It’s true, Nissan is walking away from the full-size pickup truck segment in Canada. The Titan before you, as impressive as it is, will no longer be available north of the 49th, aside from Anchorage or Fairbanks.
As with most cancellations, it came down to a lack of sales. Nissan sold a mere 1,218 units last year and just 2,807 in 2019, while even at its peak of 2017 the Japanese automaker found just 5,692 Canadian buyers. This is actually bad news for Toyota, because its Tundra will now inherit lowest sales status, despite managing to push out a respectable 11,053 units last year (it’s high of 11,738 was in 2018). Although the Tundra’s numbers may appear lofty when shown next to the Titan’s, even mighty Toyota’s full-size offering hardly matches Ram’s 83,673 full-size pickup truck sales in 2020, or GM’s collective Chevy/GMCSilverado/Sierra deliveries of 104,279 units during the same 12 months, while Ford once again topped them all last year with 128,650 F-Series down the road.
The sad reality is, Nissan’s failure to launch the Titan as a serious full-size pickup truck contender has nothing to do with the vehicle’s quality and capability. It’s one rugged, well-built half-ton, or rather two tough trucks when factoring in its larger Titan XD heavy-half sibling, with its only serious weaknesses being fewer cab/bed options and just one, lone V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission combination.
Currently, the Titan is just available as a Crew Cab in Canada, having dropped its smaller King Cab variant for 2020. Both cabs remain in the US, although American buyers can no longer purchase the Single Cab work truck.
The Titan’s sole V8 displaces 5.6 litres and makes 400 horsepower plus 413 lb-ft of torque; the XD’s turbo-diesel was discontinued for 2020. Part-time four-wheel drive is standard in Canada, with no lower priced rear-drive alternative, but it must be said the Titan’s nine-speed automatic transmission certainly gives it an edge compared to some competitors, Toyota’s Tundra only offering six forward speeds. Still, Ford uses a 10-speed automatic in all of its full-size trucks, while GM offers the same transmission (literally) in some of its large pickups.
Notably, Nissan Canada’s retail site never bothered updating its Titan page with a 2021 model (clearly displaying the 2020 truck instead), even though the brand’s dealers continue to advertise the newer model year, plus third-party car sites, such as CarCostCanada, have integrated all 2021 specs along with the elimination of base S trim, which was $50,498 before, and addition of a new base 2021 SV trim for $63,698. Now (June 30, 2021), Nissan isn’t even showing trucks as an option on its side pull-down menu, strangely hoping would-be 2022 Frontier customers manage find the redesigned model in its “Future & Concept” section.
The just-mentioned 2021 base price doesn’t come anywhere near to matching the entry prices of the Titan’s domestic rivals, by the way, with the class-dominating F-150 starting at just $34,079, which isn’t even as affordable as the base Chevy Silverado 1500’s $32,048 entry point, or for that matter the Sierra 1500’s lowest window sticker of $33,248. The least expensive Ram 1500 Classic is priced just a bit higher at $36,890, and the aforementioned Tundra significantly more at $47,010. Compare those numbers to the Titan’s $63,698 base price, and it’s easy to understand how it might be difficult to get someone’s attention, unless they clearly understood that similar equipment and trim levels sold by all of the above cost around the same.
Unfortunately, that’s not how we tend to buy vehicles. There’s a reason that dealers advertise a vehicle’s base price, after all. We might initially become interested in a Silverado because it’s the lowest priced truck on the market, but after we get sold on one with more features, we quickly forget about the initial “loss leader” that motivated us to come down to that particular dealer in the first place. Soon it’s all about how much you can afford each month, and the sales team turns you over to the finance department.
To be clear, the domestic trucks’ lower prices are mostly due to their inclusion of regular cab body styles, multiple engine choices, and a whole lot of additional trims, with the cheapest of each U.S. brand’s truck focused more on attracting high-volume commercial fleet buyers. The sheer volume of such trucks sold actually allows for the seemingly endless cab, bed, engine, drivetrain and trim combinations to exist, making it possible for a buyer to configure a truck exactly the way they want. Most pickup truck consumers, however, would rather buy a well-equipped four-door pickup, which is the key reason Nissan and Toyota only offer such variants.
