People who do enjoy a pickup as a niche-truck, fashion statement shouldn’t despair over the new attention to making the Titan into a working vehicle

CARMEL, CA. – The Nissan folks knew it was a ‘niche’ truck, and I have to give them credit for acknowledging the narrow slice of the segment that it has occupied since its introduction.

But Nissan is out to expand on that with the 2017 Titan lineup. In fact – and don’t tell Nissan I said this, this is just between you and me – in the  past I always  casually observed the Titan pickup to be used more by accountants who drove to their accounting jobs at the accounting office downtown (and then complained about the lack of parking spaces), rather than seeing them on job sites.

The company is kicking off the new model year with a bigger range, and more configurations than ever, with a focus on performance and capability; real work-truck appeal that Nissan figures will compete effectively against the dominant North American rivals.

We drove a few of them in the smoky hills around Santa Clara county, on and off-road, mostly the high-end trim (the “Platinum Reserve” is my favourite name in the model lineup) and the more rough-and-ready Pro 4X (2nd favourite) with crew cab.

2017 Nissan TITAN Crew Cab

I should mention that everything I used at demonstration event was running on the company’s gasoline powered, V8 4×4 powertrain (Nissan also sells a diesel and V6 option and offers 2WD). The latest 5.6 litre engine is the same spec found in the latest edition of the Armada sport utility vehicle (amped up to a hefty 390hp, 394 lb.-ft. of torque), as is the seven-speed automatic transmission it is paired with.

Nissan claims a class-leading towing capacity for the V8 (9,220 lbs) and standard-equips the vehicle for towing, so it doesn’t have to be ordered as an option. The company states a maximum bed payload of 3,000 lbs, as well.

The new Titans can clamber with the best of them in some fairly challenging terrain, with all the driver-assist tech available – I love around-view monitors and a forward-facing camera, and for more urban settings the Titan brings decent parking-aid sensors and blind-spot monitoring.

People who do enjoy a pickup as a niche-truck, fashion statement shouldn’t despair over the new attention to making the Titan into a working vehicle, though; indeed the vehicle drives very well on streets and highways. The upper-trim models get Bilstein shocks, front and rear; and all models have seen improvements to ride quality, braking performance and steering feel.

The interior of the Platinum trim is the equal of high-end F-150s or RAM trucks, in terms of quality upholstery and dashboard materials, creature comfort and cabin space. On-road smoothness and interior quiet are extremely good, vibration barely detectable inside the passenger compartment.

Titan is blanketing the segment, hoping to cover most of the needs of any prospective buyer, from the genuine pickup user to the stylin’ accountant, which brings me to the point where I have to recite a bunch of stats.

Now again, this is just between you and me, gentle reader, and I’ll try to make it sound like it is all my original thoughts, of course, but you and I know I am just parroting the launch info.

Nevertheless, the long and short of it is this:
The 2017 Titan comes in five different trims (the other ones are S, SV and SL), three cab choices, King Cab, Crew cab and single cab (with correspondingly increasing bed lengths – the King has a 6’5” bed, the single extends that to eight feet) and a choice of four and two-wheel drive.

Wrapped in the restyled good looks of the exterior (the big new grille in particular is a bold statement, and departure from the outgoing Titan), it is positioned to offer a new level of competition to the work-truck establishment when it arrives at dealers; and Nissan is hoping their improved warranty will be the icing. Calling it the best truck warranty in Canada, it is five years, bumper-to-bumper (or 160,000 km, whichever comes first).

No doubt, the 2017 Titan has something to offer anyone considering a full-size truck, and price points that should entice a range of buyers. Moving up from $44,650 for an entry-level S (crew cab), the V8 –powered lineup tops out at $65,800 for the Platinum Reserve (and the diesel-engine Titan in the same trim is slightly more expensive, $68,500).

We’ll see if their strategy works, but you can’t say the new Titan doesn’t lack  variety or comprehensive packaging as it moves out of its niche-truck phase and into the all-round, real working world.

wade [dot] ozeroff [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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