If all the flag-waving surrounding the presidential election leaves you feeling compelled to buy American, here’s a new pickup you may want to consider: the 2017 Nissan Titan. The new half-ton truck is designed, engineered and built in the U.S.—with American contractors in mind.
Nissan initially is offering its new light-duty truck, which is nearly 15 in. shorter than the brawny Titan XD, in a crew-cab model with a 5-ft-long bed. Debuting for work-truck buyers will be a regular-cab version with an 8-ft-long bed, which is a brand-new body style for the Titan. It will begin appearing on dealer’s lots in November, Nissan told ENR during a recent test drive near Phoenix.
Nissan also has plans to offer the larger Titan XD in a commercial-style regular cab, and all Titans will now come with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. An extended-cab Titan truck that comes with a 6.5-ft-long bed—called “King Cab” in Nissan-speak—will come in spring 2017.
In the bed, you’ll find a spray-on liner, flush-mounted LED lighting and Nissan’s Utili-Track channel system, which allows users to move four locking tie-down cleats to an optimal position to secure a load. Also available is a new option called the Titan Box, which comes as a set of twin tool boxes that run along the sides of the bed. Unlike some competitors, though, these boxes can be removed: Four bolts take them away when maximum cargo space is required.
The tailgate takes less effort to raise and lower, and a 120-volt AC outlet makes it easy to power tools at remote jobsites. Payload capacity for regular-cab models maxes out at 1,930 lb, on par with competing half-ton pickups. When it comes to trailering, the Titan’s maximum tow rating is 9,390 lb, which also is in the ballpark of its rivals.
Sitting in the captain’s chair, available technology includes an integrated trailer-brake controller, trailer-sway control and a rearview camera, which makes hooking up a trailer a largely hassle-free experience.
The truck’s available Around View Monitor uses four cameras that give the driver a top-down view of the truck, making for more confident maneuvering in tight quarters. We found Nissan’s light-check feature to be a clever innovation: It confirms that the trailer’s tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are working without requiring someone in the cab to activate them manually.
Under the hood, a revised 5.6-liter V8 moves this truck down the road briskly, thanks to 390 horsepower—a gain of 73 hp over the last model—and 394 lb-ft of torque. A V6 is in the works. Power is put to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission, which includes an integrated tow-haul mode, with downhill braking control and a manual-shift feature. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available as an option. The Titan we drove around a short autocross-like course exhibited solid handling and a comfortable ride.
Inside, the Titan offers a comfortable interior with good-quality materials. Seats come wrapped in water-repellent cloth upholstery on base models, while upper-level trims can get downright deluxe. By moving the shift lever to the steering column from the center console, Nissan says it opens up 30% more storage space, which now can hold a laptop computer. Rear-seat storage has grown, too; on crew-cab models, seat-bottom cushions fold up to make room for all those valuable tools you would rather not leave in the bed.
With the new Titan, Nissan expands its lineup of half-ton trucks and makes them more attractive as work vehicles. Fuel economy is rated at 21 miles per gallon on highway and 15 mpg in city, while list price for a basic crew-cab Titan with two-wheel drive starts at $35,975—similar to other new trucks of this size on the road. When the single-cab Titan hits the dealer lots, we also expect it to offer competitive prices to its U.S.-based counterparts. Figure in its Canton, Miss.-based birthplace, and the 2017 Nissan Titan is about as American as any pickup on the road.