Built for work — and com­fort

Ti­tan tough, but soft where it counts

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - By Kevin Mio

WHEN a pickup truck is as com­fort­able and lux­u­ri­ous as some fam­ily sedans, will any­one re­ally use it for its true pur­pose?

That was a ques­tion I asked while driv­ing around in the 2013 Nis­san Ti­tan, my ride be­ing the fully loaded SL Crew Cab 4X4.

Af­ter a test of its ca­pa­bil­i­ties, it is ob­vi­ous the Ti­tan, with its four-wheel drive and ver­sa­til­ity, can play the part just fine. And while I felt ter­ri­ble get­ting the shiny Gun Metal paint (a $135 ex­tra) filthy, I couldn’t re­sist putting that four-wheel-drive sys­tem to the test.

The Ti­tan is of­fered in ei­ther King Cab or Crew Cab for­mat, with the for­mer start­ing at $33,898, plus a desti­na­tion charge of $1,730.

My test ride was also fit­ted with the $2,000 rear-seat DVD en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem, push­ing the price to $53,898.

With leather seat­ing, plenty of crea­ture com­forts and the TV screen to keep the chil­dren oc­cu­pied in the back, it’s some­times easy to for­get you are rid­ing around in a pickup.

There’s no deny­ing the Ti­tan is a large truck, a pres­ence that is quite ev­i­dent from the tall front grille, which is a Nis­san sig­na­ture look for its trucks. The ex­cess chrome up the mid­dle also makes the Ti­tan’s front end hard to miss.

The high pas­sen­ger cab is made ac­ces­si­ble by a chrome step. But even with that, en­ter­ing the cabin will be a chal­lenge for those who are less ver­ti­cally gifted.

The de­sign­ers found a way to use what would oth­er­wise be wasted space on the lower panel be­hind the rear wheel on the driver’s side. The lock­able stor­age space isn’t large, but it could hold some tools for the con­trac­tors who use the Ti­tan.

On the in­side, the Ti­tan’s oc­cu­pants are cod­dled in lux­ury in the SL Crew Cab 4X4. From the leather seat­ing and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem to a nice sound sys­tem, the Ti­tan has many of the bells and whis­tles most peo­ple de­sire. And in the case of the tester, it was equipped with a Rock­ford Fos­gate au­dio sys­tem, whose screen does stick out a lit­tle high on the cen­tre stack.

The rest of the con­trols are neatly pack­aged and easy to op­er­ate, in­clud­ing a dial off to the left of the panel for the Ti­tan’s four-wheel drive setup.

In the back seats, pas­sen­gers get plenty of leg room — when you aren’t try­ing to squeeze in around all those tools. And if you need ex­tra room for the tools, the seat cush­ions fold up for in­creased cargo ca­pac­ity.

The cargo bay of the stan­dard bed comes with the fac­tory ap­plied sprayon bed­liner, which pro­tects the metal from scratches and dings.

Pro­vid­ing the brute force for the Ti­tan is a 5.6-litre DOHC V8. It pro­duces 317 horse­power and, more im­por­tantly, 385 pound-feet of torque.

That torque comes in handy be­cause the Ti­tan can tow up to 4,173 kilo­grams, some­thing I got to test at Nis­san 360, a global event held in Cal­i­for­nia in Au­gust that show­cases the com­pany’s prod­ucts from around the world.

The Ti­tan’s trans­mis­sion may sound a bit an­ti­quated when you hear it is a five-speed au­to­matic, but the setup works quite ef­fec­tively. It is equipped with a tow/haul mode to help with mov­ing that ex­tra cargo.

With the four-wheel-drive sys­tem, the Ti­tan also has off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, en­hanced by Ran­cho off-road shocks and un­der­body skid plates. Con­trolled via the dial on the cen­tre stack, se­lect­ing the right set­ting for your sit­u­a­tion is easy.

I put it to the test in some rough of­froad con­di­tions in some un­de­vel­oped land in the West Is­land area and the Ti­tan per­formed as ex­pected, han­dling deep ruts and mud with aplomb.

Fuel econ­omy for the Ti­tan comes in at 17.8 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres in the city and 12.2 L/100 km at high­way speeds.

For a pickup truck, the Ti­tan drives quite well. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is good and the steer­ing feel is nice.

And of vi­tal im­por­tance for any ve­hi­cle this size is vis­i­bil­ity, and the Ti­tan has all the an­gles cov­ered with the large side mir­rors, which fea­ture a lower con­vex mir­ror that clearly shows the driver where his wheels are at any given time. That fea­ture came in rather handy in some tight spots, in­clud­ing a lo­cal drive-thru to sat­isfy a late-night crav­ing.

Also help­ing with vi­sion is the rearview cam­era, which is es­sen­tial be­cause it is near im­pos­si­ble to see what is be­hind the Ti­tan with­out it.

The Ti­tan can live a dou­ble life as a work­horse dur­ing the week — one that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty — and a fam­ily ve­hi­cle on the weekend, af­ter a visit to the car wash, of course.

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