The Titan I most recently tested was a Crew Cab Pro-4X optimized for off-road work and pleasure. So equipped, it’s priced at $66,998, which is right in the realm of pricing acceptability for this class of truck. As stated earlier, the sales leads enjoyed by Nissan’s rivals have nothing to do with any specific competencies over the Titan. It’s a tough, capable on- and off-roader with better than average expected reliability, beefy towing and payload capacities of 9,270 lbs and 1,580 lbs respectively, plus no shortage of style. I think the Titan’s recently refreshed design, and particularly my Pro-4X-trimmed test model’s upgrades, look great, while Nissan’s interior finishing was even a bit more refined than some of its competitors.
In detail, the Pro-4X’s dash top was completely covered in a padded soft leather-like synthetic with cool orange contrast stitching, while others only apply hard plastic to this area. This said, Nissan only uses hard-shell composites for the Titan’s door uppers, which makes them uncomfortable for those who like to rest their elbow next to the side window. The Titan does provide nicely padded leatherette door inserts above even more comfortable armrests, also featuring contrasting thread work, while the Japanese model gets even more pampering with a soft, padded bolster ahead of the front passenger.
The Titan Pro-4X’ seats also include contrast stitching, complete with the model’s “PRO-4X” logo embroidered into their backsides, but their wide, flat shape didn’t allow much side support for my smaller body type. The driver’s seat was multi-adjustable, however, providing good positioning, but its two-way powered lumbar support never met up with the small of my back as well as others do in this class. At least it was roomy and accommodating.
Rear occupants get limousine-like legroom, while seat comfort in back is decent enough. An airy panoramic sunroof made my tester feel even more spacious, while rear outboard passengers get the comfort of a warmer behind thanks a set of seat heaters.
Back up front, the Titan Pro-4X’ steering wheel is leather-wrapped with sporty thumb indentations for optimizing comfort and control, plus yet more contrast stitching gave it plenty of style to go along with its heatable rim (not available with every rival), while Nissan’s multi-information display is also larger and filled with more features than some others in the class, but is missing some useful ancillary dials within a primary gauge cluster that’s otherwise analogue.
The Titan’s centre touchscreen is fairly large and plenty colourful too (the permanent blemishes to my test model’s display were due to a previous journalist’s ammonia-infused wipe down), with no shortage of functions either. High-quality switchgear could be found through the cabin as well.
I learned how to drive using column-shifters, so naturally didn’t mind swapping cogs next to the Titan’s steering wheel. The arrangement (also used by Mercedes for most of its cars) frees space up on the lower console as well. The aforementioned nine-speed auto was updated by two forward gears for 2020, and delivers smooth, positive shifts via fast kickdowns when needing to take off quickly. And yes, the Titan sprints away from stoplights with little hesitation, blasts past slower moving highway traffic with only a hint of provocation, and provides a soul-stirring V8 snarl while doing so.
Like most trucks in this segment, the Titan rides on a fully-boxed frame and uses an independent suspension up front plus traditional leaf springs in back, which provide good composure over the majority of surfaces. The Ram 1500 is the only large truck that utilizes coil springs all-round, while all trucks in this class use steel for their cabs and boxes, other than the F-150 that’s significantly lighter due to an aluminum out shell.
Nissan has an enviable 4×4 heritage, which left me with no concerns about going off-road with the Titan. It features a dial for engaging two- and four-wheel drive high, plus four-low when the going got tough, while its electronic and mechanical driving aids not only aid handling during slippery condition on pavement, but help overcome challenges on the trail as well. Therefore, it was easy to crawl over rocks and logs before swamping through ruts and mud-soaked pits, not to mention plenty of deep sandy spits, while generous suspension travel helped make the Titan’s ride comfortable at all times.
When it comes to reliability, plus resale value, the Titan should fare well over time. Yes, I know it’s being discontinued, which never helps when trying to predict the latter, but Nissan has a great reputation for holding values overall, and trucks tend to do better than cars in today’s market. There are even some models that start going up in value, something we’ve seen with well-cared-for examples of the Xterra and earlier off-road capable versions of the Pathfinder in recent years. The Armada may experience similar depreciation resilience if the overland trend continues, so it makes sense that trucks like this Titan will also hold onto their value in the used market.
