Stories about unprecedented pickup truck sales growth aren’t fully founded in reality, as shown by 2016 Canadian sales stats. Only Ford’s F-150 saw a big improvement last year, with 145,409 units…

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
The 2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X gets less chrome than its siblings for a sportier look. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Stories about unprecedented pickup truck sales growth aren’t fully founded in reality, as shown by 2016 Canadian sales stats. Only Ford’s F-150 saw a big improvement last year, with 145,409 units out the door compared to just 118,837 in calendar year 2015, but it suffered from production issues that year. Toyota’s Tundra grew its numbers too, from 10,829 deliveries in 2015 to 11,364 in 2016, but compared to the blue oval, Toyota is clearly in the minor leagues when it comes to full-size pickups.

Last year’s losers include the Ram pickup that had its best year ever with 91,195 units in 2015 but fell to 89,666 sales in 2016 (nevertheless that’s its second-best-ever tally), whereas GMC Sierra deliveries dipped from 53,727 units in 2015 to 51,091 last year, Chevy’s Silverado sales dropped from 46,407 in 2015 to 44,932 in 2016, and believe it or not Nissan’s new Titan, which had 3,226 buyers in 2015 found only 2,715 last year, despite an entirely new model.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
Its rugged exterior can be had in a much brighter array of available colours if you want it to really stand out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This dramatic downward drop wasn’t necessarily due to any reduction in interest, but more so a changeover to the new model (which required phasing out the old one) and the lack of a gasoline-powered version (only the new heavy-half “Extra Duty” Cummins diesel was available for 2016).

Incidentally, the full-size pickup truck sales scenario played out similarly in the U.S. last year, with all models south of the 49th moving up and down the sales chart just like here in Canada, except for the Ram pickup and Titan that gained in numbers and the Tundra that lost out.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
LED lighting elements, body-colour and black trim, and these 18-inch machine-finished alloys add to the PRO-4X look. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Titan’s lack of gasoline power has been remedied for model year 2017, and the first four months of the New Year has improved for Japan’s alternative full-size truck brand here in Canada with 1,566 deliveries so far. If extrapolated throughout the year this number would grow to almost 4,700, resulting in the Titan’s best year ever (it’s previous high was 3,499 units in 2012), but we’d better not count these chickens before they’re hatched, as we know how that can turn out in the auto industry.

Still, there are a lot of reasons to be bullish about the new 2017 Titan, especially in standard trim. Those who like the look of the rugged new Titan XD will be happy Nissan kept its façade mostly unchanged with the standard truck, including its bold three-part rectangular grille, massive headlamp clusters, muscularly flared fenders, sporty side engine vents, and acres of chrome (depending on trim).

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
This is a sign of its new base V8 engine, now good for 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Actually, the $57,600 Crew Cab PRO-4X in our garage is the sportiest Titan variant, meaning much of its chrome has been swapped out for body-colour, matte black and satin aluminum, resulting in a look that’s much more sophisticated and (to these eyes) much more appealing. Along with the subdued glitter it gets a fabulous looking set of 18-inch machine-finished alloys with black painted pockets and (partial) spokes, these wrapped in 275/65 Toyo Open Country winters on my tester (although the standard 275/70 all-terrains would no doubt prove more capable off the beaten path).

Adding to the PRO-4X model’s trail trekking prowess are Bilstein off-road shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, hill descent control, transfer case and lower radiator skid plates, etcetera, while the interior gets metallic-tone interior accents, carpeted floor mats with PRO-4X logos, front bucket seats with special PRO-4X embroidery and a centre console in place of the standard bench, plus more.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
This upscale cabin comes as part of both PRO-4X and Luxury package upgrades. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The standard Titan loses no size to the XD, with both near identical in length, width and height, depending on trim. The Regular Cab body style gets an eight-foot bed, whereas Crew Cab models utilize a five-and-a-half-foot bed. Nissan promises an extended cab model at a later date, but for now only the two cab and bed configurations are available.

