Nissan has finally rolled out the remainder of its Titan pickup line. Last model year we saw the first new Titan to roll off the assembly lines and it arrived in a 5/8-model branded Titan XD and powered by a Cummins diesel engine. For 2017 we see the half-ton models arriving with the V-8 gas engines.
The Titan half-ton truck appears nearly identical to the XD but arrives some 14.7 inches shorter and is about a foot shorter in wheelbase, and the two chassis’ are different as well. Nissan delivered the 2017 Titan in PRO-4X Crew Cab form for our week behind the wheel. The V-8 engine size remains the same as the previous titan at 5.6-liters displacement but power has been significantly upgraded – now 390hp and 394 lb. ft. torque. A V-6 will arrive later in the model year along with new Single and King Cab variants. The V-8 is mated to a new 7-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode and manual shift buttons on the gear stalk.
Other significant components in the drivetrain and chassis include electronic locking rear differential, 18-inch alloy wheels shod with P275/70R18 All-Terrain tires, four-wheel active brake limited slip, hill start assist, hill descent control, and as our tester was 4WD it also included shift-on-the-fly 2-speed electronic transfer case. The PRO-4X package added Bilstein Off-Road monotube shock absorbers, front tow hooks, skid plates protecting vital undercarriage components, front and rear sonar, electronic tailgate lock, and trailer brake controller with trailer sway control.
There are actually three levels of PRO-4X packages added to our test truck and they include utility/tow package, convenience package, and luxury package. Each carries its own set of amenities along with tacking a few more dollars onto the bottom line. What was quite surprising was the sticker price. The 2017 Titan half-ton truck is priced a significant bit higher than the truck it replaces. The last Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab we tested a couple of years ago arrived with a final sticker in the mid-40s. This 2017, similarly equipped, rolls off the lot at $52,305. To be fair, there is a bit more technology arriving on the 2017 model including blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert but this truck is only about a grand less than the Ram 1500 Rebel we recently tested and that truck clearly outperforms this Titan.
While some things are familiar in this new Titan pickup, many other items and components are not. Leading that latter list is styling. This is the new look for Nissan’s big vehicles, and the all-new 2017 Armada full-size SUV is arriving with similar looks and features. For me, the jury is still out on my fondness for the updated style. At certain angles I like the 2017 Titan but then I walk around the truck a little bit more and I kind of retract my earlier sentiments. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s just skip forward to the test drive.
Climbing in the new Titan I quickly realize Nissan forgot to add side steps or step rails to its new PRO-4X truck. If you give me a truck with beefier tires and suspension you had better outfit it with convenient entry/egress equipment. While there is a traditional ignition key supplied with the keyfob, this Titan has push-button (and remote) start. The engine fires and it speaks Nissan Titan, as in it belches a throaty exhaust note at the rear. And thank you Nissan for including a traditional stalk shifter. Knobs are cute and electronic gear sticks may be the wave of the future but in a truck I will take mine with tradition. The PRO-4X brings leather seating with heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. There is ample head and legroom in both rows with the truck seating five adults comfortably.
My first few spins down the road in the bigger Titan XD made me a firm believer that Nissan was ready to take on the industry. After my first day in the Titan half-ton I was less impressed. Sorry Nissan, but there is a bit of vibration and wobble in the front end that was almost always present. I could feel it in the steering wheel, as if the front end wanted to walk out on its own at times. Perhaps this is rookie jitters and they can overcome this in future models, but as I have tested every other half ton pickup on the market in recent years, this new Titan came in last in the on-road testing. Granted, I give allowances for such components as Bilstein shocks and all-terrain tires but I have experienced these items in other trucks – including several models of Nissan’s very own first-gen Titan – and this 2017 comes in behind all those.
The truck rides quiet and does a decent job of eliminating road noise and perhaps the attention to detail in these areas have amplified what may have always been there just not as present. At highway speeds I also picked up a bit of vibration in the seat bottom, thinking this was coming from the rear tires or suspension and compounding with whatever the front end was signaling to me. The symptoms were subtle, but they were present. Cranking up the riotous Rockford Fosgate premium audio system helped mask some of these issues somewhat. On imperfect city streets this was one of the bounciest 4x4s I have tested in recent years, even more so than the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Hard Rock we tested not too long ago.
By the numbers, the 2017 Nissan Titan PRO-4X 4WD Crew Cab has a base MSRP $45,020 with this tester arriving at $52,305. Fuel economy for the updated Endurance 5.6-liter V-8 is 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Around town we averaged a mere 11.2 mpg.
The all-new 2017 Nissan Titan half-ton is a truck, pure and simple, and makes no excuses for it. It drives like a truck and rides like a truck, and yes, it works like a truck. Where so many truck makers have gone to extremes to make their new models appear almost limo-like, Nissan appears to have chosen the traditional path for the second-generation Titan fullsize pickup. And since the new Titan has already began garnering some honors I look forward to testing other variants in the lineup to see if they are more competitive with the current genre of light duty pickups on the market.