Nissan Titan Wins TRUCK TREND’S 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year Award

TRUCK TREND, the nation’s premier light-truck authority, has selected the Nissan Titan as the winner of its third annual Pickup Truck of the Year Award.

TRUCK TREND’s Pickup Truck of the Year award program is an invitation-only shootout that is only open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2017, the field of vehicles included eight entries from six companies and consisted of one variant from each company’s eligible product line. This year’s contenders included:

— Ford F-150 Raptor
— Ford F-250 Super Duty
— GMC Canyon Denali
— Honda Ridgeline
— Nissan Titan
— Nissan Titan XD
— Ram 2500 Off-Road
— Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

“With the launch of the 2017 Titan, Nissan has set out to redefine itself as a force in the pickup market,” says TRUCK TREND Editor Jason Gonderman. “By combining a richly appointed interior and deep feature set with a stout drivetrain and respectable capabilities, Nissan has reemerged as a player in the ½-ton pickup market. Combined with an industry-best 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty and low cost of entry compared to the competition, Nissan looks to have found the winning combination with the all-new Titan.”

The Nissan Titan won TRUCK TREND’s 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year award only after completing a demanding weeklong test comprised of more than 1,200 miles of performance testing, hauling, towing, fuel economy calculation, and off-roading—all important disciplines in which truck owners expect their vehicle to be competent.

To thoroughly test each truck, the competition began with a day of instrumented testing at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The field was subjected to 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration testing as well as 60-0-mph braking while unladen. Each truck was then loaded up with its maximum payload and retested from 0-60, for quarter-mile elapsed time, and 60-0 braking. The final instrumented test involved each truck accelerating from 0-60 mph and through a quarter-mile while towing 75 percent of its rated trailer capacity.

Using the same parameters as the instrumented testing, the trucks were again loaded up and driven on a 20-mile loop up and down the infamous Cajon Pass in Southern California. The Cajon Pass features an impressive 6-percent grade, which tested each pickup to the max. Throughout the day, experts and trailers rotated through the group, allowing our judges to evaluate every vehicle with a loaded trailer driving both up and down the grade. This also allowed testers to experience how easy each truck was to hitch a trailer to, effectiveness of integrated trailer brake controllers and transmission grade logic, how well the trucks were designed with outward visibility in mind, and chassis performance, among other features important to truck buyers.

With load testing complete, the vehicles were pointed toward Las Vegas for a 500-mile highway slog designed to test real-world fuel efficiency. Our convoy drove at the stated speed limit in a lead-follow formation, rotating both drivers and vehicle positions at designated intervals. This method produced the most accurate representation of real-world highway fuel economy possible.

Finally, the vehicles headed to California’s Johnson Valley, where the field completed extensive off-highway testing over miles of diverse desert and mountain terrain. Through rough, graded roads, muddy basins, rocky climbs, tight trails, and sandy washes, judges were able to evaluate tires, gearing, traction aids, electronic traction controls, ground clearance, suspension tuning, four-wheel-drive systems, thermal management, and overall vehicle dynamics.

Over the course of the 1,200-mile test, the experts had ample time with each vehicle to form qualified opinions regarding important factors such as interior ergonomics, seat comfort, technology usability, build quality, and features and benefits of each truck, while also logging fuel usage to gauge real-world economy throughout the diverse evaluation.

With testing completed, the staff at TRUCK TREND crunched the data and found the Nissan Titan led in two out of seven scoring categories: Highway (15%) and Empirical (20%), while placing solidly in the remaining categories of Interior (10%), Exterior (10%), Off-Road (15%), Towing and Hauling (15%), and Functionality (15%). Ultimately, it was the Nissan Titan, tested in the Platinum Reserve trim, which scored the highest number of points and earned the nod from TRUCK TRENDs jurors.

First-rate features abound in the cabin of the Nissan Titan, starting with premium leather seating embossed with the Platinum Reserve logo; soft-touch materials on the instrument and door panels; a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood-tone inserts; and dark chrome accents throughout. A Rockford Fosgate–powered audio system with a 7-inch touch screen and 12 speakers keeps occupants entertained while the use of acoustic glass and copious sound deadening ensures a quiet ride when the stereo is off. Tested at 60 mph, the Nissan Titan recorded the quietest interior of the group at only 62 decibels.

Our experts noted the immense feature set available on the Nissan Titan, including the 360-degree Around View monitor, bumper-mounted bed step, Utili-Track tie-down system, and lockable rear under seat storage. Bilstein monotube shock absorbers are standard on our tested Platinum Reserve model and helped provide the comfortable highway ride that impressed our judges. Rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and moving object detection are all standard as well.

Tucked under the skin was a 5.6L Endurance V-8 engine—which was mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission—that churned out 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. This combination pushed the Nissan Titan to an unladen 0-60-mph time of just 7.33 seconds and an elapsed quarter-mile time of 15.96 seconds at an impressive 92.77 mph. The Nissan Titan found itself among the quickest production pickups our experts have ever tested, placing Second in unladen 0-60-mph and elapsed quarter-mile time. The Nissan Titan backed up its unladen performance by operating admirably with a payload and trailer in tow as well. With a full 1,500 pounds of payload in the bed, the Nissan Titan clicked off an 8.60-second 0-60-mph and an elapsed quarter-mile time of 16.87 seconds at 87.25 mph. The Nissan Titan bested the field with an unmatched 60-0-mph braking distance of 133.83 feet loaded to the truck’s payload maximum. Hitched to a trailer loaded with 75 percent of the pickup’s rated maximum, the Nissan Titan laid down a 0-60-mph time of 15.31 seconds and passed through the quarter-mile in 21.10 seconds at 70.10 mph.

“TRUCK TREND’s Pickup Truck of the Year award is not determined around a conference room table,” says Sean P. Holman, content director for TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s Truck and Off-Road Group. “This is a real-world evaluation of pickups as seen through the eyes of truck experts and enthusiasts. Anchored in data, the test is conducted across many disciplines by staffers who drive and evaluate trucks every day with a goal of determining which vehicle offers the best pickup truck experience for the money. TRUCK TREND prides itself as being the credible, go-to authority for light-truck reviews and information for the industry.”