No matter how nicely they ride, how richly they're appointed, or how packed with luxury features they may be, people choose pickup trucks over other options because they're going to haul big, heavy, and sometimes dirty things. So, when I decided to redo my front yard in the current California fashion--lots of rocks around a handful of plants--you'd better believe I was glad the 2017 Nissan Titan was in our long-term fleet.

Granted, it would've been helpful if our off-road ready Titan PRO4X was instead the semi-heavy-duty Titan XD with its nearly 3,000 pounds of hauling capability, simply because there were going to be a LOT of rocks to haul. Nonetheless, our Titan's payload limit of about 1,400 pounds was going to be far more useful than anything else in our fleet, and an order of magnitude better than our 15-year-old minivan.

Rock and Roll

I'd already done the math and figured out roughly how many rocks, pavers, plants, and so forth were going to be needed to complete the job (or so I thought), and so the first task was to start hauling it all from the Home Depot to the house. The first load was pavers and bricks, and as the forklift loaded a pallet of concrete pavers into the bed, the long-travel off-road suspension on the Titan PRO4X compressed ominously as it lost several inches off its ride height. Yet, aside from a smoother ride, the Titan didn't drive much differently with the load. Acceleration was still solidly brisk, and the ride height returned to normal the next day as we unloaded the pavers and bricks around the yard.

A few things helped make loading and unloading the Titan easier. The sheer fact that it's a truck, for starters, meant using a forklift was possible for the larger loads. The fold-down step on the right side of the bed made it easier to get in and out of the cargo area to unload, and the around-view camera, as always, proved its worth when maneuvering the Titan in to receive a load at the store without smashing the nearby begonias.

Also: See the 12 Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2017

Mr. Freeze

A couple weeks after the yard was finished, the Titan was called into duty once again to haul a dead freezer to the scrapyard. Capacity wasn't a problem, as the family minivan would easily have swallowed the smallish freezer. But considering the thing had been in the garage for nearly 15 years, nobody wanted a colony of spiders (or whatever) transferred to the family hauler.

Titan to the rescue! The fridge was easy enough to load into the bed thanks to a combination of a steeply sloped driveway and a makeshift plywood ramp, and there was enough room to lay the freezer on its side on the way to the scrapyard. Since it was junk, I didn't bother tying it down with the built-in bed cleats, confident the spray-in bedliner would be more than adequate in protecting the bed from the freezer banging around. A quick weigh-in, dump, and weigh-out, and the freezer was in a better place. As for any creepy crawlies, I didn't see any, but I hosed out the bed just to be on the safe side.

The Titan's foibles remain: Lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, fuel economy that's stuck around the 13.5 mpg mark, and so on. But despite that, the big Nissan has endeared itself, at least to me. Because, after all, sometimes you just need a big ol' truck.

See past reports for our long-term 2017 Nissan Titan…


Long-Term Update: Let's go offroad

Long-Term Update: Utility

Long-Term Update: Drivability

More 2017 Nissan Titan…

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