First Drive: 2017 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Half Ton

Nissan has always been a strong player in the pickup segment, particularly in the mid-size category with their popular Frontier. They’re certainly not newcomers to the full-size truck either with the Titan platform now moving toward its 14th year. Building on its continued success, for 2017 they introduced a truck ideally suited to overlanding with their new half-ton Titan. Built as a follow-up to their brawny Titan XD they rolled out last year, the half-ton truck will appeal to buyers desiring the full-size experience in a slightly smaller, lighter package.

When compared to the 2016 Titan XD, the half-ton truck is a full foot shorter in wheelbase, and nearly 15 inches shorter overall. Both trucks share the same cab options. For our test we evaluated the roomy Crew Cab. Available in five trim levels, we opted for the overland appropriate PRO-4X option fitted with additional features for off-highway travel.

Powering the Titan PRO-4X is Nissan’s new 390-horsepower, 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine which produces 394 pound feet of torque and is paired to a 7-speed automatic transmission. The two-speed transfer case is button actuated and is accompanied by a rear locker for optimal trail performance. Bilstein shocks keep the power applied evenly to the 18-inch wheels wrapped in 275/70R18 all-terrain tires. Out of the box, the new Titan is a capable and comfortable pickup, carefully engineered to blur the lines between on- and off-road aptitude.

With a payload capacity of 1,489 pounds and a tow rating of 9,100 pounds, the PRO-4X will accommodate most of the slide-in camper and trailer choices favored by the contemporary overlander. The 26-gallon fuel tank and 15/21 mpg efficiency provide a 390-550 mile range. Nissan’s bumper-to-bumper 5-year/100,000-mile warranty will appeal to those prone to log big miles on protracted journeys.

Features and innovations

As I would expect of any modern pickup, the Titan PRO-4X is finely appointed and festooned with features. The interior is refined, extremely comfortable, and engineered to accommodate drivers of all shapes and sizes. This is an area of design where other manufacturers have missed the mark, and in doing so lost sales. Advanced features include an integrated trailer brake controller, 360º camera system for enhanced off-road visibility, and a clever mirror-mounted camera aimed at the right/front wheel, the corner most often abused when traversing rocky terrain.

Nissan’s engineers also folded in unique features like an innovative trailer light check system. Using the key fob as a remote, the driver can activate a sequence of signals from the brake and turn indicators to ensure trailer lights are functioning properly. Our test truck included Nissan’s robust and versatile Utili-Track tie-down system in the bed. Sliding cleats in heavy aluminum channels help secure cargo with minimal fuss. The list of available options is extensive and ensures every owner gets all the add-ons they desire for their individual needs.

Drive notes

Although my time in the Titan PRO-4X was limited, it was sufficient to impart an elevated sense of refinement and attention to quality. Solidly built, quiet as a church on the highway, and sublimely comfortable, it would make the transition from daily driver to cross-continent travel platform with ease. The dirt portion of our test was quite tame and consisted of mostly rough gravel with a  few water crossings, but the Titan felt composed and ready for more. We would need additional time with the PRO-4X to better suss out its limits, but first impressions were strong. Look for a more comprehensive review in the months to come.

As full-size trucks continue to balloon in scale, and mid-size trucks push the boundaries of their bigger brothers, trucks like the half-ton Titan PRO-4X offer many of us an ideal size that is for lack of a better descriptor—just right. Only in its first year, awards have been bestowed on Nissan’s latest pickup, and for good reason. With so few new options for overland-capable SUVs, it’s a welcome sight to see one more pickup enter the fold. – CN


The Titan PRO-4X Basecamp Project

Not many manufacturers embrace, or even acknowledge, the overland audience, but Nissan clearly sees the allure of our brand of travel. To better showcase the potential of the Titan in the more robust XD platform, Nissan set out to build an overland truck and the manifestation is the Project Basecamp Titan. Built just in time for the Overland Expo West event, it demonstrates a comprehensive effort to build a rig capable of a lap around the globe.

No detail was overlooked when compiling the accessories for the diesel burning Basecamp, each one chosen to augment the off-road performance and livability of the truck. We’ll have a more in-depth look at the Basecamp in the weeks to come.

 

Christophe Noel is Expedition Portal's Editor and the Senior Editor for Overland Journal. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.