I won’t go into detail about our tester’s cabin other than to say the $6,400 Luxury package makes for an impressive off-roader thanks to leather upholstery with white contrast stitching, front seat ventilation, a heatable steering wheel, heatable rear seats, a 360-degree Around View monitor, and remote start.

Our Crew Cab tester was outfitted with Nissan’s Utili-track Channel System with four load-securing tie-down cleats, standard with the PRO-4X, while integrated in-bed lockable boxes are also available. Even more important (depending on your height) is a new retractable Rear Bumper Step Assist system that aids access to the bed for only $399 (although standard with the PRO-4X), while available $1,029 step rails or $1,159 running boards would’ve been helpful too.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
A 360-degree camera helps with a truck this large. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Standard PRO-4X exterior features not already mentioned include auto on/off headlights with signature LEDs, “Follow Me Home” functionality and integrated LED DRLs, plus fog lamps, LED under-rail bed and tailgate area lighting, heatable power-adjustable manually-extendable tow mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lights, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a power-sliding rear window with a defroster, a factory-applied spray-on bedliner, a 110-volt power outlet in the bed, an electronic locking tailgate, rear utility bed steps, a Class IV tow hitch receiver with a four-pin/seven-pin wiring harness, trailer brake controller and trailer light check, and more.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
That’s leather with white contrast stitching, part of the PRO-4X Luxury package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Proximity keyless entry with pushbutton ignition gets you inside, where you’ll be met by everything already noted as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, NissanConnect infotainment with a 7.0-inch touchscreen featuring a rearview camera, navigation, mobile apps, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Siri Eyes Free, Rockford Fosgate audio with 12 speakers and a sub, a centre console-mounted household-style 110-volt AC outlet, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with powered lumbar, heatable front seats, a lockable rear-seat cargo organizer, and much more.

The lighter weight regular Titan is an able ranch hand yet not quite the beast of burden of the XD, its maximum payload just 730 kilos (1,610 lbs) compared to the XD’s best 907-kilogram (2,000-lb) rating, and its top tow rating is 4,259 kg (9,390 lbs) instead of 5,443 kg (12,000 lbs). This comes down to a lighter duty chassis with unique spring rates, hubs, brakes, and more.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
A roomy interior? We’ll tell all in an upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The only engine on offer in the regular Titan is Nissan’s Endurance 5.6-litre V8 capable of a generous 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, which adds up to 73 more horsepower and 16 lb-ft of extra torque over the outgoing V8. This new engine is also found in Nissan’s 2017 Armada SUV (and its Infiniti QX80 counterpart), while all variations on the theme are partnered to the same seven-speed automatic transmission.

For comparison purposes, the Endurance 5.6-litre V8 matches up well against the Ram 1500’s 5.7-litre Hemi V8 and Toyota’s 5.7-litre Tundra V8, while it’s stronger than Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 and GM’s 5.3-litre V8.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X
That’s a helpful retractable step under the Titan bumper. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Four-wheel drive is standard on all but the base Titan Regular Cab S model, which incidentally starts at just $35,498. That price will likely go down when a V6 model is introduced, but so far we only have a promise from Nissan, with no release date.

As for fuel economy, the Titan Crew Cab achieves a claimed 15.2 L/100km in the city and 11.1 on the highway, whereas my PRO-4X tester is less frugal at the pump with a rating of 16.0 L/100km city and 12.0 highway.

I’ll include much more info as well as my driving impressions in an upcoming road test review, so stay tuned for more…

 

Make up your mind, Canada. For years you made Ford’s Escape number one in the compact SUV category, but that ended when 2016 closed and Toyota’s RAV4 took over top spot, and then after two months…

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The 2017 Rogue gets a mid-cycle update boasting bolder styling. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Make up your mind, Canada. For years you made Ford’s Escape number one in the compact SUV category, but that ended when 2016 closed and Toyota’s RAV4 took over top spot, and then after two months of 2017 Honda’s recently redesigned CR-V bumped the RAV4 off its pedestal, only to be knocked off by Nissan’s new Rogue last month.

