2017 Nissan Titan: AutoGuide.com Truck of the Year Contender

Does All-New Mean Better?

Pickups are big business in the auto industry and there are plenty of new entries on the scene in 2017. While each of these trucks has its pros and cons, we’re here to tell you which of these redesigns resulted in the best product overall.  

To decide which truck is the best new product of the year, AutoGuide.com gathered together five of the most significantly revised pickups to hit the market to evaluate each over three days of testing. Evaluation of these workhorses was done the high desert of California, and among the cacti and creosote bushes, we pushed in each truck with a trailer tow test, desert off-roading, and plenty of empty highway miles.

This year, our contenders are the Ford F-250, Ford F-150 Raptor, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, Nissan Titan, and Honda Ridgeline. We will release a new video on each contender every day leading up to Friday, Feb. 17, when we will announce our winner. Of course, each truck has its strengths and weaknesses, but we are here to find the truck that is truly special and has risen above its predecessor the furthest.

Here’s the lowdown on our third contender, the 2017 Nissan Titan.


2017 Nissan Titan

The 2017 Nissan Titan half-ton completes the brand’s pickup truck lineup, and the Japanese brand it will serve as its bread and butter truck.

And as you may remember, the Titan XD earned the title of the 2016 AutoGuide.com Truck of the Year, but that machine comes packing a 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 along with an upgraded frame and other equipment. For 2017, the Titan half-ton is available only with a 5.6-liter gasoline-powered V8 cranking out 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, hooked to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

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Getting this truck out on road and it’s clear that the weak link in the powertrain is the transmission. The V8 revs smoothly, and there is plenty of power available, once the seven-speed decides what to do. The request for more power can sometimes be met with a hesitant downshift, as if the transmission isn’t sure what to do. The shift itself is generally smooth, thanks in-part to the auto rev-matching downshifts, but still, it simply takes too long and leaves the driver with the feeling that the Titan is bogging down.

Once that downshift does come though, the V8 under the hood of the Nissan lets out a tremendous burly low growl.

Hitting the road, the ride of the Titan is noticeable right away, coming across slightly stiffer than many contemporary half-ton pickups. This is, in part, due to the added Bilstein shocks in the rear, but even other non-PRO-4x Titans we have tested provide a stiffer ride than what is expected from today’s crop of comfy trucks. A heavily weighted steering wheel is a confidence inspiring part of this truck, and when we hooked 4,000-lbs to the rear end, the Titan pulled it with ease.

But even still, there is an issue with the truck’s tow rating. At it’s maximum, the Titan can pull 9,230 pounds, while our PRO-4X model is rated at just 9,100 lbs. Not even cracking 10,000 lbs seems to miss the mark, considering every other truck on the market does.

Taking to the dirt, the Bilsteins do manage to take a beating, and allow the truck to pickup some moderate speed over chops, bumps and ruts. For someone who plans to do some light off-roading in this truck, the trade off for the slightly stiffer ride is worth it.

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On the inside, the new Titan feels premium thanks to some nice patterned trim, even in PRO-4X guise like our test truck was. Badges and stitching on the leather seats help with this premium feeling, while the seats themselves are soft and comfortable with nice bolsters to hug each passenger. But again there is a weak link, and in this case, it is the infotainment system. The Nissan system is convoluted and slow, making it less than intuitive to use.

Despite all of these weaknesses, and the Titan has a few, there is one area where this truck can’t be touched: warranty. Nissan is offering a five-year/100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Compared to the industry standard 3-year/36,000 mile warranty, Nissan is offering its customers peace of mind.

Overall, the Titan proves to be a solid truck, taking care of all the work we could throw at it. The problem is, besides the warranty, there isn’t anything this truck does that is really any better than the competition.

Discuss this story at our Nissan Titan Forum