After everything is done and said, the Titan isn’t perfect, but it scores high in all the categories it needs to, particularly its better than average expected reliability, impressive refinement, well-stocked features, thoughtful design, solid construction, and potent powertrain. It’s not even that bad on fuel with a claimed combined city/highway rating of 13.3 L/100km, so you might just want to snatch one up before all the new ones are forever gone from this country.
Anyone familiar with the new Nissan Titan already knows it’s one seriously capable full-size truck, which makes it ideal for extreme service duty. Starting with a 2018 Titan XD Diesel Midnight Edition…
Anyone familiar with the new Nissan Titan already knows it’s one seriously capable full-size truck, which makes it ideal for extreme service duty.
Starting with a 2018 Titan XD Diesel Midnight Edition Crew Cab, complete with Cummins’ formidable 5.0-litre V8 Turbo Diesel featuring 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, Nissan created a purpose-built, one-off “Ultimate Service Titan” mobile command centre for the Red Cross non-profit disaster-relief organization.
The special project truck was presented to the American Red Cross of South Florida at the 2018 Miami International Auto Show (MIAS) last month, as part of Nissan’s Calling All Titans service vehicle campaign that has already seen vehicles donated to Habitat for Humanity and the National Parks Service.
Some of the custom work that transformed the stock truck into a go-anywhere rescue vehicle included lengthening the ladder frame, increasing ground clearance with a factory-authorized ICON 3.0-inch lift kit, adding an airbag suspension-leveling system, upgrading the sway bar, equipping it with special ICON wheels wrapped in Nitto Ridge Grappler tires, adding body armour including an Addictive Desert Designs stealth bumper, providing a Warn Zeon Platinum 12S winch to aid rescue efforts including the removal of debris, enhancing lighting with a bevy of Baja Designs LEDs, upgrading the fuel tank to 284 litres, and more.
The rear box and bed were removed as well, and replaced with a command centre and shelter designed by B&S Customizing. The rear quarters incorporate “all the necessities for work and rest,” says Nissan, including an emergency response bed for administering medical assistance, storage racks, first aid supplies, a SnoMaster refrigerator for storing blood, a desk, a mobile kitchen with a stove, microwave and sink, a dining area, and a couch that provides an area for workers and volunteers to recuperate between shifts. Additionally, Nissan included built-in Wi-Fi, an upgraded navigation system, a wireless charging station, and a solar generator that ensures all onboard electronics can be kept in use even when access to the grid isn’t possible.
“Built on the foundation of a rugged Titan XD Diesel – and with aftermarket accessories from some of the most reputable companies in the industry – the Ultimate Service Titan ensures that titans of the community are able to get anywhere, at any time, with the tools they need to get the job done,” said Fred DePerez, vice president of Nissan’s truck division.
As a bit of a backgrounder, Nissan pledged $1 million USD in donations to each of its three Calling All Nissans strategic partner organizations. Depending on requirements the donations may be in cash or a combination of cash and Titan trucks. Thus far, Nissan and the Red Cross have collectively raised more than $2.5 million for the program.
Of note, the 2018 Titan is available from as low as $36,498 for the regular half-ton or $47,998 for the heavy-duty Titan XD with a 5.6-litre V8 gasoline engine and $55,498 for the same model with the Diesel. Additionally, the new 2019 Titan that will soon be available features some key updates including a larger standard touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a new optional 12-speaker Fender audio system.
This Ultimate Service Titan will assist the Red Cross in a variety of duties including blood drives and emergency care, and being that it resides in Florida may even be responsible for saving the lives of Canadian snowbirds.
When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which…
When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which represents a 2.0-percent year-over-year increase as well as an all-time monthly sales record.
Breaking that total down by brand, the automaker’s namesake Nissan division sold 14,932 units, providing a 0.9-percent increase, which left the Infiniti luxury brand with 1,398 new model sales, this being a 16.3-percent improvement over June of 2017.
