By Matt Degen
The Nissan Titan pickup truck enters its second generation as an all-new model for 2017. Long an also-ran among far better-selling rivals like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and even the Toyota Tundra, the Titan has a multi-point plan to better compete this time around. Unlike the 1st-gen Titan, this Nissan half-ton pickup will offer a variety of configurations, from a single cab to crew cab, a V8 or V6 engine, and best-in-class warranty -- five years or 100,000 miles. The 2017 Titan also offers helpful features for securing cargo, a damped tailgate and the PRO-4X off-road model. Still, the Titan faces an uphill battle against ever-fresher rivals and, warranty aside, struggles to stand out in any one major area.
One of the Titan's best traits is its bumper-to-bumper warranty. At five years/100,000 miles, it offers extra assurance to individual owners and fleet operators alike. You also may be happy to know the Nissan Titan is built in America -- the truck in Mississippi, its powerful V8 engine in Tennessee.
The Titan still can't match the features, sophistication, fuel economy, torque output, tow rating, or powertrain options of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado or Ram 1500. While the Titan offers a diesel engine in its larger XD variant, you can't get one in a half-ton version, as you can in a Ram 1500.
Following last year's introduction of the larger Nissan Titan XD that aims to fill white space between half-ton and heavy-duty pickups comes this, the all-new 2017 Nissan Titan half-ton. It is initially available as a V8 crew cab, with more cab configurations and a base V6 engine coming later.
With Nissan's 5.6-liter V8 Endurance engine humming under the hood, the 2017 Titan pickup truck feels powerful, while the added insulation and the cabin's laminated side glass help make this...
... Nissan truck remarkably quiet. When you put your foot into it, the V8 does bellow a satisfying roar, and the Titan's standard 7-speed automatic transmission smoothly ticks through gears. Those are among the new Titan's best traits. But compared to other full-size trucks, the Titan can feel cumbersome. Steering effort is high in low-speed settings such as parking lots, and the truck in general tends to feel even bigger than it is in smaller confines. In our time using the Titan as an actual truck for duties like hauling grain or towing a car, the V8 Nissan Titan certainly didn't protest, but it didn't feel as effortless as an F-150 equipped with a twin-turbocharged V6.
Standard on all 2017 Titan trucks, this feature gently and slowly lowers the tailgate rather than letting it just slam down. Conversely, it's also remarkably easy to lift back into place, too.
At five years/100,000 miles, the 2017 Nissan Titan easily offers the best warranty among pickup trucks. Those numbers beat its rivals by two years or 64,000 miles, and could help sway individuals and business owners alike.
Initially, all 2017 Titan models are 2-row, crew-cab configurations. Lower trims can seat up to six passengers thanks to a 40/20/40-split front bench, but most buyers will opt for a pair of front bucket seats, lowering total capacity to five. Interior materials and amenities range from a cloth-and-vinyl basic work truck to the plushness of a luxury car. The top-line Platinum Reserve Titan, for instance, features supple leather, heated and ventilated front seats and open-pore wood finishes. The 60/40-split rear seats can be flipped up to create a secure, wide and tall space in the rear of the cab.
If the all-new Titan seems bigger, bolder and brasher, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. From the honeycombed grille to the headlight housings and mirrors, everything seems to have gone up a size -- or three. It should be obvious that the Titan is a substantial rig. The half-ton Titan is 228.1 inches long -- which is still over a foot shorter than the Titan XD that is built on a different, more robust chassis. The initial crew-cab models feature a standard 5.5-foot bed. When single-cab and king-cab variants join the lineup, 6.5- and 8-foot beds will also be available.
The 2017 Nissan Titan half-ton truck is available in five trims: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve. The least expensive S version is pretty basic but does include cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, manual sliding rear window and a 6-speaker audio system with 5-inch display with Bluetooth connectivity and USB input. Most buyers would do well to step up a trim or two. SV versions provide the option for front bucket seats, which also allow for height adjustment. They also include trailer-sway control, power-adjust mirrors, upgraded cloth interior, SiriusXM satellite radio and chrome accents.
Keep moving up trims and you can get a leather interior, climate-controlled front seats, safety features like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded 7-inch infotainment system with navigation, Rockford Fosgate premium audio system, sonar-based front and rear parking assist, and the helpful AroundView bird's-eye-camera system. Off-road enthusiasts might dig the PRO-4X model that includes Bilstein shocks, all-terrain off-road tires, electronic locking rear differential and skidplates.
For now, just one engine is available in the Nissan Titan -- a stout 5.6-liter gasoline V8. (A V6 is set to join the lineup later. If you want a diesel Titan, you'll have to step up to the Titan XD, which offers a 5.0-liter Cummins V8). This big V8 is connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission and can be had in standard rear-wheel drive (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). The engine makes a hearty 390 horsepower, but beware of its thirst. Titan 4x2 models are rated to tow up to 9,390 pounds, while 4-wheel-drive versions max out at 9,230 pounds.
390 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
394 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (2WD & 4WD), 15/20 mpg (PRO-4X)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Until king-cab and single-cab variants arrive, the 2017 Nissan Titan is offered only as a crew cab, which means a higher starting price than competitors that offer more configurations. As such the Titan's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) currently begins just under $36,000 for a base S model and stretches to over $56,000 for a top-line Platinum Reserve edition. Crew-cab versions of the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 begin slightly less, but come with a V6 as standard vs. the Titan's V8. A crew-cab Chevy Silverado with a V6 starts slightly above the Titan. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As it's all-new, we've yet to predict how the Titan's resale value will hold up. Traditionally, this model has lagged far behind that of the Toyota Tundra.