The automotive landscape is dominated by large trucks. The Ford F-Series, Chevy Silverado and Ram pick-ups are perennially the country’s top-selling vehicles. So what are the other guys supposed to do to sell trucks?
Nissan, which launched the Titan in late 2003, decided it needed to regroup. Except for a V8 diesel, the Titan wasn’t available as a 2016 model. It’s back in 2017 with a new look and an expanded warranty.
Nissan’s goal is optimistic. It hopes the Titan can challenge the Big Three. Last year, Ford sold 820,799 F-Series trucks, led by the F-150. In 2005, Nissan sold 86,945 Titans, its best year. Sales haven’t reached 35,000 in any year in the last decade.
With its 2017 model, and a corresponding national advertising campaign (a first), Nissan is touting its new 5-year, 100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. The half-ton truck also has an improved cabin design, a more aggressive exterior design and a 390-horsepower V8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The Titan is available as a crew cab with a 5-foot-7 inch cargo bed or with the standard 8-foot 2.5 -inch bed. The crew cab can seat five or six depending on the available five trim: S, SV, SL, Platinum Reserve and the off-road-oriented Pro-4X, my test vehicle. While other trims are available with two or four-wheel drive, the Pro-4X is 4×4 only.
The Pro-4X expands on the already upscale SV’s equipment list and a vast collection of rugged, off-road-oriented stuff: a dark-finish wheels with all-terrain tires, off-road-tuned Bilstein shocks, a lockable rear differential, hill descent control, a receiver hitch and a seven-pin wiring harness connector.
There’s a lot more: front tow hooks, skid plates, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, a spray-in bed liner, a rearview camera, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
And there’s: keyless entry and ignition, front bucket seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen, voice controls, and a navigation system.
Three optional packages are also available, further extending the Titan’s equipment list into overload status. My review vehicle Utility and Tow ($1,820), Convenience ($3,520) and Luxury ($750) packages. With a lofty $1,195 destination charge, the Titan’s base price of $45,020 is launched past $52,000. That’s substantial, particularly as the pick-up underdog.
The Titan advances with authority. The ride is smooth, quiet and powerful. With its spacious interior, the truck isn’t too far removed from defining a small, mobile apartment. Front and rear seats and easily adjustable, giving the Titan cargo and passenger versatility. Braking is firm, but the truck is nimble for a vehicle its size.
Buyers new to the truck segment will quickly learn, pick-up trucks rule the road, but that’s not always convenient. Say goodbye to parking in many regularly sized parking lot spaces. With its large side view mirrors, extra care is needed when other vehicles are nearby and when passing through toll booths, drive-thru ATMs and coffee kiosks.
With its V8 as the only engine choice, the Titan is far from economic with ratings of 15 miles per gallon in city driving, 20 miles per gallon in the freeway and a combined 17 miles per gallon. Acceleration is swift, 6.5 seconds for the 0-60 miles per hour standard.
Cargo bed lights.
Spacious front and back seats.
Plenty of power all road and off-road conditions.
No stepping boards.
Good luck parking in regularly-sized spaces.
Lower-than-average towing capacity.
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.5 seconds.
Fuel economy: 15 mpg (city), 20 mpg (highway), 17 mpg (combined), seven-speed automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $45,020.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.nissanusa.com.
Price As Tested: $52,305.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/100,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion: 5 years/unlimited miles.
What Others Say:
“The redesigned 2017 Nissan Titan has several strengths, including a well-built interior, a smooth ride, and a versatile bed. Unfortunately, none of these traits really separate it from the class. And the Titan’s weaknesses – a below-average tow rating and a sole V8 engine that hurts its fuel economy – are significant when comparing the Titan to class rivals like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500.” — U.S. News & World Report.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The rekindled Nissan Titan is masculine, powerful and versatile. But it doesn’t do anything the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Ram don’t do at least equally well. It would be hard not to choose one of the top-three selling trucks first.”