Nissan expands pickup line with 2017 Titan half-ton

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Nissan is punctuating the fact that it’s serious about expanding the Titan full-size-pickup lineup. At last year’s auto shows, Nissan introduced the 2016 Titan XD, rated between a half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup. This year, Nissan unveiled the 2017 Titan half-ton model.

With its full-size-truck lineup boosted by the all-new Titan half-ton and Titan XD, along with the pickups’ various cab configurations and trim levels, Nissan will cover 85 percent of the total light-pickup marketplace, said Fred Diaz, vice president and general manager of North America Trucks. With its old Titan, Nissan was only competing in 50 percent of the full-size-pickup marketplace.

Half-ton Titans are scheduled to arrive in showrooms late this summer. These smaller Titan XD siblings are projected to be the lineup’s highest-volume sellers, and will compete in the heart of the competitive full-size market. The first batch will appear in crew-cab configurations, while single-cab and King Cab models will arrive later in the year.

Consumers are offered a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, three bed lengths — 5.5, 6.5 and 8 feet — and five models: S work grade, “popular equipment” SV, off-road-ready PRO-4X, luxurious SL, and ultra-luxury Platinum Reserve. Pricing for the half-ton Titan will be announced closer to its launch.

The Platinum Reserve Crew Cab model, introduced at the 2016 New York Auto Show, mirrors the styling of its larger Titan XD sibling, and even shares the same cab and bed. Like the Titan XD, the front end features a thick, protruding trapezoidal-shaped chrome grille with three tiers of mesh and dual side nostrils. Flanking the grille are LED headlamps, featuring Nissan’s signature “hockey-stick” design.

The hood sharply rises and peaks at each side, hinting at the potent engine hiding beneath. Designers also sculpted muscular elements into the sides. Large, boldly shaped front fenders give a macho, big-truck appearance, and rear fenders are prominently sculpted into the bed sides. Step-downs are cut into the front windows, adding character and enhancing the view to the side mirrors.

The easy-open/close tailgate is topped with an integrated spoiler, and the Platinum Reserve show truck featured a wide chrome band across the upper portion. It opens to a cargo box with lockable in-bed storage, and a Utili-track system with four movable and lockable cleats.

While the Titan half-ton appears to be a near twin to the XD, a tape measure highlights the differences. Its body is slightly narrower, the front end is a bit smaller, ride height is lower, and the wheelbase is a foot shorter. Half-ton Titan crew cabs are 228.1 inches long versus the XD’s 242.8-inch length.

Importantly, their chassis also are completely different. “The two chassis do not share a single part, whatsoever, not even a lug nut,” said Diaz.

Half-ton models do share engines and transmissions with gas Titan XDs. Both are propelled by the 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 engine, which produces 390 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to the V-8 is a seven-speed automatic transmission. A V-6 gasoline engine and 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins Turbo Diesel also will be available. Further details about the V-6 engines will be announced at a later date.

If the Platinum Reserve display truck is a true indicator, then interiors of the half-ton truck will match with the Titan XD design. The treatment is dominated by a large center stack with controls and display screen that’s flanked by hefty silver-colored panels housing the start/stop button, 4×4 selector switch, power outlet, and A/C vents.

Blending with the center stack is a large center console with a front pass-through storage area supported by silver-colored side frames topped by a movable/removable dual beverage holder. Positioned aft of this area is a generous-sized covered storage compartment. Extra storage was created by moving the shifter from the center console to the column.

Like its Titan XD Platinum Reserve counterpart, the half-ton on display featured the luxury of premium leather seats embossed with the Platinum Reserve logo, and wood-tone trim and dark-chrome accents.

Creating something-special pickups like the Titan half-ton and Titan XD is essential for Nissan because it’s a “challenger brand” competing in a market with fiercely loyal truck buyers, said Diaz. “Nissan’s answer is to stir the pot and shake the system to make people say `Wow, I had no idea these people were that serious about trucks.’”