Nissan has once again become a viable player in the fierce full-size pickup segment.
QUÉBEC CITY, QC – Nissan calls this their “Year of the Truck”, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The last twelve months have seen the debuts of new (or refreshed) models of the Rogue (reviewed here), the Pathfinder, and the Titan. You may ask – why is this considered a first drive when we have already published reviews on the new Titan XD? Well, the XD moniker identifies the heavy-duty model, so Nissan invited us to Québec to test the capabilities of the new half-ton 2017 Nissan Titan, along with the full lineup of Titan models now available.
The Titan now offers two powertrains, the more interesting one being the 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V8 (reviewed here), solely available on the three-quarter-ton XD model. This beastie is rated for 310 horsepower and a staggering 555 lb-ft of torque. During a towing test that we conducted, it demonstrated its ability to tow a trailer weighing in at 6,000lb (with a Bobcat on top of it). Zipping around town, the diesel feels exactly like it should, with gobs of torque available low in the powerband, and plenty of horsepower to get you where you’re going. Where it really surprises is out on the highway and when towing (12,000+ pound tow rating!) – the diesel is pretty smooth and quiet.
Both sizes of Titan are available with the 5.6L Endurance V8, which is notably improved but still the same fundamental engine that has been powering the Titan, Armada, and QX56 (now the known as the QX80) for over a decade. Nissan has managed to squeeze 390 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque out of it, and it’s mated to a seven-speed automatic, a bit different from the diesel XD’s heavy-duty Aisin six-speed. While I’m a diesel fan, if you don’t really need to be towing all the time or require the torque, this Endurance V8 would be my choice motor. It makes an authoritative roar, and it’s sufficiently responsive for the daily grind.
We were given the chance to push the Titan on an off-road course, which also included bounding up a closed-off ski hill in muddy conditions after a massive rainfall. The meaty all-terrain tires (available on PRO-4X) did an excellent job giving the huge truck stability and overall prowess. There’s a Hill Descent Control system on board, which utilizes the brakes and stability control to maintain a slow and steady speed when going downhill. It’s an okay system, but a bit too invasive for my liking. Most competent drivers will opt to modulate the truck themselves, but it is nice to have the option.
There’s a length difference between the two models; the half-ton has a 139” wheelbase, whereas the XD comes in at 151.5”. The overall lengths of the trucks are 228.1” for the half-ton and 243” for the XD. Due to the bigger bumpers for off-road protection, the PRO-4X examples are a smidge longer (15mm). I would recommend opting for running boards, because even at 6’1, I had to almost struggle to get into the cab; something that isn’t really an issue for me on most pickup trucks.
The two sizes of Titan are almost indistinguishable from one another, and with the exception of the diesel engine solely being available on the big boy, trim levels are very similar too (the half-ton can be had in the slick Platinum Reserve trim as well). Both models are available in five distinct trim levels, each offering varying levels of equipment, but all with insane capability. These range from the base S to the SV, PRO-4X, SL, and range-topping Platinum Reserve. Interesting standard features on the entry-level S include 17” wheels, hill start assist, push button start, and a block heater for those in colder climates.
Both Titans drive pretty well, though the half-ton has a very obviously tighter turning circle that will come in handy for contractors and those whose work days involve city driving. The XD is thoroughly excellent out on the highway, but it’s just too large for some tight streets and basically impossible to get into many new underground garages. The half-ton is a bit harsher-riding; we noticed the big XD has an ability to absorb road imperfections and bumps in a smoother manner. Tip: those with tight areas to park in can opt for the Nissan AroundView monitor with 360-degree camera; this will help park the truck with ease.
Of course, both trucks loaded up with over 900lb of apples (yes, we did this) demonstrated good ride quality. This didn’t touch the capabilities of the truck though; the diesel XD has a payload rating of 2,420 pounds, and the half-ton is good for almost 2,000 (1,930 pounds to be exact). The gasoline powered XD, with its payload rating of 2,510 pounds, can haul the most of them all. Forthcoming single-cab models with the 8.0’ bed are expected to have the capacity to lug even more weight around.
Moving past the available sizes and engines is the cabin configuration, in which Nissan also offers three choices for buyers. There’s a Crew Cab with a 5.5’ box on the half-ton and 6.5’ on the XD, and a King Cab with a 6.5’ box is on the way. Single cab models will be available starting November 2016, with a massive 8’ box, on both half-ton and XD models. What we really liked is the abundance of interior space on the Crew Cab models; there’s a serious amount of room for even the tallest people in the rear seats.
Interior materials on the Titan are adequate, but surprisingly nice on Platinum Reserve models. There are some plastics in use, and the standard-issue Nissan touchscreen infotainment and automatic climate control units, but fit and finish is pretty good and it doesn’t feel like a typical work truck. Even the off-road-geared PRO-4X is available with a Luxury Package, which gives it nice appointments like leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, and the versatility of Titan boxes in the bed (these are way more useful than Ram’s RamBox system).
The Titan S Crew Cab (half-ton) starts at $44,650, and goes as high as $65,800 for the Platinum Reserve model. Three-quarter-ton XDs start at $46,650, and shoot up very quickly to $68,500 for the Platinum Reserve. Pricing for the King Cab, Single Cab, and diesels is not yet available for 2017 models at the time of this writing. Nissan offers their 5yr/160,000km bumper-to-bumper warranty on all Titan models – a segment leader.
With this new family of Titan trucks, Nissan has once again become a viable player in the fierce full-size pickup segment. The 2017 Nissan Titan is a titan of trucks, and I’m confident in its ability to bring in some new clientele. The XD isn’t quite the size of most one-ton trucks, so it’s a compelling step up from half-ton models that nobody else really offers. The competition is intense, with the new Ford F-150 (reviewed here) and Super Duty models having just hit showroom floors, but Nissan’s great warranty and dealer experience will speak for itself.