Last year, there were over 2.5 million pickup trucks sold in this country. over 2.5 million full-size pickups sold in the U.S. last year, it represents a juggernaut of a segment. Ford has maintained a dominant position in this market for many years with Chevrolet and GMC making up as distant competitors. Debuted in 2004, the Titan has been Nissan’s entry point into the pickup market as they try to add their name to the roster of challengers for Ford’s crown.
While not even close to the level of production volume seen with Ford and GM, the Nissan V8 Titan has carved out a place among the heavy hitters.
While a bit of a nod to Ford, the Titan’s styling is far subtler than either Ford or GM and while there are similarities like low set fog lights, the grille and light shapes are different and the Titan’s not nearly as hostile looking but still has a bold and aggressive looking front end.
Other than a small flare at the bottom of the wheel well openings, the Titan lines are straight and somber. On the interior, the Titan’s function-first philosophy is on full display. There is some faux woodgrain set into the dash and contrasted stitching here and there. Nissan’s made strides when it comes to the quality of their interiors and the Titan displays it.
The 2017 Titan offers space and comfort and enough of both to handle a long day behind the wheel. The cabin, overall, is extremely quiet and the seats are comfortable and supportive and may, for moments at a time, cause occupants to forget they’re in a work truck. There’s more than ample legroom, headroom and personal space during a long drive. Even the rear seating is comfortable for even long-legged travelers.
Controls and knobs are well positioned for easy access and control for the most part. Nissan’s infotainment system display screen, at only 7 inches across could use some expansion. The only other complaint was the wheel-mounted volume toggle which is poorly placed and requires taking your attention away from the road to locate and use.
The Titan’s cargo bed offers adjustable cleats, LED lighting, 120-volt power, and more to make it extremely functional and convenient. This is the very reason you buy a pickup truck and Nissan excels in the space with fore-aft adjustable cleats at the top of the bed for tie down use and LED lighting. The 120-volt AC electric outlet within the bed is another welcome convenience. Titan can easily hold 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood, tag-along tool boxes that unbolt, furniture sets or even a car engine.
IN addition, the storage space inside the Titan’s cab is more than enough with two center console spaces, plenty of cup holders, a large glove box, and plenty of underseat storage. The center console storage space is huge and can fit a 13-inch laptop and easily close.
The Titan’s rear seat bottom lifts up and out of the way to provide more underseat storage for tools, bottles or cans that could otherwise roll around.
The Nissan Titan features 12 speakers and a large and deeply thumping subwoofer and the navigation system is functional but falls behind the technology offerings of Ford and GM. The Titan does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Nissan needs to catch up in this section.
While blind spot warning as well as a rear cross-traffic alert system is available, the Titan doesn’t offer a forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking option yet. The reversing camera is standard. The 2017 Titan is a new model so it has not yet been rated by the IIHS or NTSA.
Power and Performance
The Titan offers a 5.6-liter gasoline V-8 engine that delivers 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. Available for the XD is a 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbocharged diesel with 310 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque. For truck owners that need strong towing capabilities, they may be better off to choose the heavier duty Titan XD than push the half-ton Titan. The Titan XD’s cooling systems, brakes, transmissions and frame is specifically designed to handle that type of stress.
Officially, the Titan is rated at 21-mpg highway and 18-mpg in combined driving.
Ride and Handling
Being a Titan, the Nissan truck doesn’t ‘zip’ around corners like a rack-n-pinion Mini. Instead, with suspension calibrated for towing and hauling, the Titan performs as it should; however, uneven surfaced unsettled the Titan more so than other pickups tested. Highway drives were smooth with effective braking but the Titan would benefit from a bit more locking in the steering and a sharper creep in turning speed.