The top-selling Nissan model remains the ever-popular Rogue compact crossover SUV, which found 4,342 new owners in June, whereas the smaller Qashqai crossover achieved a new all-time record of 2,150 sales during the same 30 days, helping it continue forward as the second best-selling model in Nissan’s Canadian lineup.
Also impressive, the all-new, all-electric Leaf EV set a June sales record as well, with 492 units down the road. Additionally, Nissan has found 2,408 new Leaf buyers during the 2018 calendar year-to-date, building on one of the Japanese brand’s most significant success stories.
A newcomer to the Nissan family got off to a good start in June as well, with the 2018 Kicks subcompact crossover SUV selling a total of 609 units during its first full month, while at the other end of the size spectrum the Titan full-size pickup truck recorded its best June ever at 684 units, a gain of 61.3 percent when compared to June of 2017.
Continuing on the XXL theme, the Armada full-size SUV had a solid month of sales too, achieving its best June ever thanks to 156 deliveries, which represents an increase of 16.4 percent from the same month last year.
In other positive June news, the 370Z and GT-R sports cars grew their sales by 14.3 and 20.0 percent respectively, while the NV200 and NV commercial vans experienced 13.0 and 13.6 percent growth.
All in all, cars have seen stronger year-over-year growth since the beginning of 2018, with year-to-date Nissan car sales having increased by 16.3 percent, and YTD SUV and truck deliveries decreasing by 5.9 percent.
Anyone still questioning whether the full-size pickup truck market is a tough nut to crack for imports hasn’t been paying attention. Toyota has arguably done a better job than Nissan over the long haul,…
Anyone still questioning whether the full-size pickup truck market is a tough nut to crack for imports hasn’t been paying attention.
Toyota has arguably done a better job than Nissan over the long haul, although when comparing deliveries to the big three we’re talking petite potatoes either way. Toyota sold 9,442 Tundras to 5,692 Nissan Titans in 2017, whereas Ram sent 98,465 Pickups down Canadian roads last year, General Motors improved on that number with 120,949 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra deliveries, and Ford once again topped the charts with 155,290 F-Series sales.
Those were the highest big three truck totals in history, while Nissan also gets kudos for selling more Titans than ever before, but despite an upturn in truck sales and Canada’s best-ever year of vehicle sales, Toyota lost a lot of half-ton ground. Why? It wouldn’t be out of the question to point fingers at the new Titan, especially when factoring in last year’s sales were up 2,466 units and the Tundra’s were down 1,922, but it could also be that loyal Toyota owners are merely waiting patiently for a long expected Tundra update, whereas equally supportive Nissan buyers were feasting on the new-for-2017 gasoline-powered half-ton Titan.
The Cummins Diesel-powered Titan XD arrived on the Canadian market for the 2016 model year, and while it did well such big heavy-half pickup trucks aren’t for everyone. Then again the Titan XD makes a lot of sense for trailer-pulling folks, whether the load is construction equipment or landscaping fill for your business, or personal recreation gear like a camper, boat or horses. The truck I tested was capable of 5,457 kilos (12,030 lbs) of trailering weight and a payload of 907 kg (2,000 lbs) (max payload is 1,143 kg/2,520 lbs), and can even be had with a Nissan-sourced fifth-wheel hitch integrated into the bed. Want to check your trailer’s lights once it’s hooked up? The Titan team has thought of everything, providing you opt for second-rung SV trim (or higher) with its standard key fob actuated trailer light tester.
My top-line XD Platinum had that familiar highway rig look thanks to copious chrome detailing, most notably across the front grille, the rear tailgate, the mirror caps, door handles, alloy wheels, and various trim bits. It’s a darkened chrome for a richer look, softened slightly by my tester’s Pearl White and taupe grey Titanium metallic two-tone effect paint, yet still pretty glitzy for the campground crowd.
Let’s face it. When driving up in a Titan you’re not going to enjoy the camaraderie of F-Series owners wandering over from the adjacent campsite to see the latest Limited, or for that matter the Silverado/Sierra bunch fawning over the newest High Country/Denali, let alone the Ram gang making googly eyes at the Laramie Limited. You’ll get the odd curious albeit wary wonderer trying to get a closer look at what’s available from the dark side, unaware the Titan is made in the U.S.A., Canton, Mississippi to be exact.
