2017 Nissan Titan Review: Meeting the bar
– Cleveland, Ohio
After 12 years of failing to gain a foothold in the U.S. fullsize truck market with the first-generation Titan pickup, Nissan has returned with an all-new version that’s up to the task. Here we have the most expensive model, the range-topping Titan Platinum Reserve. If any version could convince me that Nissan will find more buyers than it did the first time around, it’s this one. Yet, like the larger Titan XD compared to other heavy duty pickups, the Titan has shown me it’s not better than other half-ton trucks at any one particular thing. This new Titan’s success may rely on the same thing its predecessor did: how much Nissan is willing to pay you to buy one.
- Nissan's newest trucks really excel in the engine department. The 5.0-liter diesel V8 in the larger Titan XD is excellent, and the half-ton Titan’s 5.6-liter V8 (also available in the XD) is equally well-suited to its purpose. Its 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque are plentiful for both moving the truck smartly as well as posting competitive towing and payload numbers. Though the latter two aren’t best-in-class, they’re good enough for most owners and high enough to be in the conversation now, at least. The seven-speed automatic transmission also performs well, making intelligent decisions about when to shift and doing so without fuss (unlike some transmissions with more gears that it competes with).
- The Titan’s on-road ride is remarkably smooth and comfortable for a truck. The Ram 1500 remains the king of on-road ride quality among pickups, thanks to its coil-spring independent rear suspension, but according to my butt, the Titan earns a solid second place with its well-tuned, multi-leaf rear setup.
- The Titan Platinum Reserve gives a good first impression with its nice collection of premium features (heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, premium stereo, and navigation) and nice-feeling finishes (leather, wood tone accents, and soft touch plastics). While all those features are available from Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Ram too, NIssan’s luxury trim lives up to its name and feels every bit its $57,000 price tag.
- The Titan suffers from an interior not designed for truck people. The seven-inch touchscreen is an inch or two smaller than what you get in other trucks, which makes pressing on-screen buttons that much harder. The physical controls, as well, are largely taken from Nissan’s parts bin and were originally designed for use in passenger cars. Truck owners, however, need bigger buttons and knobs for when they’re wearing work gloves. Also, the Titan joins the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra in not yet offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
- Looks are always subjective, but I put the Titan’s design in the Con column. It’s not ugly, but the shape is an over-the-top caricature of American truck design. It also looks identical to the larger Titan XD, even though Nissan swears the two don’t share any body panels.
- While uncompetitive in most areas, the last-generation Titan was at least a price leader. The new Titan, not so much. This Platinum Reserve model costs almost $57,000 out the door; the same coin will get you a better-equipped Ford F-150 Platinum. Also, the new Titan’s starting price is a lofty $35,000 because the only body style offered right now is a four-door Crew Cab; the F-150 starts around $27,000 for a regular-cab model with a V6 engine.
Photos: John Neff / Motor1.com