Entry Price: $34,780

Price as Tested: $52,305

This week, we’re driving the second generation 2017 Nissan Titan, the company’s flagship full size pickup that comes in rear drive or 4x4 in both single cab or crew cab designs.

Before we get into the incidentals and mechanical build of the Titan, let’s take a close look at its heritage, and why Nissan zeroed in on building a pickup to compete with Chevy, Ford and RAM (Dodge) here in America.

Specifically, Titan was designed in California, engineered in Michigan and is assembled in Mississippi. Also new is a Cummins V8 Diesel option that compliments a new, powerful V8. The engines are built in Indiana and Tennessee. Thus, if you own a Nissan Titan and someone tells you it’s a foreign truck, they are incorrect. The only thing “foreign” is its name as Titan has been an All-American success story since its 2004 debut.

Our tester arrived in Pro-4X off-road trim with the XD crew cab build. These XD Titans are built on a heavier duty chassis coupled to new engines. The power specifics include a standard across the line Endurance 5.6 liter V8 or a new, optional, 5.0-liter V8 turbo Cummins diesel.

The standard gasoline fed V8 puts out 390 horsepower and 394 lb. ft. of torque, usually more than enough for owners who need to tow. Our V8 powered Pro-4X features a 4WD two-speed transfer case and roomy crew cab interior. Five full size adults took our Titan on a 200-mile drive encountering all types of weather, from a 65 degree northeast day that turned into the area’s first 5-inch snowfall in a matter of 4 hours. Titan performed flawlessly through it all.

The gas V8 mates to a seven-speed automatic, which is the sole transmission available. For you diesel fans, a new 5.0 Cummins V8 generates a whooping 555-lb. ft. of torque from 310 horses thanks to a two stage turbocharger hooked to a six-speed heavy duty transmission. As for weight class designation, Titan XD is more like a heavier duty “half-ton” built to compete with the Ford F150, Dodge Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado half-ton offerings. It’s more or less a 2,000-pound payload build, right in the middle of a Chevy Silverado 1500 and RAM 2500.

Titan offers some really nice standard features as our Titan Pro-4X came with special Bilstein shocks for optimum off-road work; hill descent control; steel front skid plates; 18x7.5 two-tone aluminum wheels on all-terrain off-road tires; factory applied spray in bedliner; and an industry first integrated gooseneck hitch for serious towing.

Also notable is Titan’s class IV tow hitch receiver, tow hooks, fog lamps and much more. Your Nissan Titan dealer will show you all of these features when you visit.

Our tester came with three options, including a Pro-4X Luxury package for $750 that added ventilated front seats, enhanced mirror and monitor; a Pro-4X Convenience group for $3,520 that upgrades the interior with leather, remote start, heated steering wheel and much more; and an $1,820 Utility and Tow Package that I recommend if towing is in your future. This adds front and rear sensors, tie down cleats, illumination in the bed, industry first 120V electrical outlet in the bed, a great sounding Rockford Fosgate 12-speaker stereo system, extendable power and heated rear view mirror and the trailer brake controller unit. This pushed the final tally to $52,305 retail. The single cab (same wheelbase length) starts at $29,580 while the crew cab XD starts at $34,780 in rear drive form.

Titan XD is smooth as can be on the four-lane freeways and not that bad on the rutted and bumpy side roads. Fuel mileage is decent considering Titan’s near 3-ton mass, while stopping is very good thanks to some of the biggest brakes in the light-duty/semi-heavy duty truck industry. We averaged 15.6 MPG on our back road and freeway adventures, which I felt was pretty good. Titan’s EPA 4x4 numbers are 15 city and 20 highway while the rear drive XD delivers one better at 15 and 21, respectively.

As for safety, all the airbags, electrical marvels like blind spot and rear cross traffic, ABS brakes, rear safety camera and everything usually found in a car is now built into these amazing modern trucks.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 139.8 inches, 5,811-lb. curb weight, 10.6-inch ground clearance (with 4x4 skid plates, 9.8 otherwise), 12,000-lb. tow capacity, and a 26-gallon fuel tank.

It’s clear that Nissan Titan XD is looking for a new niche market situated somewhere between the 1500 and 2500 series pickups. And, they just might be on to something as this new generation XD Titan really is in a class by itself. Throw in a 5 year/100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty and you have a winner.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media properties. He welcomes reader questions and input on auto nostalgia, collector cars and old time racing at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at greg@gregzyla.com

Likes: New engines, great looks, an All-American truck.

Dislikes: High step in on Pro 4X, not much else at all.