Nissan Introduces Pick-ups

Nissan Introduces Pick-ups

Nissan Titan PathfinderCharlevoix, QC

Last year, Nissan branded its all-new Titan launch as the “Year of the Truck” which was an appropriate title for a roll-out that pretty much took a full year. They started with the big dog – the Titan XD diesel-powered pickup, then followed with the XD gas engine version. Then, the regular Titan was revealed and now finally I’m at an event that brings them all together – the entire Titan family here in northeastern Quebec.

And indeed, what Nissan presented here is a “family.” Wisely, they realize that to be relevant in the truck business, you must offer a variety of iron – just like the competition does. And to be really relevant in the North American truck business, you have to offer an “American” truck. Well, this generation of Titan (just forget there ever was an old Titan) is designed in California, engineered in Michigan, built in Mississippi and powered by engines out of Indianapolis. Nissan now “gets” what our truck culture is, and has jumped in with both feet. Now comes the hard part – convincing truck buyers.

For now, they just want guys to consider them when shopping, and that’s why they are working hard to field choices across the line. Every truck buyer has a job list in mind when they go shopping – a list that varies by region, occupation and climate; being able to build models to match those specific needs is why companies like Ford, GM and Ram prosper. By comparison, what Nissan has brought out so far can only be called a good start. But, you have to start somewhere.

Nissan does not want to call its Titan XD a 2500-series truck. They would rather buyers thought of it as a “heavy half-ton.” But looking at the gross weight, it does in fact fall into the ¾-ton category. Either way, the XD features the Cummins 5.0-litre V8 Turbo Diesel which will comfortably tow 12,000 lb, and that is the point. In fact, the emphasis in this truck is on towing, utility features and driving aids, including an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check system that allows one-person hook-up operation.

Nissan Titan PathfinderThe diesel is mated to a heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission and the factory offers two available hitches, including an integrated gooseneck hitch engineered into the frame and easily accessible in the bed. A fifth-wheel hitch is coming. As for the cargo bed itself – whether it’s the XD or the Titan – Nissan has paid special attention to this, the business end of the truck. It starts with a spray-in bed liner, damped tailgate, under-lip LED lighting and a unique rail and sliding tie-down system. They even offer in-bed storage boxes that lock. However, these aren’t permanent – five screws will remove them to free up space when needed.

The other version of the XD I drove in Quebec was powered by the re-engineered 5.6-litre V8 gas engine. This new version makes 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. It’s an aluminum block with 32 valves and direct injection, and is naturally aspirated. It is coupled to a new seven-speed automatic transmission and is at least 20 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Towing capacity on the XD drops to 9,300 lbs with the gas motor, but then the price also drops by around $7,000 – again, it’s about choice.

To trim out the XD trucks, you have a choice of five packages, the top being the Platinum Reserve, and the off-road version is called the Pro-4X. Unless you’re buying a straight work truck, these two packages will no doubt be the most popular. Another lesson Nissan has learned from Detroit is that truck buyers like the electronic and creature comforts – these days, the more the better, it seems.

So the last offensive in this rollout is the release of the new Titan. Now, the Titan is different from the XD. First, it is a half-ton and does not try to be anything else. It rides on a different chassis, is about 15-inches shorter than the XD, does not offer diesel (though it also sports the 5.6 V8) and will be available in a two-door regular cab. This is how the family grows.

The one piece of the pie that is currently missing is a V6 offering. Nissan says there will be one, but they are just a little behind getting it ready for production. Once the V6 and regular cab options are moving down the assembly line, Nissan will have the opportunity to offer sales to fleet and government buyers.

Nissan Titan PathfinderFor private buyers, though, this regular Titan will most often be purchased as a crewcab and with the gas motor, offers 9,300 lb of towing and 1,610 lbs of payload capacity.

This far into the launch of Titan, I won’t spend words talking about the look of the truck – everyone has seen it by now multiple times. But, what I will say is that I’ve had countless conversations with truck guys about its sheet metal over the past eight months and I haven’t had a single negative comment on the look. From an aesthetics-only point of view, Nissan has nailed it.

Past the holy trinity of the truck (looks, power, load), Nissan has spent considerable time on the electronics. All of them contribute to safety, and some to making the jobs you’ll do with your truck easier. This is the stuff you can’t see but which will make your overall ride and tasks better.

These driving aids include RearView Monitor and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Front and Rear Sonar System and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

All these are constants for the truck, but when hooking up trailers, they add another dimension of safety and one-man-operation convenience.

The Around View Monitor (AVM) gives a unique “bird’s eye” view of the surrounding area from front, rear and side cameras. The Moving Object Detection (MOD) alerts the driver to hazards, and this includes an on-screen notification and warning chime.

As I mentioned earlier, Nissan ‘gets’ that truck guys want their trucks tough, but the interiors to be soft. To that end, they offer interiors that are comparable to any others currently on the market. For instance, in the top-of-the line Platinum Reserve, you’ll find leather-appointed seats with “Platinum Reserve” branding, heated steering wheel, chrome exhaust tailpipe finishers, 20×7.5-inch dark chrome-like wheels, driver and passenger heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, two-tone paint, dark chrome door handle, leather-wrapped steering wheel with a wood insert, wood instrument panel finishers, leather-wrapped shift knob with a dark-painted trim ring, and dark chrome-accented vent knobs and cup holder trim. As I said, they’ve learned.

Pricing for the 2017 Titan Crew Cab (gas) base model starts at $44,650, while the XD version of the same adds $2,000.

Titan XD diesel Crew Cab starts at $52,400. These are the listed MSRP; however, aggressive incentives are currently being offered.

Tags: Feature, Nissan, Titan