In this its second generation, Nissan’s Titan 2017 half-ton pickup deserves a look as it can - for the most part – favorably compare to the Detroit Three for its enhancements that include a dampened tailgate, diesel engine option and the best warranty for a half-ton pickup truck.
It’s no secret that the Titan has a tough time competing against Ford’s F150, Ram and Chevy/GM pickups. But it can go head-to-head with Toyota’s Tundra, perhaps even a step better with its proven Cummins diesel engine (on the XD model) that Toyota doesn’t offer. And it comes with some impressive accolades in the form of “2017 Pickup Truck of the Year by Truck Trend magazine, “Best Pickup Truck” of Motor Week’s 2017 Driver’s Choice Award and “Best Value” by the Texas AutoWriters Association, and a few others.
Our Pro-4X 4WD test truck came with the standard 5.6-liter Endurance V8 that puts out 390-hp and 394 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 15 city, 20-highway mpg with a 7-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain gets a maximum tow rating of 9,230 pounds and carries a GVWR of 7,300 pounds. The combination produces gobs of power at all rpm ranges and that includes interstate passing of 18-wheelers. It’s also a relatively quiet engine at idle and during cruise and this is enhanced with laminated side glass and extra insulation. A six-cylinder has been rumored and may be forthcoming to compete against Ford’s EcoBoost V6.
Titan is offered in S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, Platinum Reserve and a new Midnight Edition model that has special trim features. The half-ton truck is also available in Single Cab, King Cab and tested Crew Cab. The Titan XD, says Nissan, is unique in that it’s positioned between traditional heavy-duty and light-duty entries and its wheelbase is 14.7 inches longer than the standard Titan.
Titans’ Crew Cab comes with a standard 5.5-foot cargo bed while the Single Cab offers an 8-foot bed and King Cab includes a 6.5-foot bed. The beds are available with Util-track Bed Channel system that contains four HD positional cleats and bed floor tracks. This offers numerous tie-down positions.
Unique to any half-ton pickup is Titan’s Active Grille Shutter that helps reduce drag by closing the grille opening behind the radiator when a large amount of air is not needed based on coolant temperatures, vehicle speed and A/C system pressure. Included too are LED bedrail lights.
Like all new pickups, Titan has a damped tailgate that slowly lowers upon releasing the handle. It seemed, however, to lower more quickly when compared to those on the competition.
After a low 22.5-inch step-in (step bars are not needed), Titans’ interior boasts aptly padded and nicely supportive leather bucket seats up front that sport contrasting stitching along all edges. A massive console box, that can hold a six pack of beverage cans and then some, melds nicely with the vertical stack. HVAC controls are easy to use and the 4WD rotary dial offers 2WD, 4High and 4Low positions. A separate switch locks the rear axle for when the going gets really tough. Missing though is a 4Auto mode that the Detroit Three offer that in essence operates like AWD and is a nice feature especially on rainy days when starting off on a hill from a stop can cause wheel spin when in 2WD.
Crew Cab rear seats split and fold up against the bulkhead and beneath the seats are bins for small item storage and atop them a fold out carpeted metal panels that form a flat load floor. Ram offers the same feature on most models.
Handling and ride wise, Titan feels big and brawny. Steering effort is a bit heavy on around town jaunts and when parking. Ride quality is good on 18-inch General Grabber deep cleated tires. Titans’ suspension smooth’s out rough pavement, and as said, it’s a quiet truck at all speeds.
Titan is also priced competitively to the trio of popular pickups. Starting at a base of $45,020, this escalated on the tester after adding $1,820 for the Pro-4X utility and tow package; $3,520 for convenience package; $750 for the luxury package that included ventilated front seats, Around-View Monitor (camera system) and reverse auto-tilt on side mirrors. These options brought the bottom line to $52,305 with delivery. But we must add that the standard list of safety features such rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning and amenities like NissanConnect, satellite radio and far too many to list, are included in the base price.
To its credit, Titan comes with the best warranty on any pickup offering 5 years/100,000 miles. This should interest fleet or construction companies who use their trucks commercially.