Be prepared for some deep frowns from heavy-duty Ram fans who think their HD 2500 and 3500 models have an exclusive right to Cummins Diesel power. The Columbus, Indiana company supplies both brands now, but don’t go spouting off engine output numbers or you’ll put smiles right back on their faces, being that the Titan XD Cummins Diesel doesn’t put out anywhere near the performance of the Ram HD, the domestic truck’s 7,403 kg (16,320-lb) tow rating the result of a 6.7-litre I-6 with 410 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque. It appears not all Cummins diesels are created equal.
Of course, the Titan XD isn’t a three-quarter or one-ton pickup truck, and therefore doesn’t need as much capability. Most should find the 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque from its DOHC, 32-valve Cummins 5.0-litre V8 equal to their requirements, while many will be just as satisfied with the 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque from the base 5.6-litre gasoline-powered V8, an engine that wasn’t available for the 2016 launch model.
On that note, Nissan Canada has made some changes for 2018. First and foremost they’ve dropped the Single Cab XD, which means there’s no longer a 4×2 variant and entry-level pricing has therefore increased from 2017’s $37,250 to $47,498 for the new base 2018 XD Crew Cab S 4×4, or $54,998 with the diesel. While plenty more now comes standard, including an extra set of doors, a second row and four-wheel drive, the new base price represents a $748 increase over last year’s identical XD Crew Cab S.
While eliminating body styles is never good for a model that was created for fighting it out in domestic full-size truck territory where variety is king, Nissan has obviously wizened to the fact it’s not going to make much headway into the Canadian commercial light truck market dominated by the big three, so the slow-selling Single Cab had to go in our smaller market (it’s still available in the U.S., as is the mid-range King Cab). The U.S. market still offers SL trim as well (it was previously second from the top), with the Canadian 2018 XD lineup now pared down to S, SV, Pro-4X, and Platinum trims, while each can be had with either gasoline or diesel powerplants.
No matter which engine you choose features are the same, but keep in mind S trim is pretty basic. Its standard pushbutton ignition is a bit of an upscale surprise, as is the dampened-assist tailgate, but bringing it back down to earth are 17-inch steel wheels, manually adjustable side mirrors, and a smallish 5.0-inch display audio system with AM/FM/CD audio. At least it gets a standard engine block heater, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery instead of vinyl, a nice 40/20/40-split front bench seat with a flip-down armrest, a 60/40-split fold-up rear bench seat, tilt and telescopic steering, a RearView parking monitor, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, aux and USB ports, six-speaker stereo, overhead LED cargo bed lights, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, and more.
The move up to SV, which costs $52,098 with gas or $59,598 with diesel, swaps out the S model’s basic looking black grille, front and rear bumpers, mirrors and door handles for chrome, while also adding fancier manually-extendable tow mirrors with power-adjustment, heat, integrated turn signal indicators and puddle lights, carpeting instead of Easy Clean Vinyl flooring, an Advanced Drive-Assist Display within the gauge cluster, a larger 7.0-inch colour infotainment touchscreen, satellite radio, a front overhead storage console, skid plates for the oil pan and fuel tank, trailer sway control, a Class IV tow hitch receiver with four-pin/seven-pin wiring, a trailer brake controller and the aforementioned trailer light check, an integrated gooseneck hitch, and front tow hooks.
The Pro-4X, at $60,598 with gas or $68,098 with diesel, is Nissan’s sport truck with body-colour paint where chrome would normally go, a nicer cabin featuring embroidered and contrast-stitched upholstery, lots of satin-silver interior trim, and higher-end features like auto on/off signature LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, proximity access, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rain sensing wipers, heatable front bucket seats, a front centre console, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with powered lumbar support, a four-way powered front passenger’s seat, dual-zone auto climate control, navigation, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free, NissanConnect Mobile Apps, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio, front and rear parking sensors, blindspot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, a centre console-mounted 110-volt power outlet, rear A/C vents, and a power-sliding back window.
