Nissan Titan Crash-test Ratings Slide in New Evaluation

Christian Wardlaw | Feb 04, 2021

Nissan is making a big play for more pickup market share with its new redesigned 2022 Frontier midsize truck. But just as the automaker rolled out the new Frontier, safety-related news about Nissan's full-size Titan broke. And it wasn't good.

2021 Nissan Titan Towing Airstream Trailer

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2021 Nissan Titan earns an "Acceptable" rating for front passenger protection in a small-overlap frontal-impact collision. Previously, the 2017-2019 Titan earned a "Good" rating in this regard.

What happened? For the 2020 model year, Nissan refreshed the Titan and made structural changes. It also added new knee airbags for the driver and, for 2021 Titans built after September 2020, for the front passenger. While the modifications were meant to improve safety, the IIHS finds they instead reduced it. 

In the new tests conducted after the changes, the Titan's protection for the person sitting in the right front seat declined from "Good" to "Acceptable." Furthermore, new headlight designs are not as effective, according to the IIHS. From 2017 to 2019, the Titan earned a "Marginal" rating for headlight illumination. The new ones on the 2020 and 2021 models rate "Poor."

Nevertheless, despite these downgrades, the 2021 Titan still ranks higher than several competitors. The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra all perform worse when it comes to IIHS safety ratings.

Also, Nissan now includes its Safety Shield 360 collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) on every new Titan. The package's components include forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic forward emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning with automatic rear braking, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam assistance. These features should help Titan drivers avoid a collision in the first place.

Nissan's IIHS ratings dominance over Chevy, GMC, and Toyota may prove short-lived. General Motors is refreshing the Silverado and Sierra for 2022, and the 2022 Toyota Tundra is getting a complete – and long overdue – redesign.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Nissan are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on February 4, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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