OF­FER­INGS!

Plaza Nis­san’s Ti­tan V8 fills out half-ton

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS - STORY AND PHOTOS BY JIM ROBIN­SON METROLAND ME­DIA

CARMEL, CA: There were gasps from sev­eral se­nior au­towrit­ers in the room when Nis­san an­nounced it was in­creas­ing the war­ranty of its 2017 Ti­tan pick­ups to five years or 160,000 km.

I know, be­cause I was on of them.

This is big news in a seg­ment where the prod­uct is bought know­ing it’s go­ing to lead a hard life.

It will ap­ply to the Ti­tan with the older lad­der frame and the Ti­tan XD, which was in­tro­duced last year when Nis­san adopted the 5.0-litre Cum­mins turbo diesel V8.

It is a full bumper-to-bumper war­ranty that Nis­san says beats com­peti­tors’ stan­dard pro­tec­tion pro­grams by two years and 60,000 km.

It cov­ers all 2017 Ti­tan mod­els and matches the new lim­ited war­ranty of all Nis­san com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the NV Cargo, NV Pas­sen­ger and NV200.

It’s a bold move, but one Nis­san had to make to raise its pro­file in a sea of do­mes­tic pick­ups, the F-150 in par­tic­u­lar.

The war­ranty an­nounce­ment was made in Carmel, CA, where Nis­san was also show­ing the new Crew Cab 5.6-litre En­durance gaso­line V8 (390 hp, 394 lb/ft) and the Sin­gle Cab in static form as the brand strives to flesh out the fleet.

Even­tu­ally, Ti­tan will be of­fered in a to­tal of three cabs, three bed lengths, 4x4 and 4x2 drive and S, SV, SL, PRO-4X and Plat­inum Re­serve trim lev­els.

As op­posed to the Ti­tan XD with a longer, stouter frame to ac­com­mo­date the diesel, the Ti­tan is on a sep­a­rate, shorter frame and is pow­ered by the V8 to start, fol­lowed by a V6, prob­a­bly the 3.5-litre di­rect in­jec­tion V6 just added to the Pathfinder.

Tested here is the 2017 Ti­tan Crew Cab V8 Plat­inum Re­serve which is on sale now.

The Ti­tan seven-speed au­to­matic comes with a sep­a­rate warmer for the trans­mis­sion fluid in­stead of re­ly­ing on the en­gine. The rea­son is it gets the fluid up to op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture quicker, so it runs more ef­fi­ciently.

De­pend­ing on powertrain and cab, box lengths are 5.5-, 6.5- and 8.0-feet.

The Ti­tan XD diesel has been well doc­u­mented on this site/news­pa­pers, so lets look at the gaso­line V8 ver­sions.

Right off the bat the styling is bold, start­ing with a in-your-face grille with avail­able LED pro­jec­tor head­lights, but more im­por­tantly, with a 10 per cent re­duc­tion in drag thanks to ac­tive grille shut­ter be­hind the ra­di­a­tor and AC con­denser.

Look closer and you’ll find a roof spoiler and tail­gate spoiler as well un­der­body cov­ers to help im­prove air­flow. It all re­sults in a 28 per cent in­crease in fuel econ­omy over the 2016 model.

At 9,220 lb, Nis­san is now claim­ing the high­est base grade tow ca­pac­ity in the half-ton pickup seg­ment.

Aid­ing tow­ing is a backup cam­era, an in­te­grated trailer brake con­troller and Down­hill Speed Con­trol.

Ti­tan also of­fers a 360-de­gree cam­era that op­er­ates at low speeds to help back­ing up in tight spa­ces.

The Ti­tan En­durance was de­buted as the same time as the new, flag­ship Ar­mada SUV where much was made about the “li­brary level” quiet of the Ar­mada in­te­rior.

In­ter­est­ingly, the new Ti­tan gets the same lam­i­nated front side glass and Nis­san has added three lay­ers of sound in­su­la­tion be­tween the cabin and en­gine bay along with a 45 per cent im­prove­ment in body seal­ing over the 2016 model.

The Crew Cab we tested has the claimed largest lock­able in­te­rior stor­age bin in the seg­ment. Lo­cated un­der the back seat, the lid cre­ates a flat floor. On the in­side, it has di­viders for small items.

The driv­ing part of the Ti­tan V8 launch was in and around Carmel, CA, with for­est fires be­ing bat­tled by up to an es­ti­mated 5,500 fire­fight­ers. All along the high­ways in the area were hand­made signs from home­own­ers thank­ing those on the fire line. It was heart­en­ing to see.

Also tested at the same event were the 2017 Ar­mada and Pathfinder SUVs and we used the same roads for the most part, be­ing a mix of free­way and cross moun­tain two-lane black­top where the Ti­tan drove more like a car than a light truck.

Where the new Ti­tan is no­tice­able im­proved is the less­en­ing of body roll and a re­duc­tion of vi­bra­tion com­ing to the hands through the steer­ing wheel.

When it comes to ride and han­dling, Nis­san says Ti­tan has the best steer­ing feel in the seg­ment.

But where it re­ally shone was on an off-road path with very steep climbs and de­scents, where we tested the three-mode 4X4 drive (2H, 4H, 4LO) se­lected by a ro­tary dial.

Up un­til now, Nis­san has been a bit player in the half-ton seg­ment, but now with three en­gines, three cabs and three bed lengths, Ti­tan has the right stuff.

The back seat of the 2017 Ti­tan (Plat­inum Re­serve model shown) back seat folds up to re­veal a stor­age bin with a lid that con­verts to a flat floor.

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