Additional handy Pro-4X conveniences include a lockable rear seat cargo organizer, a rear flat load floor with rear wall tie-down hooks, an electronic tailgate lock, a rear utility bed step, a factory-applied spray-on bedliner, LED under-rail bed and tailgate area lighting, Nissan’s Utili-track Channel System with four tie-down cleats, and a bed-mounted 110-volt AC power outlet, not to mention unique trim-specific off-road equipment such as its electronically-controlled locking rear differential, hill descent control, Bilstein performance shocks, 18-inch alloys wrapped in beefy all-terrain tires, and yet more skid plates for the transfer case and lower radiator.
Much of the Pro-4X’ non-sport/off-road related gear gets pulled up to top-line Platinum trim, which starts at $70,998 for the gasoline model and $78,498 for the diesel, and then is added upon with niceties like a chrome exhaust finisher, illuminated running boards, remote engine start with Nissan’s Intelligent Climate Control, metallic kick plates, a heatable steering wheel rim, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, memory for that steering column, the driver’s seat, and side mirrors, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, the latter with reverse tilt-down, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a 360-degree AroundView parking monitor, NissanConnect/SiriusXM Services, premium leather upholstery, climate-controlled (cooled) front seats, heatable rear outboard seats, and more.
All of these upscale features come in a cabin that’s finished very well, with more soft touch synthetic surfaces than a fully loaded F-Series or Tundra, yet not quite as much as provided by top-line Ram or GM trucks. Where my previous Pro-4X tester was filled with cold hard blacks, whites and silvers, the Platinum gets warm brown tones with stylish orange threading and authentic looking open-pore woodgrain tastefully applied in key areas. The seat upholstery was quite stunning actually, trimmed in a lighter camel brown on the bolsters plus a darker perforated and quilted brown leather at centre, while the driver’s multi-adjustable capability made it especially comfortable, and the steering column’s extensive power reach allowed for ideal ergonomics.
Ahead of that steering wheel is a classy looking two-dial analogue gauge cluster featuring a fairly large colour multi-information display in between. Over on the centre stack, the infotainment touchscreen incorporates an excellent split-screen parking monitor with a traditional rearview camera on the left and an overhead 360-degree view to the right. The navigation system proved easy to use and accurate as well, while that Rockford Fosgate audio system mentioned earlier definitely cranked out the tunes. Overall, the centre stack is well laid out and all of the switchgear quality was on par for the class, but nothing to write home about.
Storage is worthy of a quick note, mind you. Up front are the usual cupholders, but take note they slide back and forth above a large open bin that’s filled with a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning, while the leather armrest/bin cover just behind sits above another large and accommodating bin with its own removable tray, not to mention various connectors, while an aux plug, USB port, and 12-volt charger take care of devices at the base of the dash. As good as that sounds, this truck could use more USB ports and even a wireless charging pad to keep it current. I appreciated the sunglasses storage in the overhead console just the same, despite its strangely oversized nosepiece holder that caused eyewear to flop around inside, a Nissan brand-wide oddity.
I was impressed with the rear seating area as well. While it’s large and spacious for passengers, the seatbacks also fold flat to store items on top, although flipping them upwards and then folding out the aforementioned rear flat load floor’s carpeted extension is even more useful. It provides a large flat loading area where the seats had been, perfect for storing your belongings safely inside when traveling or on the job site.
Those side steps mentioned earlier make climbing up to reach over the box walls into the back quite easy, but clambering up to the standard bed when the tailgate is lowered would be difficult for someone small of stature or on in years. Nissan only provides a tiny patch of hard plastic at each corner of the bumper to rest the tip of your boot before swinging upwards, which as anyone who’s lived with trucks knows is a painful slip and fall waiting to happen. Fortunately the kick-down utility bed steps mentioned earlier provide good stable support for climbing up to the tailgate, yet these aren’t part of the standard Titan XD package, which means both import manufacturers really need to catch up to the domestics when it comes to standard bed access, GM especially good in that it provides standard steps integrated within the corners of its rear bumpers.
The bed rail system noted earlier works well for tying down cargo, but when it comes time to clean up it’s very challenging to get sticks and debris out from underneath each rail with a regular broom. Likewise the spray-in bedliner was like sandpaper, holding firm to flakes of grass, twigs, and all the other things that get attached after hauling a load or simply parking under a tree, so I’d recommend investing in a power washer if you like to keep your rig clean. Fortunately the grippy surface is an ultra-safe way to make sure you don’t slip and fall in the rain, so I shouldn’t complain.