As of Q1 2017, Nissan has sold 10,481 Rogues, Honda has purveyed 10,465 CR-Vs, Toyota has moved 9,979 RAV4s, and Ford’s Escape has dropped all the way down to fourth due to just 8,932 deliveries, although that’s still pretty impressive, as you’ll soon see. The rest of the compact SUV segment follows fairly far behind with the Jeep Cherokee at 6,594 units, Hyundai Tucson at 5,652, Chevrolet Equinox at 5,178, Mazda CX-5 at 5,108, GMC Terrain at 2,977, Subaru Forester at 2,911, Kia Sportage at 2,704, VW Tiguan at 1,764, Mitsubishi Outlander at 1,540, Subaru Crosstrek at 1,506, Jeep Patriot at 984, and finally the Jeep Compass at 242 sales.

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The new Rogue’s rear end design is very similar to the outgoing model, but fans will notice the subtle differences. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Why does being number-one matter? If you remember the once-popular TV game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, the most accurate answers always came from the audience, and those who vote with their wallets are even more likely to be right.

Truth be told, any of the compact SUV segment’s top four (or even the top six) are good bets, but respect should be given to Nissan that’s pulled the Rogue up by its britches with this latest mid-cycle refresh, and by so doing raised its game from fourth overall last year to first last month. Whether it stays there is anyone’s guess, but what’s done is done and Nissan should be commended for creating a compact SUV that most consumers like.

Of note, the Rogue is also Nissan’s biggest seller and therefore its most important model, so expect the Japanese automaker to keep piling on the upgrades year after year, while it continues to pull out all the stops in marketing, pricing, and layering on incentives to keep it numero uno.

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The top-line SL Platinum can be had with a unique brown interior and upscale premium finishings. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of critical importance to its rise in popularity is the refresh just mentioned, which updates styling, improves interior refinement, modernizes technologies, and adds a host of active safety features. Visually, the Rogue moves into 2017 with mostly the same flowing sheet metal as before, but its V-shaped grille has been flattened into more of a “U” and then trimmed out in more detail so as to simultaneously toughen up and sophisticate its image, plus its headlight clusters get more complexity along with quad beams and unique LED DRL signatures, and its lower front fascia is likewise given more intricate detailing along with horizontal LED fogs in uppers trims.

Changes down each side and in back are more subtly applied, the former including chrome mouldings adorning the otherwise matte black rocker extensions, and the latter including revised LED taillights and a reshaped bumper featuring a bolder black cap that protrudes outward and upward from below, once again giving the car-based crossover SUV a bit more rugged truck-like appeal.

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
Stylish seats make the Rogue look more like a luxury-lined Infiniti than a mainstream Nissan. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, all Rogue trims get new wheels that seem inspired by its larger mid-size Murano sibling, including 17-inch steel rims on the base S, 17-inch alloys on the SV, and 19-inch alloys with black painted pockets on the top-line SL. New colours often make just as dramatic a change without nearly as much expense, so therefore Nissan gives 2017 Rogue buyers the option of Caspian Blue, Monarch Orange, and our tester’s stunning Palatial Ruby, plus a bevy of hues carried forward from last year’s model.

Moving inside, Nissan has updated the Rogue with a new flat-bottomed steering wheel rim that provides greater space for the driver’s legs when sliding in and out and looks pretty sporty to boot, while it’s now heatable in upper trims. The shifter’s leather-clad shifter boot is new too, plus the new Rogue can also be had with remote engine start and memory for the driver’s seat and side mirrors.

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The Rogue offers loads of cargo capacity. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Interior styling changes include new dash panels, door skins and armrests, while our tester’s new Platinum Reserve package adds a stitched leather dash pad and quilted leather upholstery in classy Premium Tan.

