The 2017 Nissan Titan V8 4×4 Can Handle Pretty Much Anything You Throw Its Way

From parking lots to treacherous trails.

Evan Yates

Even in a subdued color like Gun Metallic, the 2017 Nissan Titan SL 4WD is quite the spectacle with its endless sea of chrome and massive dimensions. The entire front fascia including the gargantuan grille, bumper and headlight shrouds are dripping in chrome. Although I’m not as much of fan of the glint and gleam as I used to be, on the lighter exterior color it definitely works. It gives the Titan that luxurious truck appeal and is probably the reason I received so many compliments while at gas stations. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a pretty truck. On top of the bling, all the front end components are enormous. The word TITAN embossed in the grille features letters that are about as big as your hand and the headlights are simply colossal as they wrap around into most of the fender.

From the profile view, there’s things I like and others I could do without. For starters, I think the recessed door handle panels are pretty charming and it’s something I’ve never seen before. The sidesteps are also fairly swank as they have the TITAN insignia featured prominently as well as an overall classy design. 

The wheel wells also have an attractive arch added which again, just makes the truck look a bit more refined. What has to go – immediately – are the fender vents. I’m really surprised these were added as that particular fad came and went years ago. The last time these were cool was in the mid-2000s when people were adding stick-on vents to Chrysler 300s and Dodge Magnums. It’s an eyesore and unnecessary. Perhaps if they were body-colored it would blend in a bit more? Either way, it just makes it seem like Nissan was trying too hard when they honestly didn’t need to because the Titan would be attractive without them.

Inside, it feels price-conscious with black plastics galore. To Nissan’s credit, they added some faux woodgrain and a contrasting stitch on the dash and seats that gives it a slight hint of luxury but it’s simply not enough. In the $50,000 truck range, there is too much competition to not pay more attention to the interior.

Don’t get me wrong, the interior is OK but I’ve driven $30,000 vehicles with comparable or better interiors. At bare minimum, a $50,000 truck needs to at least have a nice steering wheel. The wheel in the Titan is just a constant reminder that you’re in a Nissan, not the more expensive truck you may have actually wanted. Oh, and there's not a great place to put your phone. That may sound petty but in some of the best trucks, there's always a clever, convenient location for your most beloved possession.

Driving the 2017 Nissan Titan on daily basis is a breeze. The attribute I noticed immediately was the Titan's maneuverability. It is considerably easy to park and the turning radius is quite impressive for a truck of its size. I found myself never having to readjust when parking as I have in other full-size trucks and SUVs. Around town, the 390 hp / 394 lb-ft torque 5.6-liter V8 under the hood makes for an enjoyable commute with ample acceleration. The 5500-lb truck never nose-dives or shutters while braking, regardless of the situation. 

Heading to the mountains to test out the Titan’s off-road capability, I selected a stretch of highway that had 10+ miles of constant curves. If I were in a 911 Turbo or ZO6 ‘Vette this stretch of road would have been heaven. As traffic was fairly light on a Saturday morning, I decided to put the Titan through the paces on this extremely windy, mountain highway and I was surprised with how well the truck responded. For the first stretch of this highway, it was all uphill and the 5.6-liter Endurance V8 performed masterfully. Not once was it searching for power and the seven-speed transmission did its job as it seemed to always know what gear to be in at the proper time. The most surprising and impressive result was the limited and non-existent body roll. I was slinging this massive truck around these highway curves and it was taking everything I was throwing at it in stride. I didn’t get to the point where I was being reckless but I thought at least some tire screeching would be produced but it simply never happened.

Off-road time.

We met up with a group of local overlanders / off-road enthusiasts that all had overly-equipped Toyotas to see if we could hang with them on the trails. It was dry so I wasn’t worried about any sort of mud and traction issues with the stock tires. I was a bit concerned with ground clearance in the front and maybe the sheer size of the Titan becoming a problem eventually. 

Off-road, the Titan performed like a seasoned veteran. Although we didn’t traverse any extreme trails, the paths certainly had their challenge points. There were even a few times where the accompanying, smaller vehicles slipped and slid around while the Titan confidently plowed through the obstacles. The 4x4 capability coupled with the sheer power of the 5.6-liter V8 created a combination that impressed everyone.

2017 Nissan Titan SL 4WD
PRICE (AS TESTED):
$51,015.00
POWERTRAIN: 5.6-liter Endurance V8; 7-speed automatic transmission
MPG (ACTUAL COMBINED): 15.5 MPG