By Frank S. Washington
Special to The Mississippi Link
CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. – Nissan continues to expand its reach into the pick-up truck market. We came here to test drive the new 2017 Titan Crew Cab. The half-ton pickup comes in 4X4 or 4X2 configurations.
Added to the Titan XD, a diesel, Nissan will add King Cab, Regular Cab, and V6 powered Titans to its lineup. When done in early 2017, the automaker will cover about 85 percent of the pickup truck market.
A spokesman said, “The original Titan (last-gen) was offered with one engine (V8 gas), 2 body styles (King Cab and Crew Cab) and one chassis. That covered approximately 55% of the light truck marketplace. By expanding the lineup to a true TITAN “family” with two frames, three body styles, multiple engine options, etc., we’ll be at the 85 percent number.”
The Nissan Titan Crew Cab was equipped with a direct injected 5.6-liter V8 that made 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with column shifter and a lower gear ratio for city driving.
Remember this was a half-ton pickup truck so the mileage will not resemble a sedan. For the 4X4 in the city it got 15 mpg, on the highway it got 21 mpg and combined it got 18 mpg. That is a 28 percent improvement due in large part to better dynamics and an active grille shutter. And the 2017 Nissan Titan was designed to run off regular gasoline.
Although it looks like the Titan XD, the Titan half-ton was built on a different chassis. It is about a foot shorter in wheelbase and it is a little more than a foot shorter in overall length.
The half-ton version of the Titan was designed in La Jolla, California. And American stylists incorporated a front spoiler, roof and tailgate spoilers, a front tow hook-hole cover, underbody covers, rear tire wind deflectors and a seal between the cab and the bed.
Designers and engineers did a lot of little things to make the Titan a better pickup truck. It had LED lighting in the bed and there was a utility track there for tie downs no matter the shape of the cargo.
There were Bilstein shock absorbers; the Titan was equipped with hill descent, skid plates and an electronic locking gear. We didn’t put the skid plates to the test on the short off road course that Nissan had set up on the grounds of the Carmel Valley Hotel which was more like an expansive resort. But we did get a chance to try the hill descent which is always a test of the driver to trust the technology and keep his foot off the brake. We did and the truck got down a really steep incline with no problem. What’s more, we did the course in high gear rather than low gear.
On the road, the Titan had manners. It wasn’t unwieldly, it stayed were you pointed it, there wasn’t much bouncing and it had really comfortable seats. What struck us most was that the Titan was pretty quiet. Nissan used acoustic glass for the windshield and the front side glass and engineers did a better job of isolating the engine.
There was a drop down step assist under the left corner of the rear bumper. You could just pull it out and step up for much easier access to the bed. And the tailgate was dampened; let it fall and it glided down.
The rear seat will fold up and just the flick of a wrist will deploy a folded board creating a flat cargo space. The seat back of the rear seat will also fold down onto the seat cushion too. Nissan said it was a Swiss Army Knife concept. And with work crews in mind, the 2017 Nissan Titan has 16 cupholders.
The interior was improved. It was comfortable, functional and of good quality. Nissan said designers focused on enhancing utility and on making the interior easy to use through an improved layout of switches, driver control and storage spaces. Front storage had been increased 33 percent and rear storage was upped by 28 percent.
New 2nd row under seat storage included a locking lid for added security. Relocating the shift lever to the steering column rather than the center console puts controls within easy reach and created a huge center console that is large enough to hold a computer tablet with case or a 15-inch laptop without sacrificing two rear cupholders and rear vents.
The standard front and rear Zero Gravity seats help maximize posture positioning for enhanced comfort during long distance driving. Heated and cooled front seats are also available, along with a choice of water-repellant fabric or durable leather-appointments.
There will be five trim levels of the 2017 Titan: S, SV, SL, and Pro-4X and Platinum. And executives told us that anything with a Titan nameplate will have a five-year 100,000 mile warranty. Prices had not been announced but we were told that the Titan would start at less than $35,975.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.