safety ratings between the two, which may or may or not play a role in your decisions. While Titan receives top safety scores only in frontal-offset crash tests, Tundra receives them in front, roof and side-impact protection. In fact, Tundra’s 2012 model is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This was the first time a full-size pickup wore this label. It boasts a Star Safety System™ and eight airbags, including front seat knee airbags, which no other truck has.
The2013 Titan has its fair share of safety features though, including an energy absorbing steering column, hood buckling creases, six airbags and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
Although both are good-looking trucks, Titan has a more modern appeal, primarily due to its body-colored bumpers and sport wheels. However, it is not available in as many configurations as Tundra.
Titan comes as a Crew Cab with two bed sizes or an extended-cab King Cab with a 6-foot-6-inch bed. Tundra gives you the choice between three body styles, three bed lengths and three wheel bases, so there is plenty of room for customization. The cabs include a Regular Cab with two doors, Double Cab with four doors and four-door Crew Cab referred to as CrewMax.
Both Titan Crew and King Cab are roomy and efficient inside. There is a lot of hard plastic used, but most people using their truck as a work vehicle appreciate a cabin that can be easily wiped clean. There are quite a few storage bins, the instrument panel is easy to read and controls are all clearly marked and a breeze to operate, without taking your eyes off the road. The front passenger seat folds to create a table, and the rear seat folds flat to offer a generous cargo space.
The 2013 Tundra has not had an interior upgrade in 5 years, but the higher trims are still quite sophisticated with upscale touches. Some feel as though the controls on the center stack are a little more out of reach on the Tundra, but when you see how much legroom rear seat passengers have, you will forget all about it. This is an adult-friendly rear seat; a feature not easily found on a truck.
Technology and Entertainment
Considering both Titan and Tundra buyers are typically shopping for performance, they are generally impressed by the available technology and entertainment features that are either standard or optional. Certain Titan trims offer a NissanConnect with Navigation that includes a 5.8-inch touchscreen. Tundra’s available navigation comes with up to a 7-inch screen.
Entune® on the 2013 Tundra lets you connect your smartphone directly to the multimedia system while Titan offers a Rockford Fosgate-powered CD audio system with a subwoofer. Both vehicles have more than enough features to keep you entertained on the road.
Choosing between the Titan and Tundra will really come down to evaluating your needs or deciding which one makes your heart beat a little faster. There is no denying that Titan is a good-looking vehicle, but Tundra has that off-road appeal to it, and you can’t beat it in terms of performance. Plus, Tundra does offer more body configuration and three engines. Lastly, if safety is your main concern while traveling the roads of Southern California, then Tundra comes out ahead with its Top Safety Pick rating.