The Rogue isn’t the most energetic SUV in its class at 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, while a fuel economy-focused continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, so therefore it’s quite clear that superior performance isn’t high on compact SUV buyers’ priority lists. Comfort is, but we’ll go into more detail about ride quality, handling, plus of course acceleration, braking and other experiential issues when our full road test review soon arrives in these pages. We’ll also tell you about its new active safety kit that includes emergency autonomous braking and much more, plus illuminate the pros and cons of its all-important digital interfaces.

Stay tuned for our upcoming road test review…

Love the recently redesigned 2017 Pathfinder but want a darker more aggressive look? Nissan has the answer in its all-new Platinum Midnight Edition that removes some of the bright silver and chrome exterior…

Nissan Canada offers Pathfinder Platinum Midnight Edition to celebrate 30 years

Love the recently redesigned 2017 Pathfinder but want a darker more aggressive look? Nissan has the answer in its all-new Platinum Midnight Edition that removes some of the bright silver and chrome exterior trim and replaces it with glossy black detailing.

Included are black mirror caps, a black rooftop spoiler, unique 20-inch black alloys, a chromed rear bumper protector, plus Canada-exclusive badges on the fenders and tailgate, while the cabin gets illuminated kick plates and LED lighting elements.

The Platinum Midnight Edition celebrates 30 years of Pathfinder availability in Canada, making the popular SUV one of the most enduring sport utility vehicles on today's market.

"The Nissan Pathfinder has a storied heritage as one of the modern pioneers in the SUV segment, with more than 30 years in Canada, yet we are always looking forward – staying true to the Pathfinder name," said Tomoyuki Matsumoto, Senior Chief Marketing Manager at Nissan Canada Inc. Read Full Story
Want a full-size SUV yet not happy with what’s on offer? Most are pickup-based models from the Big 3, but Nissan just arrived with an all-new Armada that’s really their legendary global Patrol. It…

2017 Nissan Armada Platinum Road Test Review

You may not realize, but Nissan's two northernmost North American markets just had a year worth celebrating. No, I'm not talking about Nissan Canada's best-ever sales of 122,059 units or the Japanese brand's US division that did likewise with 1,426,130 deliveries. Come to think of it, Nissan's bigwigs might not even be aware of the somewhat smaller party going on down the hall in the full-size truck-based SUV department, but 2016 was the first year the Armada SUV outsold Toyota's Sequoia.

The numbers won't likely get Nissan's bean counters jumping for joy, with 716 Armadas sold last year compared to 697 Sequoias in Canada, plus Nissan's US division managing to move 13,834 off dealer lots compared to just 12,771 of the big Toyota. After the first month of 2017 Nissan USA has kept up its momentum with 1,908 Armadas down the road compared to a mere 1,146 Sequoias, so Nissan Canada had better get its act together because Toyota is once again out in front with 65 Sequoias to 62 Armadas. Read Full Story
The Canadian subcompact SUV market segment will soon become a lot more diverse, with the nine competitors currently available swelling to 12 by the end of the year. Before the new Ford EcoSport and Toyota…

Nissan bringing Qashqai subcompact SUV to Canadian market

Nissan has had fun advertising the unique Qashqai (cash-kai) name in European markets where consumers have been mispronouncing it for more than a decade, smartly turning a negative into a positive with humorous radio/TV spots and online videos. From what it appears, when the subcompact SUV arrives on Canadian soil this spring it will retain its unusual global name, despite Nissan Canada's U.S. counterpart choosing to call it Rogue Sport.

Smart move? While Canadians appreciate some differentiation from the 10-times-larger U.S. market, the reality of cross-border advertising bleed makes a strong argument for following the American narrative. Kia, which previously named its Canadian-spec mid-size sedan Magentis, because it rightly considered Canada a separate global market, eventually renamed it Optima to take advantage of marketing synergies between the two countries, however Mitsubishi's RVR, which has long been competitive within the same subcompact SUV segment the new Qashqai Read Full Story