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2017 Nissan Titan V-8 4x4 Single Cab

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 5/17/2017 ALEXANDER STOKLOSA
2017 Nissan Titan Single Cab

In the nearly 15 years since the Nissan Titan arrived on the full-size-truck scene, the image-conscious, ferociously brand-loyal buyers cultivated for decades by the domestic brands have almost completely shunned it. Without much wow factor to break through, the Nissan is a nice enough truck whose biggest flaw is being decades late to a segment the Big Three divvied up long ago. If that seems like a cold open for a review of the Titan, allow us to warm things up. The Single Cab model might just earn a positive reception, albeit largely among commercial users who prioritize value over badge loyalty.

The Price of a Closer Look

The regular-cab Titan comes standard with work-truck necessities such as a V-8 engine and an eight-foot-long bed, while American truckmakers ask buyers to pay extra to upgrade from entry-level V-6 engines and stubby beds. Nissan also throws in power windows and door locks, as well as Bluetooth and additional convenient features. With other brands, one must navigate dense order sheets and fork over extra cash for those items. Option a domestic-brand truck to match the base Titan, and the Nissan comes out cheaper than a similarly equipped Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150, and it’s just $5 pricier than an equivalent Ram 1500. We suspect Nissan’s price advantage will hold when a more affordable V-6 joins the lineup later this year.

2017 Nissan Titan V-8 4x4 Single Cab© ALEXANDER STOKLOSA 2017 Nissan Titan V-8 4x4 Single Cab

If there’s a downside to Nissan’s strategy here, it’s that there are few choices. Sold only in base S and mid-level SV specs (the ritzier SL and Platinum Reserve trim levels are limited to Titans with more doors, as is the off-road-oriented Pro-4X), the two-door Titans are nearly monospec. Only a single factory option package is offered on the S, while three are available to SV customers. Items such as bedliners and mud flaps are dealer-installed add-ons, and navigation isn’t available. Glass-half-full types might consider the Nissan’s streamlined lineup a boon to busy fleet operators; others might wonder if the Titan’s lack of configurability could hinder sales.

On the Move

The regular-cab Titan’s appeal extends beyond its window sticker, as it posts a strong showing in both comfort and driving dynamics. Tall-sidewall tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels help the Titan ride relatively smoothly, although we occasionally found the outer limits of the suspension’s rebound damping over larger bumps that would send the body bobbing up and down.

More impressive is the steering, which, although heavy, is accurate and needs minimal corrections to keep the Titan tracking straight on the highway. Mix in the high-for-a-truck 0.76 g of skidpad grip and safe front-end washout at the handling limit, and the Titan is a friendly, wieldy full-size truck to maneuver. It’s also quite quick. The 390-hp 5.6-liter V-8 is outmuscled only by the Ram 1500’s optional 395-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and the 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 available in Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. Even without horsepower honors, the Titan rips to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 96 mph. Oh, and the V-8 sounds great.

2017 Nissan Titan Single Cab© Chris Amos 2017 Nissan Titan Single Cab

We haven’t tested other current-generation, regular-cab, full-size trucks, so we can point out only that this Titan is 0.5 second quicker to 60 mph than a four-wheel-drive crew-cab Titan with the same engine, itself quick for the class. And this Titan trails the more torque-rich, twin-turbocharged, 10-speed-automatic-equipped 2017 Ford F-150 EcoBoost 4x4 crew cab by merely 0.2 second.

If there’s a ding to be found in the Titan’s dynamic report, it is that the seven-speed automatic transmission occasionally stumbles over gear selection. Sometimes, it unnecessarily holds a low gear even during a steady cruise, relinquishing it for a higher ratio only when the driver lifts off the gas. The delayed upshift is accompanied by a mild lurch. In other instances, the transmission starts to select a higher gear before deciding against it and fumbling for a lower ratio. At least the transmission is responsive to quick stabs of the throttle, downshifting deftly and making the most of the V-8’s grunt during passing maneuvers.

Truck Stuff

We didn’t tow anything during our time with the Titan, but our SV, equipped with the $470 Towing Convenience package, was rated to pull up to 9560 pounds. We did use the Titan for the “help a friend move” function familiar to all pickup owners. The long bed and Nissan’s nifty adjustable tie-down cleats (part of the $1120 Utility package, these can be positioned along tracks in the sides of the bed and the cargo floor) made securing furniture and smaller items a snap. When the move dragged into the evening, the Utility package’s LED bed lights created more than enough illumination to continue.

One quibble: We wished for a better way of getting into and out of the pickup bed than via the Nissan’s high rear bumper. Where General Motors trucks have footholds notched into their bumpers and Ford offers a deployable step from the F-150’s tailgate, the Nissan has only the slivers of bumper extending wider than the dropped tailgate and no decent hand holds for hoisting oneself up into the bed.

2017 Nissan Titan Single Cab© Chris Amos 2017 Nissan Titan Single Cab

You might have noticed that we’ve listed two of the SV’s three available option packages as being installed on our test Titan. In fact, all three were fitted; the third was the SV Comfort & Convenience package, which is a steal at $820 as it adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, fog lights, a Class IV tow hitch, and running boards. Add $3030 for four-wheel drive, and our Titan Single Cab came to a reasonable (in today’s full-size-truck world) $39,505.

Admittedly, the truck tested here might still be too rich for many commercial buyers. More realistically, they might stick to the S trim level with four-wheel drive ($33,805) or save even more money by opting for the rear-drive version. Either way, they’ll get a lot of truck for the money. Stripped of brand baggage and buyer preferences—essentially, shopped on price—this basic Titan achieves something that more consumer-facing, mainstream Titan variants haven’t: standing out from the competition.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 3-passenger, 2-door pickup

PRICE AS TESTED: $39,505 (base price: $33,805)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 339 cu in, 5552 cc

Power: 390 hp @ 5800 rpm

Torque: 394 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 139.8 in

Length: 228.1 in

Width: 79.5 in Height: 75.2 in

Passenger volume: 63 cu ft

Curb weight: 5486 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 5.9 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 15.9 sec

Zero to 110 mph: 20.5 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.7 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 14.6 sec @ 96 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 113 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 172 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.76 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA combined/city/highway: 18/15/21 mpg

C/D observed: 13 mpg

C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 18 mpg

C/D observed highway range: 460 mi

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