|The Titan PRO-4X makes a bold visual statement, backed up by strong performance. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
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.
|It’s a great looking truck from both ends. (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.
|Complex headlamps incorporate signature LEDs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The Titan’s lack of gasoline power has been remedied for model year 2017, and the first five months of the New Year has improved for Japan’s alternative full-size truck brand here in Canada with 1,952 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.
|A noticeable lack of chrome is replaced by body-colour, black and silver trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Actually, the $57,600 Crew Cab PRO-4X reviewed here 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 partially painted spokes, these wrapped in 275/65 Toyo Open Country
|Just in case you forget what’s under the hood. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
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, and more, while the interior gets metallic-tone interior accents, carpeted floor mats with PRO-4X logos, front bucket seats with special PRO-4X embroidery, a centre console in place of the standard bench, etcetera.
On top of the unique PRO-4X details, my tester came with the $6,400 Luxury package that made for an impressive off-roader thanks to perforated leather upholstery with white contrast stitching, this even covering the dash top for a premium-level
|The Titan’s rugged construction makes for one tough truck. (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 really nice leather-wrapped steering wheel, attractive primary gauges with a large colour multi-information display in the middle, dual-zone automatic climate control, NissanConnect infotainment with a 7.0-inch touchscreen featuring a rearview camera with active guidelines, easy-to-use navigation, mobile apps, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Siri Eyes Free, superb sounding Rockford Fosgate audio with 12 speakers and a sub, a handy centre console-mounted household-style 110-volt AC outlet, an ultra-comfortable eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way powered lumbar, three-way heatable front seats, a lockable rear-seat cargo organizer, and much more.
|PRO-4X trim adds some impressive luxuries over lower end Titans. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Some standard PRO-4X exterior features not already mentioned include auto on/off
|The Titan PRO-4X means business, but it’s part lounge lizard too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Our Crew Cab tester was also 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.
|An attractive primary gauge cluster sports a large colour multi-info display at centre. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This lighter weight 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.
|A 360-degree monitor is a worthwhile upgrade when parking a full-size truck. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
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.
|Love these contrast-stitched perforated leather PRO-4X seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
As for fuel economy, the base Titan Regular Cab with RWD achieves a claimed 15.0 L/100km in the city and 11.2 on the highway, whereas my PRO-4X tester is only slightly less frugal at the pump with a rating of 16.0 L/100km city and 12.0 highway.
On the road the gasoline engine makes for a quieter more refined experience than the big Cummins turbo-diesel, although I’ve never been one to complain about the
|Rear seat roominess and comfort is above par. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
In fact, the Titan’s passenger compartment is quite quiet overall, Nissan effectively exorcising the majority of wind and road noises so that easy conversations can be held from the front to back row and vise versa, and the aforementioned stereo can even be enjoyed when its volume is turned down. Likewise the Titan’s ride is very compliant, the big truck’s mass helping to iron out most road imperfections nicely and its substantive wheel travel allowing the truly nasty bumps and potholes to be absorbed effectively.
|A factory spray-in bedliner is standard with the PRO-4X. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Look on the centre stack below the ignition button to engage four-wheel drive, Nissan providing a convenient rotating knob for leaving its most economical 2WD mode
|These retract from under each corner of the rear bumper for a welcome step up to the cargo bed. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The front seats are especially large and accommodating, while the rear seating area is limousine-like, in keeping with most full-size four-door pickup trucks. They’re
|Meet the beast, the Titan’s new 390-hp 5.6-litre V8 with 401 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
After yet another week in a new Titan and my first with the uprated gasoline-powered 5.6-litre V8, I can easily understand why sales growth has been so strong. Sure it has a way to go before it catches up to Tundra numbers, and will probably never match any of the domestics, but the Titan is once again a worthy member of the full-size pickup category and totally worth investigation. Seriously, Nissan offers a lot of truck for the money, and if Tundra is any example of how the Titan might fare when it comes time to resell (imports often hold their value better), it might be an even smarter long-term bet than one of the domestics. I say you’d better check it out.
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