Whether you’re jumping around on the bed, slamming the tailgate shut, doing likewise to the doors, or driving over bumps and dips, the Titan feels as solid as half-ton pickups get, with zero wiggles or creaks in the cabin or anywhere else. It helped that no sunroof was included, which I thought was a bit strange in a top-line truck. This wouldn’t be an issue if Nissan made one available, but alas sun worshipers and stargazers will have to choose another brand if they want a glass roof overhead.
The Titan also comes up short on advanced driver assistance systems, such as forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, and the list goes on. Nissan has all of the above and much more in its parts bin, but so far these haven’t made it to this Titan XD or the lighter weight Titan.
Working to the Titan XD’s advantage is a wonderfully smooth ride, rock steady high-speed cruising ability, and decent at the limit handling, which are all important in a truck with such immediate and plentiful performance. Yes, its big Cummins V8 gets up and goes with gusto, its Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic one gear off the pace when compared to the gasoline-powered Titan, and more so when put up against its domestic rivals, but still a smooth operator and reasonably quick through the cogs. I didn’t get to play with the XD in the mud either, so no opportunity to test its four-wheel drive, which incidentally uses a switch-operated two-speed transfer case. I tested its basic functions on pavement, and can attest to its ultra-easy actuation from 2Hi to 4Hi and 4Lo modes via a dial on the instrument panel, but that’s about it.
Considering its heavy-half, five-eighths capability you shouldn’t expect the same level of performance found in the lighter Titan or one of its half-ton peers, nor will you find its ride as smooth as either, but then again it’s a bit less of a bruiser than its domestic three-quarter and one-ton rivals, finding a happy medium between the two classes. Also, its double-wishbone front suspension and solid axle/multi-leaf rear setup with stabilizer bars at both ends is more traditional than the coil-sprung Ram, although the Titan’s classic setup is preferred by most towing and hauling fans.
The Titan XD Diesel manages impressive fuel economy too, although being larger than its half-ton sibling it qualifies as a commercial truck and therefore doesn’t need to report mileage info. I can’t even give you an official guestimate by converting U.S. specs to metric, because the same non-rules are in effect there. After my week’s near equal city/highway driving, most of which was easy-going in order to save fuel (I was responsible for filling it up after all), I achieved an average of 13.4 L/100km. That’s very good, but of course expected from an advanced turbo-diesel pulling nothing but its own bodyweight. Factor in that diesel fuel is regularly priced about 20 cents less than regular unleaded in my part of the woods, and that the pricier petrol was hitting $1.55 at some stations last weekend, and then calculate that a diesel-powered vehicle can travel up to 30-percent farther on a tank of fuel, the Titan XD makes a lot of sense even with its $7,500 upcharge.
Whether or not the Titan is capable of pulling its own weight from a business case perspective is still open to question. It’s certainly finding new buyers at a rapid rate, and despite lagging behind the Tundra and all domestics in sales, it’s a stronger seller than some other Nissan models and most Infinitis, while its long-term potential is too good to pass up.
No other vehicle class in Canada boasts models selling into six-figure territory, not to mention the near seven figures Ford’s F-Series achieves south of the 49th. That’s why Nissan and Toyota stepped into the full-size pickup arena in the first place, and why they’ll likely stick it out over the long haul. Just the same, automakers like Hyundai and Volkswagen might want to hold back before entering the fray, as the cards are stacked against success in this segment. It’s not just about building a worthy full-size pickup truck contender, as Nissan has learned, because breaking through brand loyalty barriers has proven difficult enough for those already steeped in compact pickup heritage, let alone carmakers that have never offered a serious truck in our market.
The Titan might be the most credible import offering to date, hitting at the core of the full-size half-ton market, and even creating its own unique niche by taking a half-step up on every competitor with this innovative five-eighths, heavy-half Titan XD. Now with a more complete line of engines, it’s a force to be reckoned with and therefore should slowly, steadily pull buyers into its alternative camp.
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…
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…