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2017 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X Drivers' Notes | Machine in the middle

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  • Trim
    Pro-4X King Cab
  • Engine
    5.6 L V8
  • Power
    390 HP / 394 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    Four-Wheel Drive
  • Base Price
  • As Tested Price
The 2017 Nissan Titan XD occupies a strange place in the market. It's bigger than a half-ton but not quite as big as the traditional heavy-duty trucks like the F-250 or Ram 2500. Think of the Titan XD as an F-200, if that makes sense. This isn't the replacement for the first-gen Titan, a truck that was born during George W. Bush's first term and lived on for another 12 years, mostly unchanged. There's a smaller but identical looking Titan for that. The XD is all on its own, with no real direct competitors.

This particular model is the Titan XD Pro-4X. It sits right in the middle of the lineup and packs a number of parts that should improve off-road capabilities. This includes Bilstein shocks, skid plates and more aggressive tires. All Pro-4X trucks have four-wheel drive. We have the King Cab (read: extended cab) model with the 6-foot 6-inch bed. Most important, this has the gasoline V8 rather than the torquey but pig-like Cummins V8 model.

Senior Producer Christopher McGraw: I'm not a big truck guy. Not that I don't like trucks, I just don't like big trucks. I get that there is a place for the Titan XD in the market, I'm just not the target buyer. I'm not a huge fan of the base XD's exterior styling. I find the grille to be too large, and there is too much chrome. The Pro-4X fixes this a bit with a body-color grille, but in my opinion it's not the best-looking truck on the market.

We've had two long-term Nissans during my time here at Autoblog, a Pathfinder and a Murano, and both interiors have suffered from button fatigue. The Titan XD is no better, only now the interior is so large that I can't hit half of the buttons without reaching over and taking my eyes off the road.

The fact that it was pouring rain the entire time I drove this truck didn't make it any better to drive. There is plenty of power, but none of that matters when the tires can't grip the road. It did sound great, though.

I guess what I really want is a new Frontier Pro-4X.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: Holy crows, is ingress a pain in this truck. I've never felt so old as when I was trying to climb into the Titan XD with a water bottle in one hand. Our tester doesn't have running boards (they're available, though), and the driver's side only has the single, fixed handle on the A-pillar to grab onto (the passenger side also has a folding handle on the ceiling, which helps a lot). Not having to live with the truck day to day, though, that actually seems kind of awesome. Same as with the Ram 2500 we drove recently, big and burly is cool.

While the Ram was also surprisingly easy to drive, the Nissan was a bit more natural and responsive. The accelerator is snappy, and the engine sounds fantastic (check out Reese and Michael's live drive video for an example of that). The steering feels intuitive, and not too loose. The brake feel is mercifully appropriate, and the truck actually responds when you dig in (the Ram's braking effort was almost frightening). The ride is a lot smoother in the Titan, too, though I thoroughly enjoyed the Ram's rough ride.

Because of the things stated above, once inside the Titan, I kind of forgot I was driving a truck. That's great for livability, but not nearly as satisfying.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: Man, what a bummer this truck is. I really wanted to like it. I have no desire to own a big truck, but I sure enjoy the hell out of driving them when the opportunity presents itself. I love the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. I really enjoyed the refreshed 2018 Ford F-150 I drove last week. On paper, with the butch styling, lifted suspension and burly V8, I should have enjoyed the Titan XD. I didn't.

This would have been an amazing truck in 2010. It's reasonably well appointed (bar Nissan's catastrophic infotainment system) and has plenty of space both inside and out. The 5.6-liter V8 has plenty of oomph and sounds surprisingly good. The gasoline model feels light on its feet compared to the heavy diesel version. Wheelspin is easy to induce. It's only when you stack it against the competition that things fall apart.

The Titan XD drives like a decade-old truck. It's doesn't have the loose steering and teeth rattling ride of trucks of yesteryear, but it lacks most of the refinement that has made its way into modern pickups. The ride is stiff, the engine is loud, and the wind noise is terrible. Forward visibility isn't great, and maneuvering in city streets is harrowing. That said, parking sensors and a 360-degree camera do make parallel parking a relatively easy affair.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: The Nissan Titan XD isn't quite a heavy-duty truck, and it's not quite a standard-duty truck. It occupies a strange middle ground, and that's kind of where my opinion is, too. There are parts I like about it, and parts I don't, and I don't think I like it or dislike it.

Let's start with the good. The interior is a nice place to be with materials and build quality that feel a step up from most base to midrange pickups. The brakes also feel more capable than many full-size and heavy-duty pickups, requiring no more pressure than a typical car to haul the Titan down from speed. This is a stark contrast to the Ram 2500 we last had that felt like you were trying to stop a freight train. Surprisingly, the Titan XD's steering even has a modicum of feedback. I was also surprised by the engine, which despite being a bit old, sounds pretty smooth and rev-happy. This is a good thing, since you'll need to rev it quite a bit.

This brings us to the not-so-good parts of the Titan. The engine is not very torquey down low. To get it going takes plenty of revs, which isn't ideal for a big truck, and it means that you'll probably be working the engine pretty hard when towing. The Titan XD's ride quality is subpar, too. It doesn't buck and bounce as much as some trucks, but the body wiggles and jiggles over every bump. It's an unsettling feeling. Finally, the pleasant interior is let down by the ancient, sluggish infotainment system Nissan continues to use.

So the Titan XD has good and bad points, and taken together, you come up with a middling machine. You could do worse, but you might be able to do better, too.

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