2017 Nissan Titan V-8 4x2 Crew Cab
A contagion infects all of America’s latest full-size pickup trucks. What were once boring machines built for utility are now the most overstyled, oversize, and overwrought of vehicles. Look at the 2017 Nissan Titan. An entire steer could be barbecued on its grille, were that component not made out of easy-melt shiny plastic. The fenders are as tall and square-shouldered as a Cleveland Browns lineman. If any button were bigger on the instrument panel, it could be engaged with a sledgehammer. The heavy steering feels as if you’re pulling against a black hole’s gravity. Aliens couldn’t undermine humanity’s faith in our own self-restraint any more convincingly. Someday, all this will be regarded as an era of unbridled excess every bit as flamboyant as the big fins and shiny chrome of the 1950s—and probably with as much nostalgia.
The SL tested here is the mainstream Titan. Assembled in Mississippi, it’s a half-ton crew cab with rear-wheel drive and leather upholstery that’s well equipped—although not ridiculously lavish in the manner of the line-topping Platinum Reserve. In 2004, the first-generation Titan was regarded as a landmark challenge to the one market segment Detroit automakers still dominate. Now? It's just another player, and a small, bit player at that.
The standard-issue civilian truck shares its Tennessee-built 5.6-liter V-8 with its almost-three-quarter-ton sibling, the Titan XD, which garners more headlines for daring to bump up into the lower end of the Detroit-ruled heavy-duty segment. What this regular-duty truck doesn’t share with the XD are the Cummins diesel engine option, some body panels, and a beefier frame and suspension. It’s also 14.7 inches shorter overall on a wheelbase almost a full foot shorter than the Titan XD's with its longer bed. Read more...